When the Las Vegas Raiders hired Dave Ziegler as general manager, he was considered a qualified candidate. He would handle many of the general manager duties for the New England Patriots alongside Bill Belichick. The next step for him was to become a general manager.
Ziegler had spent over a decade in front offices for the Denver Broncos and the Patriots and rose through the ranks. Though former Patriots coaches have rarely found success away from New England, executives that have left the team often have proven to be successful. Ziegler’s first year with the Raiders left a lot to be desired. He inherited a playoff team and oversaw their fall to 6-11 in 2022. He may have overestimated what he was inhering from the Raiders. He could also be coming into his own as a general manager. Owner Mark Davis made some interesting comments in a recent interview that seemingly threw Ziegler under the bus.
“Dave is young and never been in this position before,” Davis told Vic Tafur of The Athletic. “It takes time to learn all the tricks of the trade. I think the people he confides in might not be giving him the full picture because it’s so damn competitive.”
NFL Teams Had Issue With Davis’ Comments
Davis isn’t the type to start throwing current front office members under the bus. He may have gotten a little loose with his tongue when speaking with Tafur. Regardless, they aren’t comments that are likely to sit well with Ziegler if they make it back to him. Sports Illustrated’s Hondo Carpenter showed the Davis quote to multiple teams around the NFL and they don’t think the general manager will appreciate them very much.
“I showed that to our owner. That was a low blow,” the first team said. “Way to throw your new GM under the bus. I don’t think he meant it that way, but with an angry fan base, you just can’t say that.”
Another team didn’t think Davis meant to be hurtful but it’s going to sting regardless.
“Dave will never admit this, but that had to hurt,” the second team said. “No way Mark meant it that way, but it sure came off as bad.”
A third team called Davis “clueless” for the comments while a fourth team chimed in.
“Ouch,” the team said. “What owner would do that to his guy when he still works for him? That’s bulls***.”
Ziegler Needs to Have an Impressive Draft
Arguably the most important job a general manager has is drafting. While free agent signings and contract extensions are important, a team can turn things around quickly if they are good at drafting. The Raiders have been one of the worst drafting teams in the league for years now. Ziegler didn’t get much of a chance to show what he can do in the draft last year after he traded the team’s first and second-round picks to land Davante Adams.
As of now, Ziegler has 12 picks to work with in the upcoming draft, including four within the top 100. There’s no excuse not to put together a solid draft class this year. If he leaves the draft without a few impact players, his tenure in Las Vegas could be short-lived.