Raiders HC Josh McDaniels On Darren Waller and "Jimmy G"

Outsiders Edge: From Darren Waller to Jimmy G, Raiders’ Josh McDaniels drops jewels at NFL Owner’s Meeting

In a much-ballyhooed maneuver, tight end Darren Waller is no longer with the Las Vegas Raiders; he’s a New York Giant. The Silver and Black sent the talented pass catcher to the G-Men in exchange for a third-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft (No. 100 overall) in a surprise move.

The reasons for the transaction have been as varied as Waller’s availability over the past two seasons. There’s the interview former NFL general manager and personnel man Michael Lombardi did that reportedly shed light on the situation.

But the truth, well, that’s in the eye of the beholder.

Not surprisingly, Raiders head honcho Josh McDaniels was asked about his thought process on shipping off Waller. And the answer Las Vegas’ head coach provided at the NFL Owners Meeting in Phoenix Monday afternoon isn’t a revelation. But what he said at the end pretty much sums up his thoughts on Waller.

“I mean, any of those decisions are tough. Darren’s obviously a really good player. He’s done a lot of really good things. Did some of them last year for us. They’re not easy when those things come up,” McDaniels began. “Honestly, looking at the whole complexion of the roster and where we’re at, it felt like we had an opportunity after discussing it with Dave Ziegler to get younger, add another draft pick in the draft in the top 100, use some of that money that we would have paid Darren to pay (free agent wide receiver) Jakobi Meyers, and start working towards some other things.”

“So, like I said, I really enjoyed Darren and wished I would have had more games with him last year. Like I said, not easy decisions, but that’s what went into it.”

Raiders trade Darren Waller due to durability issues but sign an oft-injured quarterback?

In the end, availability was the major concern with Waller the past two seasons. When he’s on the field, healthy and dialed in, he’s a mismatch nightmare who can make a mockery of the opposition’s defense. But for the price the Raiders had paid him, the power structure of Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels decided to move on. And make no mistake, Ziegler is the ultimate arbiter when it comes to Las Vegas’ roster. He’s the be-all, end-all. He’ll get input from McDaniels, but the call is the general manager’s alone to make. Thus, Darren Waller is in New York. And what the Raiders do with pick No. 100 bears watching.

Speaking of availability, the ironic nature of trading the oft-injured Darren Waller while bringing in new starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who himself isn’t a paragon of health, can’t be ignored. Naturally, McDaniels was asked if the team was concerned about adding the signal-caller.

“”Yeah, I mean, anytime a guy has injuries, you look into all of those things,” McDaniels said. “Generally, his injuries haven’t been connected to one another. Shoulder, foot, ankle, knee, etc., so it’s not one area of his body. So, some of its circumstance, some of its bad luck if you will.”

Cue up the good ol’ “Doesn’t matter, Josh” Derek Carr reaction, eh?

The Raiders are not ignorant of the fact Garoppolo has spent time on injured reserve or on the sidelines due to ailments and will need a solid presence along the quarterback depth chart just in case the injury bug bites the Raiders’ new leading man hard.

“But generally speaking, the backup quarterback position, or the depth at that spot, is obviously something that you need to address and try to do it the right way,” McDaniels noted. “We’re doing a deep dive in the draft. I would love to have a quarterback room that’s got guys that are young, developing, under contract, and that you can continue to work with every year. As opposed to trying to do the veteran route every season if you can. So, we’ll see how it goes and how the next month and a half shakes out. But confident Jimmy will be ready to roll, and we certainly need to do our work and do a good job of finding our backup plan.”

What did the Raiders’ power duo see in Jakobi Meyers?

Speaking of newly acquired wide receiver Meyers, what drew Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels to the former New England Patriots pass catcher?

“Yeah, I’ve seen Jakobi grow a lot since he came into the league as an undrafted free agent. Smart, tough, dependable, and durable,” McDaniels said. “Has learned the two things that you need to be good at in the NFL to play receiver: getting open and catching the ball. And so, he does those things well and has been very productive, especially in the last three years here with a multitude of different quarterbacks. He’s played a little bit with Tom (Brady), played with Cam (Newton), and played with Mac (Jones) and has been able to really kind of fit in with all of them. So, I’m just excited about him. He’s a mature young guy. He’s got a bright future, has made a lot of big plays, and we’re looking forward to his best football here coming up.”

Some will view what Josh McDaniels said during the owners meeting as nothing more than propaganda. Coachspeak: blow it out your butt type. Fair enough. But McDaniels was presented with these questions and provided answers, whether you like them or not.

Ultimately, the best answer he and the Raiders can provide is more wins.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

Raiders mailbag: Defense, WRs, and plan of attack in 2023 NFL Draft

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