The calls for the Las Vegas Raiders to fire Josh McDaniels continue to grow following a 2-7 start to the season. The coach took over a playoff team that went 10-7 last season and added Davante Adams. Instead of getting better, the team has been much worse.
Owner Mark Davis has assured McDaniels that he won’t be getting fired this year but Frank Reich was told he was safe before the Indianapolis Colts fired him. Anything can happen if the Raiders continue to lose. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk floated a very interesting idea. He doesn’t believe that McDaniels will get fired until after the season if it happens. He’s not ready to rule out the Raiders thinking about bringing back a controversial former coach.
“It would still be highly unlikely for McDaniels to get the heave-ho during the season. But he could be in grave danger of getting fired after 2022 ends,” Florio wrote. “Then what? Given the affinity and affection Mark Davis has for Jon Gruden, could anyone rule out a return?”
Notably, Gruden resigned five games into last season following the release of old emails that contained racist, homophobic and sexist language. The coach is currently in the midst of a lawsuit with the NFL.
Davis Does Love Gruden
Davis was very angry when the Gruden emails leaked. He didn’t condone the language that emails contained but he did say the NFL was out to get him. Davis hasn’t hidden his love for Gruden as a coach, which is why he gave him a 10-year contract back in 2018. It appeared that the coach was finally starting to turn the team around. The Raiders were 3-1 last season before the emails were leaked.
However, Gruden’s teams frequently started off the year strong before collapsing late in the season. It’s difficult to know if they would’ve missed the playoffs again had he stayed on. Gruden was once a very good coach who won a Super Bowl but he couldn’t find consistent success with the Raiders or Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Bringing Back Gruden Would Be a Disaster
Gruden is a solid coach. He’s a good motivator and knows how to design players. However, he might be one of the worst personnel people in the NFL. His second tenure with the Raiders was filled with bad draft picks and questionable free agent signings. He made seven first-round picks for the team between 2018 and 2021. Only Kolton Miller, Clelin Ferrell and Josh Jacobs are still with the team. Miller is the only one who is likely to be retained last season.
If Gruden hit on more of those draft picks, the Raiders likely wouldn’t be 2-7 right now. There’s also the fact that hiring the coach back would be an even bigger media firestorm than it was in 2018. He’s a controversial personality now. Is that something Davis wants to navigate? Most likely not. The NFL wouldn’t be very happy if Gruden was brought back. He could perhaps work as a coach if Davis hired a general manager to handle personnel and forced Gruden to only focus on coaching. Nothing can be ruled out with the Raiders but it’s very difficult to envision a scenario in which the coach is hired for a third time.