During his tenure with the Las Vegas Raiders, Derek Carr developed into a controversial figure. He had nothing to do with issues off the field but some fans just didn’t like how he played the game. Head coach Josh McDaniels agreed with those fans and the team released him this offseason.
Despite the unceremonious way Carr was let go, there’s no denying he’s an important part of Raiders history. He was the starting quarterback for nine years and holds all the team’s major passing records. Many fans will likely hold onto their No. 4 Carr jerseys for a long time but No. 4 will now be representing somebody else on the Raiders. New rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell has decided to take No. 4 as his jersey number.
It’s hard to imagine the former Purdue standout and Illinois native has been keeping up on controversies surrounding the Raiders in recent years so he likely didn’t know that he was signing up for scrutiny by wearing No. 4. The Raiders don’t retire jersey numbers and Carr wouldn’t have gotten his retired had the team actually practiced doing that. Regardless, O’Connell’s decision to take No. 4 certainly stirred debate among the Raiders faithful.
The No. 16 O’Connell wore in college was taken by wide receiver Jakobi Meyers so his options were limited.
Does It Matter Which Number O’Connell Wears?
After Tom Brady left the New England Patriots, it would’ve been odd for a rookie to come in wearing No. 12. Carr isn’t Brady. While he was a good quarterback for the Raiders for a long time, he never won a playoff game. Ken Stabler and Jim Plunkett won Super Bowls and their numbers didn’t get retired.
Now, O’Connell could’ve avoided some controversy by not picking the number of a recently departed polarizing player but he’s almost certainly not privy to the complexities of previous Raiders drama. If Jimmy Garoppolo stays healthy, O’Connell won’t be seeing the field much as a rookie. It will be odd to see another quarterback wearing No. 4 after so many years with Carr at the helm but somebody was eventually going to wear that number again.
O’Connell Praised for Accuracy
O’Connell isn’t a controversial figure so the fans that are upset he’s wearing No. 4 will likely move on quickly. The young quarterback should be a very interesting player to watch in the coming years. The Raiders decided against adding a quarterback early in the draft despite many rumors linking them to the top quarterbacks.
Las Vegas can’t expect O’Connell to be the next big thing at quarterback with him falling to the fourth round but there’s a chance he could turn out to be a good player. Private quarterbacks coach Jeff Christensen had some high praise for O’Connell in an interview with Vic Tafur of The Athletic.
“Aidan is the most accurate guy I have ever coached in my life,” Christensen said. “I just got done with nine NFL guys, and seven of them have a hard time throwing guys open. They wait until a guy starts to get open and then it is too late.
“Aidan has never had a problem with saying, ‘That’s my picture, that’s my spot,’ and he just lets it go.”