Former teammate endorses Aidan O’Connell for Raiders QB

Brian Hoyer sang the praises of the second-year quarterback in a recent interview. 
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders
Los Angeles Chargers v Las Vegas Raiders / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

While on the air with SiriusXM NFL Radio with Amber Theoharis, former Raiders quarterback Brian Hoyer backed his former teammate, Aidan O’Connell, in the Raiders' ongoing QB battle. 

"At the beginning of the year, he was third on the depth chart and then he ended up finishing the entire year ... I thought, to see his growth and what he was able to do as a fourth-round pick, was tremendous," Hoyer said.

Important context to understand here is that Hoyer was ahead of O’Connell on the initial depth chart last season before O’Connell eventually passed him and became the full-time starter. Oftentimes, it can be difficult for a veteran quarterback to be passed over in favor of someone like a fourth-round rookie, but Hoyer’s graciousness speaks to both the character and ability of O'Connell. 

"Being there firsthand and watching Aidan grow, I remember him saying at the end of the year, 'I never thought this is how this year would play out,’ Hoyer continued. "Obviously, Jimmy Garoppolo was the opening-day starter and then by the end of the year Aidan was playing."

Though he went through some ups and downs during his rookie campaign, it is clear to a veteran NFL quarterback that O’Connell grew a lot. Hoyer is 38, has been in the league for 15 years and played for nine different franchises. Simply put, the guy has been around, and he has seen a lot of football, so his positive comments about the second-year quarterback should be promising to Raider fans. 

Hoyer made his official endorsement.

"Maybe I'm biased, but I think what Aidan did last year -- I know he hasn't shown it as much as Gardner Minshew has throughout his career -- but I know the guys really gravitated to the way Aidan took over and his leadership as a young player," he said.

One of the most important aspects of being an NFL quarterback is being a leader and having the support of the men in your locker room. We know that Davante Adams has made positive comments about O'Connell as well, and Antonio Pierce has backed him since Day 1. I know that this is a true position battle between him and Gardner Minshew, but AOC is the incumbent, per se, and it is his battle to lose. 

I think O’Connell will be the starter opening week against the Chargers. However, as the first few weeks of the season progress, he may have a short leash. Minshew will be waiting in the wings, ready to go just like last year on the Colts, and if the defense is holding up their end of the bargain but the offense is not, a change could definitely be made. Regardless, the team has two solid quarterbacks to pair with a great set of offensive weapons and an elite defense, which is a recipe for success.