There’s no more denying it: the Las Vegas Raiders look like the second-worst team in the NFL behind the Houston Texans. Only one other team in the league has fewer than three wins. It’s OK for the Texans to be this bad because everybody expected them to be. The Raiders’ situation is so much worse.
Las Vegas was supposed to be a Super Bowl contender this season. Now it looks like they’ll have a top-five draft pick. This wasn’t supposed to be how the season went and cracks are starting to show. Quarterback Derek Carr shed tears following Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts and suggested that not every player in the locker room is giving a 100% to the Raiders. Wide receiver Davante Adams was less subtle and straight-up called out teammates who aren’t buying in.
“Just don’t have enough guys that are fully bought in,” Adams said following the loss. “I don’t think people are like, you know, ‘F what [Josh McDaniels] is talking about’ or ‘I’m going against the grain.’ It’s just a matter of executing when it’s time. … It means playing a complete game, every minute of the game, giving it everything you’ve got. … It’s doing your job and making the plays when you’re called on and get the opportunities, and we just don’t do that at a high enough level right now.”
Duron Harmon Says ‘Josh’s Way’ Is About ‘Being Accountable to One Another’
Head coach Josh McDaniels made it clear that he wasn’t trying to bring the “Patriot Way” to the Raiders when he got hired, despite his long tenure with the team — and a five-page “bible” on head coaching from Belichick himself.
Raiders safety and former Patriot Duron Harmon said in an April 2022 appearance on “Good Morning Football” that McDaniels is “trying to create a culture that is not the Patriot Way,” according to the Boston Herald. “Josh will never be Bill,” Harmon said. “Josh can’t emulate the Patriot Way because that’s not Josh’s way.”
But McDaniels’ approach has some things in common with the team-first “Patriots Way,” Harmon said. “It’s just being accountable to one another,” he said, according to the outlet. “I think that’s what it truly comes down to, on the field and off the field.”
“Some people say it’s the way Coach Belichick runs the team, preaching accountability and placing a strong emphasis on doing your job. Some say it’s our style of play, with Tom Brady as our quarterback. But truthfully, it’s neither,” former Patriots running back Kevin Faulk wrote for The Players’ Tribune in 2017. “The Patriot Way ain’t about nothing but winning.”
Should McDaniels Bring More of the ‘Patriot Way’?
“Coach Belichick is the kind of guy who doesn’t care what you do on your own time. He wants you to know football and he wants you to come to work every day and do your job to the best of your ability. Anything else, he doesn’t really care,” Faulk wrote.
With that in mind, analysis by Vic Tafur of The Atheltic suggests McDaniels may want to consider bringing more of some aspects of the “Patriot Way” to the Raiders:
McDaniels is now 7-24 in his past 31 games as a head coach, dating to his stint in Denver. He has addressed his problems with the Broncos many times and has worked hard to be better at dealing with people than he was there. And the Raiders players definitely wanted to buy in, and did for a while, but at some point longer meetings and practices and having team officials scouring your social media accounts daily gets old when you lose every week.
This is the first report of Raiders team officials scouring players’ social media accounts, and it’s easy to understand why some wouldn’t welcome that scrutiny for a team that is 2-7.
Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia wasn’t a brilliant offensive or defensive mind, but he knew how to get players to work hard for him. According to multiple Raiders this season, that’s what’s missing from McDaniels’ coaching, and he’ll need to make some changes to turn not only the season but his head coaching career into a success.