Out of all the first-year head coaches heading into the 2022 NFL season, none are better set up for success than Josh McDaniels with the Las Vegas Raiders. The longtime New England Patriots offensive coordinator is taking over a team that made the playoffs last season and added superstar players in Davante Adams and Chandler Jones. Though expectations for first-year head coaches should always be tempered, anything less than a playoff berth for this team would have to be considered a disappointment.
The Raiders made a lot of notable additions to the roster this offseason but Adams and Jones are easily the biggest names. They are two players who are likely headed to the Hall of Fame after they retire. Despite the fact that both players are proven superstars, they remain among the hardest working players on the squad. McDaniels has been pleased with what he’s seen from Adams and Jones in OTAs.
“The effort that they put in, the time that they put in, how much they demand of themselves – which I think you have to do before you can start pushing other people – it just speaks for itself,” McDaniels told the media recently. ” And then there’s a lot of players that are following the right people. Excited about this group, pleased with what they’re doing so far. Still got a long way to go and eager to see how that’s going to turn out as we go through the rest of the spring.”
It’s a good sign when a team’s best players are their hardest workers and that appears to be the case with the Raiders.
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McDaniels Excited About Opportunity
This may be McDaniels’ second head coaching opportunity but it’s been a decade since he was with the Denver Broncos. He’s a different coach than he was before. McDaniels has had other coaching opportunities over the years, including accepting an offer from the Indianapolis Colts only to back out last-minute. He’s remained patient for his next head coaching job and it appears he believes this Raiders job is the perfect one for him.
“I’ve been looking forward to an opportunity like this for a couple years now and I’m so blessed to have the staff that we have and the group that we have working, and the support staff that we have around me,” McDaniels said. “They make my job easy. I’m just trying to keep us on schedule and on time and those kind of things, but I couldn’t say enough things about the staff here.
“The strength and conditioning guys, the trainers, the equipment people that make this thing go – they do a tremendous job. Then our coaching staff is doing a great job. They’re here real early, they’re here late at night making sure all the information is prepared. I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I feel like it’s slowed down for me, for sure. Doesn’t mean anything at this point in time of the year, doesn’t have any bearing on what’s going to happen down the road, but definitely feel a comfort level now in terms of understanding what my role is and how to do it better.”
McDaniels Not Trying to Be Bill Belichick
Former Patriots assistants haven’t had much success as head coaches on their own. For whatever reason, Bill Belichick’s methods only work in New England. McDaniels tried to be like the legendary coach in Denver and knows that was a mistake. He’s now focused on being himself with the Raiders.
“I’m not Bill [Belichick] and I can’t be. I’m just going to try to be myself and hopefully, I can be a good leader for our team.”