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Raiders' O'Connell: Pierce given me 'great opportunity' to start camp as QB1

Ian Maule / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O'Connell praised head coach Antonio Pierce for giving him the chance to win the starting quarterback job in training camp.

"Since really AP started, he's put a lot of confidence in me. He's given me a great opportunity," O'Connell said Saturday, per Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"I'm just trying to make the most of the opportunity. It really is a privilege and an opportunity to get to play on the team and get reps at the quarterback position."

Before the draft, Pierce said the 25-year-old O'Connell had earned the right to start training camp as the team's top signal-caller. The club didn't draft a quarterback but had previously signed veteran Gardner Minshew to a two-year, $25-million deal in free agency. Minshew has started 37 games in his career, 13 of which came with the Indianapolis Colts last season.

The 28-year-old took over Indy's starting job in Week 6 after then-rookie Anthony Richardson went down with a season-ending shoulder injury. He went 7-6 while throwing for 3,305 yards, 15 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Indianapolis' offense ranked 22nd in passing success rate during Minshew's time as the starter.

O'Connell was thrust into the Raiders' lead signal-caller job in Week 9 of last season after Pierce replaced the fired Josh McDaniels. He went 5-6 in 11 starts, totaling 2,218 passing yards with 12 scores and seven picks.

"I'm not gonna be perfect," O'Connell said. "I have to remind myself that. I so badly wanna be perfect every time I go out there ... trying to find that balance, I think, is something that's really hard but also a challenge I enjoy."

Las Vegas selected O'Connell in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Purdue.

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