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2024 Position Breakdown: Quarterbacks

Position Breakdown_QB_2560X1440

Ahead of 2024 Training Camp, is previewing each position group and evaluating the players that could make up the 53-man roster. We begin with a competitive quarterback room.

Gardner Minshew II has been an exceptional backup quarterback that can step up when called upon. However this season with the Raiders, he can change that narrative into one of a full-time starter.

He got his first crack as a starting quarterback his rookie year with the Jacksonville Jaguars, taking over for an injured Nick Foles. The sixth-rounder became an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate after throwing 21 touchdowns, a rookie franchise record.

Four seasons later, Minshew found himself in the same boat as the backup quarterback, but now for the Indianapolis Colts. After 2023 first-round pick Anthony Richardson went down for the season, the Colts didn't miss a step with Minshew at the helm. He led Indy to seven wins, throwing for a career-high 3,305 yards, and was selected to his first Pro Bowl. One of those victories came against the Silver and Black in Week 17, where he finished the day with 224 yards, a touchdown and a 111.5 passer rating.

"He's a competitor, we want that room to be competitive as possible. ... [L]ike any other position on our team, we want to make that as competitive as possible," Antonio Pierce said. "One thing about Gardner that you see throughout his career, he finds a way, right? That's going to make our room better. He's been through a lot of adversity; you want that experience as well in there. So, to me, it's a good fit, and it's a culture fit. Wild boy right there. I like the personality."

For the first time since 2020, Minshew could be the starting quarterback entering the regular season, but it's easier said than done with Aidan O'Connell fighting to keep the job he earned last season. There's also more competition in the room with Anthony Brown Jr. and Carter Bradley.

Brown, the former Oregon Ducks quarterback, started a game for the Baltimore Ravens in 2022 and strung together some impressive practices in minicamp. He's arguably the best scrambling quarterback on the roster, which adds a different dimension to the offense. Bradley, the son of former Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, is a UDFA signing from South Alabama. He threw for 5,995 passing yards and 47 touchdowns over his last two collegiate seasons.

Returning Player

O'Connell is the lone returner to the quarterback room. The fourth-rounder stepped in as the starter in Week 9 following Pierce's hire as interim head coach.

He led the Raiders to five wins as a starter, the third most wins of any rookie quarterback in 2023. He also ranked in the top three of all rookie QBs (min. 10 games) in passing yards (2,218), pass completions (213), passing touchdowns (12) and quarterback rating (83.9). Eight of his 12 passing touchdowns for the season came in the last four games, including four in a dominant 63-21 showing against the Los Angeles Chargers.

"If there's one thing that I would definitely pat him on the back for at this point is just the willingness to be taught, a willingness to be vulnerable in this opportunity to get better," offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said. "It's really cool to see a guy who's had success now really excited to learn some new stuff."

As O'Connell is about to enter a battle for the starting QB role, he's not shying away from competition. Minshew and O'Connell have a number of contrasts between them, ranging from personality to play style. But one similarity they do have is experience stepping up when their number is called.

"I think we do a good job of communicating with each other of what we're seeing, what we're thinking on each play because we are both trying to learn this offense at the same time together, and also at the same time we are both the leaders of the offense," O'Connell said. "We want to make sure when we go out to practices, it's a good practice. We want to make sure the offense is running smoothly and we're executing. It's been a fun competition."

View photos of the Las Vegas Raiders quarterbacks heading into 2024 Training Camp.

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