The fact that Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels is the offensive playcaller makes it easy to overlook his supporting staff. Akin to Andy Reid in Kansas City in terms of these coaches being the “face” of their offenses. However, McDaniels is making it a point to develop his coaches as much as he’s doing so with his cast of players.
Josh McDaniels is as divisive a topic among Raiders fans as ever…
Let’s face it, you can’t win when you talk about McDaniels, at least not with a rabid fanbase such as Raider Nation. The consensus is either you hate his guts (a popular notion for many), or he was a first-year coach (with the Raiders) and had some bumps. Whether people want to admit it or not, the numbers support the latter.
McDaniels, as the Raiders’ playcaller, had the Silver and Black atop several key categories. Just look at a few examples below; as they say, numbers don’t lie, my friends. For starters, total yards were 5,993 (11th), total points were 395 (12th), and total passing yards were 3,934 (11th). Oh, and despite claims that Derek Carr “regressed,” he still managed 24 out of the team’s 28 passing touchdowns. In other words, McDaniels made it work with what he had.
“The Big Picture”
However, in a crucial second year (and beyond), McDaniels knows he has to trust his staff to shoulder more responsibility. He’s not just a playcaller, as he was in New England; he’s the head honcho. While speaking with Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, McDaniels talked about delegating more this offseason. While it doesn’t mean OC Mick Lombardi will be calling plays during the season, there’s an element of “big picture” thinking going on in Henderson, NV.
“I didn’t call one play today. We’ve done that throughout the course of the offseason. I didn’t call much in the offseason at all,” said McDaniels this past Sunday.
“There’s an element of, O.K., I’m able to sit back, I was behind the defense a lot today, just hearing the communication, then after the period, come here for a minute and help out. I think that’s my role, I need to be able to do that more, not because we don’t have great coaches on the defensive side. I love what we have going on. It’s just, if I have anything that can help, I have to do it. How are we practicing? How are we working?”
It sounds like McDaniels is finding his groove this offseason. Or, at least, coming into his own running the whole show.
What’s the endgame for McDaniels and the Raiders?
McDaniels will never be confused for a defensive genius. That’s not the point at all. To truly reach the next level as an NFL head coach, he needs his fingerprints on the entire team. We shouldn’t expect Lombardi or anyone else to handle play-calling; rather, McDaniels is trying to build more trust and better communication within his own framework. People point to the blown leads as the team’s downfall in 2022; that’s a fair point. Whether we can solely blame communication for that or not, it did play a part.
A coaching staff that’s more intricately wired will do wonders for the Raiders this season. Like it or not—especially if you’re on the side of “hating” Josh McDaniels…
*Top Photo: AP Photo/John Locher