Las Vegas, NV – On October 26th, a noticeably different Josh McDaniels walked into the Las Vegas Raiders’ practice facility. The once assertive head coach had transformed into a mere bystander, marking a dramatic shift in demeanor following an intense meeting that would ultimately seal his fate.
According to an NFL Network report, McDaniels found himself in a tense meeting hours before, during which both players and coaches passionately confronted him, imploring him to change his ways. This emotionally charged encounter proved to be a turning point in his coaching tenure.
Just five days later, McDaniels found himself unceremoniously relieved of his duties as head coach, along with general manager Dave Ziegler, as Raiders owner Mark Davis opted for a complete overhaul.
Several issues had surfaced during the pivotal meeting that contributed to McDaniels’ fall from grace. The most significant concerns included his lengthy team meetings, a tendency to overcorrect players for every mistake, and a habit of shifting blame onto the players for play-calling issues. The scathing critiques appeared to deeply affect McDaniels, leading to a change in his approach.
During the next practice session, the once meticulous coach refrained from making corrections on plays and instead encouraged players to self-correct. McDaniels also took a step back from micromanaging every mistake, leading some to describe him as a “shell of himself.” Speculations about his impending departure began to circulate among the team.
As the Raiders continued to struggle with a 3-5 record, Mark Davis engaged in discussions with key players, including Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams, seeking their input on the situation. The report indicates that many of the issues addressed in the intense meeting with McDaniels had been conveyed to Davis during these conversations.
Ultimately, McDaniels and Ziegler received their walking papers on Halloween night, following a lackluster performance against the Detroit Lions on “Monday Night Football.” The move was met with mixed emotions within the team, with The Athletic reporting that the locker room may have been one of the happiest places after the dismissals.
Antonio Pierce assumed the role of interim coach, and Champ Kelly took on the interim general manager position. Raiders owner Mark Davis expressed his disappointment, stating, “Unfortunately, I had great hopes for Josh and Dave, but it just seemed we were going in the wrong direction. So, with the trade deadline, I just felt it was time to make a change, time to make a move.”
The decision to part ways with McDaniels appeared to reinvigorate the locker room, although it came at a significant financial cost. ESPN reported that the move would cost Davis approximately $85 million.
The shake-up also included a bold decision by Antonio Pierce to bench quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in favor of rookie Aidan O’Connell for the upcoming game against the New York Giants in Las Vegas. The Raiders now find themselves navigating a pivotal moment in their season, with new leadership at the helm.