As most Las Vegas Raiders fans will recall, current head coach Josh McDaniels was a massive failure in his first attempt at the job. After an 11â€“17 start, the Denver Broncos moved on in 2010, and eventually McDaniels returned to New England. Fast forward to 2022, on his second head coaching job, and the Raiders are floundering at 2-5. There have been glimpses of potential, especially offensively, but the team often looks flat and unprepared. Is it too early to judge McDaniels? Is he part of an ongoing problem with the NFL? Former All-Pro Ronde Barber, now with The 33rd Team, weighed in recently.
Following Sunday’s loss, Barber pointed out some interesting tidbits with regard to McDaniels. While Barber mentioned that McDaniels has proven to be one of the best offensive coordinators in recent memory, that status doesn’t mean he’s automatically suited to be a head coach. He went so far as to point out the inconsistency in giving some people a second chance over others despite their better track records, arguably.
“This dude is not a head coach. He is a great offensive coordinator, probably better than most as an offensive coordinator, as we saw this once. I really remember this because Josh became a head coach the same year Raheem Morris became the head coach in Tampa. Raheem Morris is considered largely a failure as a head coach in Tampa. He lasted three years; he had a 10-win year, though. Josh had two years in Denver and got fired; he didn’t make it to a third year. Yet, Josh has gotten another opportunity before Raheem has gotten another.”
Did Las Vegas Raiders HC Josh McDaniels deserve another opportunity?
One look at social media and you can see a large portion of Raiders fans have already turned on McDaniels. Some, but not all, of their frustrations are warranted. There are legitimate concerns about how an offense with Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, and Hunter Renfrow can be shutout. McDaniels is, after all, considered an offensive guru. When Raiders owner Mark Davis hired Dave Ziegler as his new general manager, it almost became a foregone conclusion that McDaniels would be joining him. These two are tight; the duo goes all the way back to college. In hindsight, this was a package deal, and one wouldn’t blame Ziegler for handing McDaniels a second opportunity. The NFL is largely like a social club; there’s a reason why you see the same retreads getting opportunities.
To the point Barber made, it definitely is a fair question as to why a coach such as Morris, who experienced some semblance of success, was chosen over another hot-shot offensive coordinator. Is there a problem within the league? You see these types of coaches flame out after one, two, and sometimes three years. Many return to their previous positions once they find out that it takes more to coach an entire team than just putting together an offensive gameplan.
“In the current landscape of the NFL, there are a lot of good offensive coordinators who should not be head coaches in the league. It’s playing itself out right now, and we’re seeing it. The league has a problem that they don’t want to address in their fascination or infatuation with these guys, who they think can turn around teams because they’re good offensive coordinators, but that doesn’t make you a good head coach. It doesn’t.”
Barber’s argument is more of a gray area than black and white…
While McDaniels’ lack of success certainly supports his argument, there are two sides to the story. Just look at the success of Mike McDaniel and Kevin O’Connell so far in their respective first seasons as head coaches. More importantly, these are first-time head coaches as well. McDaniels, on the other hand, inherited a team that made the playoffs last year. Of course, there were obvious roster deficiencies that most people could agree on. At the same time, McDaniels’ offense was going to feature a plethora of Pro Bowlers and an All-Pro. Excuses for McDaniels are already popping up. Take the O-line for example, which was self-inflicted when Ziegler decided not to pursue upgrades and instead, it was likely assumed that coaching could level up the unit.
The fact is, while Barber brought up some points that are debatable, Raiders fans, for their part, are stuck. Whether they believe McDaniels should be the head coach or not doesn’t matter. Alongside Ziegler, they’ve sold Davis on a long-term, big-picture type of vision. While speaking to the press this week, Ziegler further enforced that by stating that there is plenty of football left to be played. Simultaneously, McDaniels went on to shrug off a historically bad loss as just another week at the office. Let’s see what happens on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
*Top Photo: NBC Sports/Boston