Josh McDaniels’ first year as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders is going about as poorly as it could have. In nine games he’s already matched the team’s 2021 loss total with seven — something that year’s Raiders achieved with the desiccated husk of Jon Gruden and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia (now special teams coach of the Green Bay Packers) at the helm.
Three of his losses came after staking early 17-0 leads. He was shut out by a 3-7 New Orleans Saints enterprise in Week 8. He lost to the 3-7 Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 9. In Week 10 he lost, at home, to the Indianapolis Colts — a franchise so disinterested in winning it turned to former player Jeff Saturday as interim HC after firing Frank Reich last week.
This all should make McDaniels very uncomfortable about his job security. Instead, team owner Mark Davis is still in his corner. And, if his comments Monday are any indication, willing to give him 3.5 more seasons to turn this ship around.
“As far as Josh goes, I have no issues,” Davis told VegasNation’s Ed Graney Monday, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I’m getting to know him a lot better. When you sign someone to a contract, don’t you expect him to fulfill the contract?
“I like Josh. I think he’s doing a fantastic job. That’s why I hired him. We did an exhaustive search and found the person we believe is going to bring the Raiders to greatness.”
When Graney asked Davis whether he thought McDaniels was a long-term solution at head coach, the veteran owner responded “why wouldn’t I?”
Kudos to the reporter for not laying the laundry list of items bare at Davis’ feet, since that would have eaten up everyone’s afternoon. McDaniels has brought uninspired playcalling to Nevada, wasting the explosive triumvirate of Derek Carr, Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs in an offense that’s averaged only 271 total yards per game across a three-week skid. The Bill Belichick disciple has been wholly unable to stem opponents’ momentum, responding to big in-game swings with the efficacy of a turtle dumped onto its back.
This has vacated all the positive results of 2021’s surprising 10-7, playoff-bound campaign for a team currently in line to make the second overall pick in next spring’s draft. McDaniels’ inability to make his roster even equal the sum of its parts is the source of the frustration coursing through the locker room so palpably it has Carr fighting back tears in postgame pressers.
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) November 14, 2022
But according to Davis, this is progress! A 2-7 record, coming off a playoff berth, is “fantastic.” It’s good that the Raiders are losing, their owner says, proving words don’t have to actually mean anything to be used in a sentence.
Las Vegas is a mess, and while it’s been easy to put this dysfunction on McDaniels’ shoulders — and well-deserved, too — Davis is making sure we don’t forget who the true ringmaster of this circus is. Yes, he’s got to prop up his head coach instead of throwing him under the bus. But saying he’s “doing a fantastic job?” That he’s a no-doubt long term solution? That fans should expect THREE MORE SEASONS OF THIS?
Even for NFL owner-speak, that’s nonsense.
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