As the Las Vegas Raiders offseason has gone on, it’s clear that head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler have relied heavily on their New England Patriots ties. Offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham previously coached with the team and the Raiders have signed a number of former Patriots. This has led to much speculation that McDaniels was trying to bring the “Patriot Way” out west. The term has been coined to describe the culture that Bill Belichick created in New England over the years.
One player the Raiders signed in the offseason was safety Duron Harmon, who previously spent seven years with the Patriots. If there’s any player who understands the “Patriot Way,” it’s Harmon. While McDaniels tried to bring Belichick’s philosophy to the Denver Broncos when he coached them previously, he’s not going to repeat the same mistakes. According to Harmon, McDaniels has made it clear that he’s creating his own culture that has nothing to do with the Patriots.
“He’s trying to create a culture that is not the Patriot Way,” Harmon told NFL Network. “He’s said it over and over.”
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‘Patriot Way’ Only Works in New England
Harmon’s comments should be a breath of fresh air for Raiders fans. It’s been well documented in the past that the “Patriot Way” just doesn’t work outside of New England. We’ve seen coaches like Matt Patricia, Joe Judge, Romeo Crennel and more fall on their faces after leaving the Patriots. McDaniels is another one of those coaches who failed.
For whatever reason, that type of culture only works under Bellichick. Trying to implement such a strict culture in Las Vegas just wouldn’t work. It’s clearly worked for the Patriots but that doesn’t mean it works for any team. Even Belichick didn’t have success as a head coach until he joined the Patriots. McDaniels is wise to take a different approach as he can’t repeat the same mistakes he made in Denver.
Ziegler Talks Working Relationship With McDaniels
When McDaniels got the Broncos head coaching job in 2009, he was handed personnel control. This time around, he was fine with the Raiders bringing in a general manager he can trust in Ziegler. The two are about to lead their first draft together and Ziegler claims that the two are typically on the same page.
“Typically we see players the same,” Ziegler said of McDaniels in his pre-draft press conference. “Like if we end up watching players separately, we’re going to come back and I would say the vast majority of those players we’ll see the same. There’s always going to be some one-offs here and there where we just see it differently and those are the guys where we end up sitting down and working through a little bit more throughout the process to try and find some common ground and learn why we saw those players differently. But for the most part, yeah, we see a lot of things the same when it comes to evaluating players. We talked about our scouting system before but we look at players and the role that they’re going to fill and so often we see those players and what the role is the same.”
Having a harmonious relationship between the general manager and the head coach is important. Luckily, McDaniels and Ziegler have known each other for a long time and don’t need to have a drawn-out process of learning each other.