Amid a drastic roster overhaul, the Raiders are finally finding their true identity. The additions of Chandler Jones and Davante Adams laid the groundwork last year for the new regime. General manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels took it a step further this offseason. The duo brought in several former Patriots to complete the “vision.”
Raiders Go Full Throttle Into “The Patriot Way”
From a talent standpoint, these swaps may look like a step backwards — and frankly, it is hard to argue against that. No matter your sentiment toward the moves, it is hard to deny how much sheer talent Vegas has lost since the end of the 2022 season. But sometimes, “fit” matters more than overall talent. The 2023 Raiders will prove that.
Fit vs. Talent: What Matters More To Winning?
Carr, despite his immense talent, was never a fit with Josh McDaniels. Perryman, a recent Pro Bowler, did not fit the mold defensive coordinator Patrick Graham looks for at linebacker. Then you have the rumored disagreement between Waller and McDaniels, leading to the end of their marriage together. See what I did there?
Now, with a roster of players familiar with the “Patriot” way, McDaniels and Co. are excited to bring their vision to fruition. From a better-suited quarterback to an underrated wideout, the Raiders are harping on continuity as training camp ensues.
Josh McDaniels was recently asked if it is easier to install his system in year two. When speaking on veteran players helping rookies, McDaniels said, “We have great guys, we have great leadership, great people. They come to work every day with the right mindset. And now the comfort level in the system with the communication, the expectations, what every period in practice actually means.”
“I mean, last year, I remember they’d look at the practice schedule and kind of go like, ‘what is that in period five’ because it was just new to him.” The Raiders head coach highlighted the difference this offseason by saying, “Now, they know all the drills, they know all the things we’re doing on a daily basis. So, they’re willing to use their voice to help the young guys or new guys. Guys that might not be as comfortable as they are.”
McDaniels Cites Previous Success With New England
McDaniels used his experience within the Patriots organization to hammer home his point. “And good teams function like that and bond together and help one another, and I’ve seen a lot of that so far,” the 47-year-old said matter of factly.
The follow-up question centered around McDaniels and his approach to roster turnover, more-specifically asking whether it impacts his verbiage within the scheme. “No, I mean, little things change every year, but I think a lot of times the verbiage we use is really just private to us in terms of during the game,” he fired back.
McDaniels went further by saying, “I’ve always kind of felt that gets overblown at some point. [But] there’s a number of — we call them dummy code words, where they may say whatever it is. If it’s an actor or movie title or whatever. So, it’s a process that you have to look at each week. But we don’t try to change any of those things.”
Of course, the coaching staff is only one part of the equation. How do the players feel on the topic of continuity? Jakob Johnson spoke in detail and offered some insight from a locker room perspective.
The Raiders Fullback Speaks Positively About Improved Continuity
Johnson shared some promising details when asked about the difference between year one and year two with Vegas. “Yeah, I mean if you’re new to [an] offense there’s always a lot more work that you have to put in just understanding the verbiage. Once you make that step then you can get into the real details of the football, of how you’re going to adjust to certain looks, how you’re going to key the defense up, and you can think ahead a little bit as a player.”
The 28-year-old fullback was asked about the continuity on the offensive line and if it makes his job any easier. “I mean, it doesn’t necessarily make the blocking easier, but it does help with the communication. You know each other. So, yeah, I think the camaraderie and everything has just been coming together a little bit more this year,” Johnson said to cap off the conversation.
You have heard it from both sides of the coin. Whether the improved continuity leads to more success in the win column is yet to be determined. However, judging by talk within the Raiders organization, all signs are pointing up as training camp continues.
*Top Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports