Josh McDaniels’ sudden transformation at the Las Vegas Raiders practice on October 26 was glaring, marking a distinct departure from the coach they had known the day before. Reports from the NFL Network indicated that McDaniels appeared detached, almost like an onlooker, a shift in demeanor prompted by an intense meeting that transpired mere hours earlier. During this meeting, both players and coaches vehemently criticized the head coach, imploring him to amend his ways.
Five days following this pivotal meeting, McDaniels found himself abruptly ousted from his position, a part of a sweeping restructuring initiated by Raiders owner Mark Davis, who also removed general manager Dave Ziegler from his role.
The discord centered around multiple concerns. The length of team meetings, McDaniels’ tendency to overcorrect every mistake, and a tendency to attribute play-calling issues to the players were among the key issues highlighted in the confrontational meeting, as per reports. The profound impact of these criticisms on McDaniels was evident in the subsequent practice, during which he refrained from making corrections on plays, encouraging players to self-correct, and notably assuming a more hands-off approach to rectifying mistakes, as outlined in the NFL Network report.
Observers noted a stark contrast in McDaniels’ demeanor, describing him as a mere shadow of his former self, with a palpable sense that his tenure might be approaching its conclusion.
Amid the Raiders’ continued string of losses, owner Mark Davis initiated discussions with key players such as Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams, and other team leaders. Reportedly, the concerns expressed during the tense meeting with McDaniels were reiterated in these discussions with Davis.
The decision to terminate McDaniels and Ziegler swiftly followed the lackluster performance in the Raiders’ game against the Detroit Lions on “Monday Night Football,” with Davis executing the dismissals on Halloween night.
The aftermath of the coaching shake-up portrayed an upbeat atmosphere in the locker room, aptly described as possibly “the happiest locker room ever,” according to The Athletic. Antonio Pierce assumed the interim coaching role, while Champ Kelly stepped in as the interim General Manager.
Davis addressed the decision to relieve McDaniels and Ziegler, expressing his disappointment at the direction the team was heading. The transformative decision aimed to revive the team dynamics, despite the substantial financial cost – an estimated $85 million – incurred by Davis.
In an unexpected move, Pierce, a former Giant, made the decision to bench quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in favor of rookie Aidan O’Connell for the upcoming game against the Giants in Las Vegas.