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NFLPA report card reveals players’ concerning issues with Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh McDaniels

The Las Vegas Raiders generated a lot of buzz in 2022 after hiring head coach Josh McDaniels, landing the highly-regarded offensive mind in a move that received praise around the league. One year later, it appears those who experienced playing for McDaniels didn’t enjoy the experience.

Las Vegas fell well short of expectations this past season, finishing with a 6-11 record and missing the playoffs a year after interim coach Rich Bisaccia took the Raiders to the postseason. While McDaniels seemed to be on the hot seat, he was never in real jeopardy of being fired.

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However, the Raiders’ offense experienced its share of issues this past year. Despite acquiring All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, Las Vegas ranked 21st in Football Outsiders’ Pass DVOA and finished 13th in offensive touchdowns per game (2.4).

While the Raiders are hoping a quarterback change will fix the problem, cutting ties with four-time Pro Bowl selection Derek Carr, it appears there are other issues with McDaniels that a change under center won’t fix.

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The NFL Players Association’s report card provided many favorable grades for the Raiders. Las Vegas ranked as the third-best organization for players, with the team facilities, treatment of families, travel experience, strength coaches and weight room all receiving strong reviews.

While the Raiders as a whole tied for the highest grades (A+) when it came to the weight room, strength coaches, locker room and team travel), they finished last when it came to the coaching staff as players shared two primary issues with McDaniels.

“Player respondents felt that Head Coach Josh McDaniels is less likely to listen to his players and keeps them for longer hours than other Head Coaches around the league. Longer hours are not correlated to winning, as seven of the top eight coaches rated as being most efficient with their players’ time in the 2022 survey made the playoffs this year.”

NFLPA report on Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels

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Years after being fired as the Denver Broncos head coach, McDaniels said he learned from the experience. As he told reporters last offseason, one of his shortcomings with the Broncos was his failure to truly understand people and the importance of culture.

The 46-old coach made it clear he wanted to change all of that in Las Vegas, handle his role differently and just do a better job being a head coach.

When I went to Denver, I knew a little bit of football. I didn’t really know people and how important that aspect of this process, and maintaining the culture and building the team was. And I failed, and I didn’t succeed at it. Looking at that experience has been one of the best things in my life in terms of my overall growth as a person, as a coach. What do I need to do different, how do I need to handle my role, if I have another opportunity, and do better at it? I feel like that’s really an area that I’ve tried to grow in.”

Las Vegas Raiders HC Josh McDaniels on what he learned as the Denver Broncos coach

McDaniels seems to be repeating the same habits that didn’t work in Denver and seems to be receiving the same complaints as former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia. In his first season as the Lions’ coach, Patricia didn’t listen to players and many felt he mistreated a lot of players on the team.

As the NFLPA points out, requiring players to work longer hours than their peers playing for other teams doesn’t correlate to success. It evidently didn’t work for Las Vegas last season, a team that blew four double-digit leads.

Hired for both his offensive mind and the ability to install a version of the ‘Patriot Way’, McDaniels fell short in both regards last season.

Offensively, Las Vegas ranked 26th in red-zone touchdown rate (48.94%), 18th in second-half scoring (10.2 points per half) and 16th in third-down conversion rate (39.9%).

McDaniels will receive another season to prove himself and he will have heavy involvement in the process of picking the next quarterback. If the Raiders’ offense falls short of expectations again and there are renewed complaints from players, Las Vegas might need to make a change.

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