When Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler took over the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this year, they made their intentions very clear. Moving quickly to secure core players and acquire a superstar to get them over the hump, among other things, headlined the offseason. However, one of the key aspects of their new philosophy was making it clear that most of the roster was up for grabs. In other words, 2022 was going to be an open competition where the best player was going to get the gig. So far, that offseason promise has been lived up to.
Josh McDaniels, competition, and the new Raiders’ philosophy
Off the heels of another (and final) preseason win, McDaniels spoke on the aspect of competition. In particular, on how it relates to players competing for a roster spot with cuts on the horizon.
“There’s only one goal that you have in mind when you’re competing, and that’s the win. We compete in practice, we compete in individual periods, we compete in one-on-ones, we compete in seven-on-seven, we compete in team drills, we compete in special teams, [and] we compete in preseason games. We’re just trying to develop that fundamental and that habit of, we don’t want to come off of a competitive situation and lose. I’m proud of the way they the guys have really embraced that.”
Getting the fundamentals right
A keyword that McDaniels mentions is “fundamental.” A refreshing site for everyone during training camp this year was an emphasis on getting the fundamentals right. This is especially true for the offensive line, a unit that has received much attention this offseason. In many ways, the dominant display during joint practices this week can be partly attributed to all of that offseason grind. Raiders players simply outclassed the Patriots in all of the aforementioned drills and paying attention to those little details paid off in yesterday’s preseason matchup.
“I think you saw the effort tonight and the energy from the sideline when we made a play here and there. I think our whole team was in it and they’ve been that way the entire preseason.”
This is such a beautiful and perfect play design (and I'm not usually a fan of pulling linemen or shotgun at the goal line.)
I know this is a run play, but I have Derek Carr winning the MVP this year. Josh McDaniels and Davante Adams are A++ acquisitions.pic.twitter.com/NtkKFsGXae
— Rich Ohrnberger (@ohrnberger) August 27, 2022
The fact is, play-calling is only as effective as the players who buy into the system. Just look at the play in the fourth quarter where the Raiders punched it into the endzone. All aspects of that game were pristine; the blocking, the cutback, pulling the linemen, even the pitch, were perfect. What’s scary is that it wasn’t Derek Carr or any of the starters out there. It goes to show you that McDaniels’ offseason approach has worked up until now. We’ll have to wait and see if it all comes to fruition against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1.
*Top Photo: NBC Sports/Boston