Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels trending towards worst head coach in league history

Change isn’t a bad thing, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. That’s a lesson the Las Vegas Raiders are learning the hard way, courtesy of team owner Mark Davis’ decision to replace interim head coach Rich Bisaccia with Josh McDaniels.

After former Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden was forced to part ways with the team, Mark Davis thought it best to promote special team’s coordinator Rich Bisaccia to the role of interim head coach. This turned out to be a great choice, as Bisaccia led Las Vegas to the playoffs, something only three other interim head coaches have done in the history of the league.

As the fifth-seed in the AFC, the Raiders went head-to-head with Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild card. Derek Carr and company came close to grabbing their first playoff win in two decades, but the Bengals’ defense shut the door on a late comeback as they sealed the game with a 26-19 win.

The magic was over in Vegas, and Bisaccia’s time as the Raiders’ head coach had expired.

Mark Davis thought it best to assemble a team to help make the decision on who the next head coach in Las Vegas would be. Rich Bisaccia took part in an interview with Davis’ assembled team in hopes to retain his position with the Raiders, but Davis ultimately decided to go the “Patriot way” with the hires of Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, who both came from New England.

And so, McDaniels entered his second head coaching stint, this time with the Raiders.

The Josh McDaniels era in the Silver and Black history books officially begins

The Raiders’ ’22 campaign under Josh McDaniels didn’t start too hot, and months later, it’s only gotten worse.

Las Vegas went the entire month of September without a win before claiming their first victory against the Denver Broncos in Week 4 to advance to 1-3. The team’s next four games held the same results, winning only one of four contests yet again. In the meantime, Josh McDaniels and the Raiders were doing what seemed impossible: walking away as losers on three occasions after having a 17+ point lead at halftime and putting up a goose egg in a 0-24 loss against the New Orleans Saints, who went into the contest with a record of 2-5.

Even in the midst of all their struggles, no one was prepared for the new low Las Vegas was about to sink to.

Week 10

Heading into Week 10, the Indianapolis Colts decided to make a head coach swap. The team fired Frank Reich, who started the season 3-5-1, and hired Jeff Saturday, who had never coached any level of football above high school, to take his place. In fact, not only had Saturday not coached beyond the high school level, but the Colts’ legendary center finished his final year of coaching with a record of 3-7. On top of this, Saturday elected to have Parks Frazier call the offensive plays against Las Vegas. Frazier had never called plays at the NFL level.

It was a game that almost every analyst and reporter agreed was impossible for the Raiders to lose. None of that seemed to matter, though, as the Colts galloped out of Allegiant Stadium with a 25-20 victory.

Three weeks later, Jeff Saturday remains winless in the NFL outside of his win against Las Vegas. Indianapolis is fresh off of a 35-point loss vs. the Dallas Cowboys, where “Indy” allowed a mind-blowing 33 points in the fourth quarter alone.

When the team you coach loses three contests after holding a 17-plus point lead at halftime over an eight-game span, that’s bad. When the team you coach suffers a defeat at the hands of an opposing coach who’s never coached any level of football beyond high school, that’s worse. And yet, neither of these things is the peak of Josh McDaniels’ shortcomings with the Raiders.

The nightmare in Inglewood begins

The Raiders had just won three games in a row, and things seemed to be looking up for Las Vegas, or so it seemed.

On Thursday, the Silver and Black headed to Los Angeles to battle the reigning Super Bowl champs, the L.A. Rams. This wasn’t the same Rams’ team that NFL fans had watched take home the Lombardi Trophy one season ago. Not only did Los Angeles walk into the contest with an embarrassing record of 3-9, but stars Cooper Kupp and Aaron Donald were sidelined. On top of that, Rams’ QB1 Matthew Stafford had just hit IR, leaving either John Wolford or Baker Mayfield to stand under center, the latter having been claimed by L.A. just two days prior.

Things couldn’t have been any easier for the Raiders

Wolford started, but after the Rams’ first drive, which ended in three plays, Baker Mayfield tagged in for the rest of the first half, despite having yet to learn any of the Rams’ playbook. That didn’t matter much to Josh McDaniels and Las Vegas early on, who headed into halftime with a 13-3 lead.

Yikes, the Raiders have another big lead after two quarters of play.

Despite not knowing the playbook due to being on the team for two days, the Rams elected to roll with Mayfield in the second half as well. The Raiders continued dominating the former first overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft up until the final minutes of the contest. That’s when things started to get intense at SoFi Stadium.

Cam Akers had just scored a touchdown with a hair under four minutes on the clock, and the Raiders’ offense was ready to get the ball back with a 16-10 lead. Picking up a single first down would’ve nearly iced the game as Los Angeles had one timeout remaining heading into the drive, but Josh McDaniels had other ideas. The Raiders’ head coach called three runs up the gut with an awkward call out of the hurry-up offense on third down, which had Josh Jacobs lined up at fullback. While unconventional, the Rams’ defense was ready for it, and the Raiders punted after three plays.

Josh McDaniels hits a new low in his coaching career

Thanks to All-Pro punter A.J. Cole, Los Angeles started at their own two-yard line. With 1:45 left on the clock and no timeouts left, it was time for Mayfield to go to work.

Maxx Crosby was able to bring Mayfield down early in the drive, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty by Jerry Tillery gave the Rams a free 15 yards. Even worse, Tillery’s penalty stopped the ticking game clock. Mayfield was eventually able to find Van Jefferson in the end zone, giving Los Angeles a 17-16 lead with 10 seconds left in the contest. With that, McDaniels lost to a quarterback who had been with his team for 48 hours.

Not only did the Raiders fall to a quarterback who was too new to know his team’s playbook, but this loss marked the fourth time Josh McDaniels and the 2022 Las Vegas Raiders lost a contest after holding a double-digit lead at halftime—the highest single-season total in NFL history.

Blown leads have derailed the Raiders all year long

It’s not just that Josh McDaniels lost four games with a 10+ point lead at the half this season; the Raiders have yet to earn a single win when faced with this situation. Yes, Las Vegas had a winning percentage of zero when heading into halftime with a double-digit lead during their ’22 campaign under McDaniels. The team’s 0-4 record in such a scenario is much different than the Raiders’ 20-2 record for the past 10 years prior to McDaniels’ arrival.

It’s clear what’s causing the Silver and Black to throw these games away: The team is going away from their best player down the stretch. During the second half of all four of these losses combined, star wideout Davante Adams had a mere two catches. Overall, Adams ranks fifth in receptions, third in receiving yards, and shares the top spot with Travis Kelce for most receiving touchdowns.

Whether we’re talking blown leads, losses to coaches who never coached at the NFL level, or losses to quarterbacks who haven’t even had time to learn their new team’s playbook yet, one thing remains clear: Josh McDaniels is trending towards being the worst head coach in league history.

*Top Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Join The Ramble Email List

error: Nice Try!
Subscribe to RaiderRamble

Get updates from RaiderRamble via email:

Join 6,163 other subscribers