There have been a few points in the season where it seemed possible that Josh McDaniels could get fired as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders before finishing his first year with the team. The tipping point was following the team’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Many more came out saying he needs to be fired following that loss.
However, McDaniels retained the job and led the Raiders to a 22-16 win over the Denver Broncos. Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times floated a rumor that the reason the coach wasn’t fired was due to owner Mark Davis not having enough money to afford a buyout. The idea that Davis is cash-poor has been floated around for years.
While it’s a popular theory, it’s not based on reality. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport appeared on “The Pat McAfee Show” and quickly dispelled the rumor that Davis doesn’t have enough money to fire McDaniels.
“Josh McDaniels not being fired because of money was never true,” Rapoport said.
The move to Las Vegas has been very profitable for Davis. The Raiders are the ninth-most valuable franchise in the NFL, according to Forbes. That’s not to mention that Davis recently purchased the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA, which wouldn’t be a move you’d see from somebody who is cash-poor.
Then Why Would Davis Keep McDaniels?
Perhaps the reason Davis doesn’t want to impulsively fire McDaniels before he finishes his first season is due to the fact that he believes in what the coach is building. The Raiders made the playoffs last season but Jon Gruden didn’t build a roster that was deep with talent. McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler made a lot of changes to the roster and many of them haven’t worked out.
However, it’s not like the Raiders are getting blown out every week. They are 1-6 in games decided by one score. McDaniels deserves a ton of blame for the team not winning close games but they are just a few players away from turning that 1-6 to 6-1. Firing McDaniels right now doesn’t make a ton of sense. There isn’t an obvious interim replacement for him on the staff right now. He at least should finish out the season to see if he can turn things around because the Raiders likely aren’t going to make the playoffs with Rob Ryan as the interim head coach.
McDaniels Hasn’t Lost the Locker Room
Prior to beating the Broncos on Sunday, there was a lot of talk about how McDaniels was losing the locker room. He’s a demanding coach, which can become tiresome when you’re losing a lot of games. The scene following the win over the Broncos certainly didn’t look like a team that didn’t respect its coach.
An insider has also backed up the idea he hasn’t lost the locker room yet. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that the coach is safe for next season:
People I talk to around the league believe McDaniels will get another year, thinking the Raiders brought McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler as a package deal and wouldn’t be keen on paying massive buyout money to both of them. After asking around, I don’t get the sense he has lost the locker room, which sort of showed up in Sunday’s win over Denver. Are there some whispers of a “Patriots Way” style of coaching with long hours for players? Yes. But that’s also fairly common. The NFL is demanding. The players believe he has a good plan for them; the wins just aren’t coming in droves.