Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis

Outsiders Edge: Off Or On “The Mark,” Davis Is Going About The Raiders His Way

Seven different head coaches and a record of 76-113 overall and 0-2 in the playoffs. That’s the wake of the Silver and Black since legendary owner Al Davis passed away in 2011. The luster of the Las Vegas Raiders surely hasn’t matched the elegance of Allegiant Stadium. But perhaps the glow and vibe of his Las Vegas Aces being the reigning and defending WNBA champs will be the veiled shroud Mark Davis needs as his football product embarks on Year 2 of the “McZiegler Experience?”

Look, I get the angst some in Raider Nation have when it comes to the head coach. I really do. The moments of success have been so fleeting that it really isn’t expectation but rather desperation. That’s how success-starved a loyal fan base has been. Gone are the high standards set by the franchise before.

Setbacks Aside, Raiders Owner Mark Davis Is Trying To Forge His Own Legacy

These aren’t the Raiders of old, clearly…

What remains is a winning record or a playoff appearance being good enough. Brutal, right?

Of course, the Raiders have only themselves to blame for this. That’s how badly the team has beaten its fervent fan base down, where complacency is sustenance. The Silver and Black are not a paragon of a well-run organization. The latter stages of Al’s reign, along with his son Mark’s tenure as El Capitan of the Raiders, leave plenty to be desired.

But let me ask you this: If Mark Davis axes another head coach, do you trust him to find another one?

After all, he’s the one who hired Josh McDaniels as head coach (after bringing in Dave Ziegler as the general manager). Before that, he picked Jon Gruden and Jack Del Rio to head his football team.

What a questionable list of choices, no?

Hence the patience the younger Davis is showing with the new regime. Mark isn’t like his father, who cycled through head coaches. The younger Davis is seeking stability and continuity in his own way. Whether it’s off or on the mark

Let’s remember that the Raiders owner came to the defense of McDaniels in the midst of a 2-7 record last season. The vote of confidence was one that even former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr found relieving and much-needed. Davis even told ESPN that “people want instant gratification” and “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.

“I like Josh. I think he’s doing a fantastic job. That’s why I hired him,” Davis added, as he went about squashing rumors that he lost faith in McDaniels and that his hand-picked head coach was rolling snake eyes in Las Vegas in his debut season. “We did an exhaustive search and found the person we believe is going to bring the Raiders to greatness.”

Greatness and Raiders haven’t been synonymous since… well, since the Tuck Rule, quite honestly.

New cornerback and Town native Marcus Peters said it best during his post-training camp media session this past Saturday.

“The tuck rule killed us, man. Oakland ain’t been the same since,” Peters noted.

Amen. That single moment was the turning point for two franchises: the Raiders and the New England Patriots. Perhaps that is why the Patriot Pair is now steering the ship in Las Vegas.

But Davis is keenly aware of the angst the Raiders loyal fan base has.

“Life isn’t static. It’s fluid,” Davis said. “You want to win at the end of the year and be the one holding the trophy. Obviously, we’re not there yet. I know it’s frustrating for the fan base. I feel for them. I’m a fan as well.”

Those seeking for Davis to relinquish his control over their beloved football team are better off putting money on the Raiders as Super Bowl longshots in 2023. There’s no “three strikes and you’re out” here for Davis. He’s the owner, the Raiders decision-maker when it comes to the head coach and the general manager’s hiring and firing, and he hasn’t shown any inkling of relieving himself of being an owner alongside his mother, Carol. But whiffing on three straight coaches is a tough pill to swallow, even for Davis.

But who really knows what will happen? Davis has said he’s intent on riding out the current regime. He knows the quarterback swap from Carr to Jimmy Garoppolo dictates a massive shift in direction. That was a decision made by the head coach and general manager. And if it flops and Las Vegas finishes worse than the 6-11 mark it produced after limping to the finish line in 2022, would Davis entrust the duo with making a likely top three pick or perhaps the No. 1 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft?

(I’ll add this: I’ve said this in jest, but imagine if Davis goes on another coach search and it culminates in the return of Lance… err… Lane Kiffin? (Would Mark pull off the ultra-move of announcing the hire via overhead projector?)

There are lots of questions with answers that won’t arrive until the time comes.

Until then, we’ll all see how McDaniels and his staff coach up the roster assembled by Ziegler and his personnel crew. This is the bed Davis made, and we all must lie in it, for better or worse.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

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