If the Las Vegas Raiders fans had it their way, Jim Harbaugh would likely be the head coach of the team right now. He was the early favorite to get the job but the team didn’t end up showing interest in him. Josh McDaniels wasn’t even thought of as an option early in the search. Fans weren’t exactly thrilled when the news dropped that he was the favorite for the job and then eventually hired.
McDaniels’ time with the New England Patriots was wildly successful as he was part of all six Super Bowl runs. The biggest knock on him was his stint as the Denver Broncos head coach from 2009 to 2010. After getting off to a 6-0 start with the team, he went 5-17 over the next 22 games before getting fired during his second season.
It was a disappointing stint marred with controversy and he didn’t look fit to be a head coach. However, it’s been over a decade since he was in Denver, and has learned a lot along the way. During his introductory press conference, McDaniels opened up about why he failed previously.
“When I went to Denver, I knew a little bit of football,” McDaniels said Monday. “I didn’t really know people and how important that aspect of this process and maintaining the culture and building the team was. I failed, and I didn’t succeed at it.
“Looking at that experience has been one of the best things in my life in terms of my overall growth as a person, as a coach. What do I need to do different, how do I need to handle my role, if I have another opportunity, and do better at it?”
These comments are a big deal. McDaniels has clearly learned from what he did wrong with the Broncos and won’t make the same mistakes with the Raiders.
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McDaniels Explains Why He Was Interested in Raiders Job
McDaniels has been a head coach candidate a number of times since Denver. He was about to be the head coach for the Indianapolis Colts in 2018 before pulling out at the last minute in a controversial move. Doing that cooled off interest in him for a couple of years. The Cleveland Browns then considered him in 2020 but chose Kevin Stefanski.
The Raiders never seemed like a logical destination for him but McDaniels explained how it all came together.
“I was very impressed with how exhaustive they were, just in their evaluation of me and my fit and how I would fit into their vision, and then you come out and you spend time with them, you meet the people, you see that everything is done in a first-class manner,” McDaniels said. “Their commitment to winning is easy to feel, to see, and, to me, walking through this building and having a sense of the history and tradition of this organization and how much that impacts the day-to-day here, it really hit me.
“This is one of those iconic places, and it’s a historic organization that has unbelievable history and tradition. It’s in every hallway. Just getting to know them, feeling their commitment and understanding that that really married up with what my vision would be for another opportunity. It was easy to make the choice.”
Dave Ziegler Will Have Personnel Control
A big reason McDaniels failed in Denver was that he was given too much power. Rarely do head coaches make great personnel decision-makers. The Raiders knew this as Jon Gruden had full control of the team and made some bad roster decisions. One concern when the team hired him was that they’d be repeating the same mistake they did with Gruden. Fortunately, new general manager Dave Ziegler made it clear that he will be in charge of personnel in Las Vegas.
“At the end of the day, as the general manager, and as the one leading the charge on the scouting side in personnel in college and pro, that direction will come from me, in terms of construction of the roster,” Ziegler said. “Obviously, Josh and I are tied in many ways in our vision of how to build a team and our vision of what we want, in terms of the players we bring into the building is very connected. But at the end of the day, when it’s time to make decisions of all personnel, while we’ll work together, those final decisions will be made by me.”