The Las Vegas Raiders concluded their 2022 preseason by going undefeated. Obviously, the record is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. However, there’s a noteworthy development. The Raiders clearly have a new way of thinking now that Josh McDaniels is their head coach, and the results show that.
That new way of thinking consists of playing smarter football, not being your own worst enemy. It’s something that the Raiders have done a lot of in the past; self-inflicting wounds in the form of mental mistakes, for one. Those mental mistakes come in the form of costly penalties, which, as fans will recall, were detrimental at key times during the 2021 season, playoffs included. McDaniels isn’t having any of that. Clearly, his methods for accountability are showing results on the field, and that, more than anything, could be a difference maker for the Raiders this season.
McDaniels said more about this when he talked to the media after yesterday’s win over the New England Patriots.
“The first thing you have to do if you want to win is not lose the game. Relative to turnovers, field position, penalties; hurting yourself with mistakes that you have control over. I think we’re trying to do the right things. We’re not there yet, but I think for the course of the preseason, I think our player’s effort, the intentions that they have when they’re out there to try to do those things the right way. I wouldn’t ask for more.”
There’s still work to do but Josh McDaniels is off to a good start with the Raiders
Always careful not to give himself too much praise, McDaniels noted that there’s still work to be done. At the same time, he’s grateful for the effort that’s been on display this preseason by his players. Especially when you consider several key starters didn’t play. In other words, you have young players and those trying to make the roster buy into his way of doing things. Jason Horowitz, the voice of the Raiders on their radio broadcast, pointed out a notable tidbit.
Not only did the @raiders have the fewest penalty yards in the preseason in the last 22 years, but they are also the first team without a turnover in the preseason since 2011. Pretty impressive discipline the last month
— Jason Horowitz (@HorowitzJason) August 27, 2022
Many people tend to overlook the preseason as meaningless games, but for those that pay attention, developments such as the one above will translate into the season. McDaniels’ Raiders aren’t going to be the Raiders of old. Call it the “Patriot Way” if you’d like, but the fact is, it works. If the Raiders lose a game this year, it will be because they played a better opponent, not because they shot themselves in the foot. Those days are apparently gone.
*Top Photo: Yahoo Finance