Aug 26, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders linebackers coach Antonio Pierce watches from the sidelines against the New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 23-6. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders promote Antonio Pierce to interim head coach

The Las Vegas Raiders promoted linebackers coach Antonio Pierce to interim head coach following Tuesday’s firing of head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager David Ziegler.

Pierce, 45, is in his second season with the Raiders after working as an associate head coach, defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Arizona State from 2018-21.

He played linebacker in the NFL for nine seasons with Washington (2001-04) and the New York Giants (2005-09), making the Pro Bowl in 2006, helping the Giants win Super Bowl XLII and retiring with 691 tackles, nine sacks and seven interceptions in 124 games (94 starts).

“The Las Vegas Raiders are committed to undergo a comprehensive search for a head coach once the season is complete,” the team said in a statement.

Pierce will make his coaching debut against one of his former teams when the Raiders (3-5) host the Giants (2-6) on Sunday.

The Raiders also reportedly parted with offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi on Wednesday. Las Vegas has not yet scored more than 19 points in a game this season. Lombardi and McDaniels were responsible for play-calling.

NFL Network reported that the Raiders are promoting quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree to replace Lombardi.

Multiple reports indicated that Sunday’s game could also see rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell take over for the erratic Jimmy Garoppolo.

O’Connell, 25, a fourth-round pick out of Purdue, started the Raiders’ Week 4 road loss to the Los Angeles Chargers when Garoppolo was out with a concussion. In Week 7, O’Connell relieved starter Brian Hoyer in a road loss to the Chicago Bears when Garoppolo was sidelined by a back injury.

O’Connell has completed 34 of 52 passes for 313 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in two games. He has been sacked seven times and has one rushing touchdown.

Garoppolo, who turns 32 on Thursday, signed a three-year $72.75 million contract ($34 million guaranteed) in March to replace Derek Carr as the Raiders’ franchise quarterback.

Garoppolo has thrown an NFL-high nine interceptions in six starts this season, completing 65.5 percent of his passes for 1,205 yards and seven touchdowns.

McDaniels, 47, was midway through his second season on the job, having signed a six-year deal in January 2022. The Raiders went 6-11 last year. This season, their three wins have come against opponents that currently have losing records Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots).

Las Vegas lost 26-14 to the host Detroit Lions on Monday night.

Ziegler, 46, also was in his second year in his role.

Both McDaniels and Ziegler came to Las Vegas from the Patriots.

McDaniels was an assistant coach at New England from 2001-08 before an unsuccessful stint as the Broncos’ head coach (8-8 in 2009, 3-9 when he was fired in 2010). He spent the 2011 season as the St. Louis Rams’ offensive coordinator, then returned to work under Bill Belichick as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2021.

Ziegler worked in the New England front office from 2013-21, including stints as director of pro personnel and director of player personnel.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) looks to make a pass against the New England Patriots in the first quarter at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Raiders rule out QB Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Bears

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been ruled out of this weekend’s game against the host Chicago Bears, multiple media outlets reported on Thursday.

Garoppolo is nursing a back injury sustained in the Raiders’ 21-17 victory over the visiting New England Patriots last Sunday.

Although Brian Hoyer replaced Garoppolo against the Patriots, rookie Aidan O’Connell could be in line to make his second career start this Sunday.

O’Connell, 25, completed 24 of 39 passes for 238 yards with one interception in his lone start this season, a 24-17 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 1. He was selected by the Raiders in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

Hoyer, 38, went 6-for-10 for 102 yards in relief of Garoppolo last week.

Garoppolo, 31, has completed 68.0 percent of his passes for 1,079 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions in five games this season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Bloomington, Indiana, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) looks to throw a quick pass during the second quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell skipping bowl game

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell will announce Thursday that he is skipping the Citrus Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft, ESPN reported.

The 6-foot-3 senior completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,490 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games this season, leading the Boilermakers to the Big Ten West division title.

O’Connell leaves West Lafayette, Ind., ranked fifth in school history in touchdown passes (65) and sixth in passing yards (9,219).

O’Connell spent time away from the team late last month following the death of his older brother, Sean.

Austin Burton likely would start under center when the Boilermakers (8-5) face LSU (9-4) on Jan. 2 in Orlando.

Burton completed 24 of 32 passes for 199 yards with three TDs and one interception in four games this season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 1, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) passes the ball in the first quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions  at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell a game-time decision

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell will be a game-time decision Saturday against Florida Atlantic because of an unspecified injury, ESPN reported Friday.

O’Connell ranks fourth in the nation with exactly 1,000 passing yards through three games this season with the Boilermakers (1-2, 0-1 Big Ten).

He has completed 64.2 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and one interception.

O’Connell joined Purdue as a walk-on in 2017. He suffered a season-ending foot injury in the third game of the 2020 season but returned to pass for 3,712 yards with 28 TDs and 11 interceptions in 2021.

UCLA transfer Austin Burton is listed as the backup QB for the Boilermakers.

–Field Level Media