Aidan O’Connell Reveals He Made Change to Not Disrespect Derek Carr

derek carr

Getty New Orleans Saints QB Derek Carr.

For nine seasons, Derek Carr was the starting quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders and wore No. 4 as his jersey number. Shortly after he was released, the team assigned quarterback Aidan O’Connell No. 4, which he apparently wasn’t excited about.

However, he played his whole rookie season with the No. 4 jersey. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler were fired during the season so O’Connell felt comfortable switching his jersey to No. 12 this offseason.

He decided to come out and tell teammate Maxx Crosby that he never really wanted No. 4 and it was important for him not to disrespect Carr by wearing it.

“I just didn’t want to be four anymore. I didn’t pick No. 4,” O’Connell said on the May 21 episode of “The Rush with Maxx Crosby.” “I was actually nine and then Tyree [Wilson] wanted nine, so they gave nine to Tyree. That was in like the first week I was here last year, and then they gave me four and I was a rookie, you kind of just do what you’re told. Then in the offseason, it felt to me this is Derek’s number. He wore it for that long and he’s the franchise leader and all that stuff. It felt disrespectful, so I just wanted to kind of give that back to him.”

Now that O’Connell has switched over to No. 12, he won’t have to worry as much about Carr comparisons but he now shares a number with Ken Stabler, who is considered the greatest Raiders quarterback ever.

Were Josh McDaniels & Dave Ziegler Being Petty?

It was certainly a bold choice for the Raiders to assign a quarterback the No. 4 jersey just months after Carr was released. The way things ended in Las Vegas for Carr wasn’t pretty. The team benched him with two games left in the 2022 season and he decided to stay home instead of sit on the bench.

He also wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to allow the team to trade him. According to a May 22 X post from The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, McDaniels and Ziegler may have been petty when they assigned O’Connell No. 4.

Aidan O’Connell & Gardner Minshew Ranked as 30th Starting QB

Aidan O’Connell is set to be in a battle with Gardner Minshew for the Raiders’ starting quarterback job. However, Pro Football Focus isn’t high on either of them. Trevor Sikkema ranked the duo the 30th-best starting quarterback in the NFL heading into 2024.

“Both Minshew and O’Connell started games in 2023, and they’ll now be competing for the same job in 2024,” Sikkema wrote in a May 21 column. “Their passing grades were close, with O’Connell recording a 64.6 and Minshew posting a 60.6. Those were good for 29th and 33rd, respectively, versus the rest of the league.

“O’Connell was the more efficient of the two, with a higher big-time throw rate, higher adjusted completion percentage and lower turnover-worthy play rate. Regardless of who wins the starting job for Week 1, neither is a big needle-mover right now.”

Minshew and O’Connell have a lot to prove. Both have proven to be serviceable starters but there are a lot of good quarterbacks in the NFL right now.

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