For the third time in just eight games this season, Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders blew a lead of at least 17 points Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Vegas was up 17-0 in the first half before the team saw itself outscored 17-0 in the final two quarters to fall to 2-6 on the season via a 27-20 loss in Duval.
After the game, Raiders stars displayed a ton of frustration. Some of that was levied in McDaniels’ direction, too.
“I’m not scared of that. At the end of the day, I don’t care, like you can say whatever you want to say. The coaches gotta make the adjustments just like the players do. And that’s just the way that the game goes,” Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams on criticizing Josh McDaniels.
This is where the Raiders find themselves right now. Last place in the AFC West, the second worst record in the AFC and a ton of drama behind the scenes. That’s what happens when a playoff team from 2021 turns around to lose six of its first eight games with a new head coach calling the shots.
For McDaniels, he’s been no stranger to criticism dating back to the veteran coach’s ill-fated tenure as the head man of the Denver Broncos 2009-11. But something feels different here. After his performance as the New England Patriots’ offensive coordinator for the better part of the past two decades, McDaniels seemed to have his pick of job opportunities.
He opted for a Raiders team that was coming off a drama-filled off-field situation, only to earn a playoff spot last season. Now, the on-field regression seems to have his job on shaky ground. At the very least, those rooting for this organization seem to think it should be on shaky ground.
Josh McDaniels likely won’t be one-and-done with the Las Vegas Raiders
It’s interesting to look at. Following a Week 3 loss to the Tennessee Titans, McDaniels had a closed-door meeting with Raiders owner Mark Davis. There’s no telling what the topic of the meeting was outside of an ugly 0-3 start to the season. What we do know is that Davis has gone to bat for his embattled head coach publicly since then.
“Josh McDaniels is our coach and will be for years to come,” Mark Davis on McDaniels following Vegas’ Week 8 shutout loss to the New Orleans Saints. NFL insider Josina Anderson also noted following Sunday’s loss that McDaniels’ job is safe despite outside noise.
At issue here is McDaniels’ lack of success when he’s not working under Bill Belichick in New England. It’s right there in black and white.
- Josh McDaniels coaching record: 13-23, .361 winning percentage
The idea of continuing to foolishly believe someone is capable of performing the job at hand has set teams back in a big way in the past. Just look at the Carolina Panthers and their decision to return Matt Rhule for the 2022 season. He was fired five games into the campaign after most figured prior to September that he was in over his head.
Josh McDaniels and the building drama in Vegas
For the Raiders, drama and frustration seems to be building behind the scenes. It’s now at the point that this is leaking out for public consumption.
“I’ve played in a million games where I could tell you yes, but I wouldn’t say that there was any magic thing that was done,” Davanta Adams on Raiders’ Week 9 coaching strategy. “We could have continued doing what we were doing in the first half, and it would have been, you know, who knows. But I feel we didn’t put ourselves in the best position based on how we came out in the second half.”
Adams has not been the only outspoken critic of the Raiders’ McDaniels-led coaching staff. “There are things that will be said,” Derek Carr noted after Sunday’s loss. “There will be things that need to be addressed.”
For now, the Raiders find themselves at 2-6 and pretty much playing out the string. In addition to McDaniels’ standing moving forward, a lot of those invested in the success of the organization will now be looking at the situation from a micro perspective. That includes the futures of Mr. Carr and others in Sin City.