The Las Vegas Raiders aren’t going to fire Josh McDaniels after an 0-3 start, but his seat is warming up much quicker than anybody expected. Immediately following his team’s 24-22 loss, which dropped the Raiders to 0-3, McDaniels sat in a closed-door meeting with team owner Mark Davis, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez.
Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton knows a thing or two about tough conversations with owners, and he also knows the Davis family. He said McDaniels is lucky that Al Davis isn’t the one he had to meet with.
“When the boss wants to see you, it probably means there’s some problems,” Payton told Colin Cowherd on the September 26 episode of “The Herd.” “The first thing I think about — because I interviewed with the owner’s father, Al Davis, on two different occasions — thank God he doesn’t have to meet with Al Davis because Al knew everything about defensive football. He knew fronts, he knew coverages, he knew offensive packages. He was the one owner in this league that could interview you on personnel.”
Davis has desperately been trying to build a winner in Las Vegas, but he’s already had more success in his brief time owning the WNBA’s Aces, which won their first league title earlier this month.
The Raiders were in the playoffs last year, losing in the wild-card road to the Cincinnati Bengals, so the pressure is on McDaniels to make the team better, not worse.
McDaniels Safe for Now
The Raiders were a playoff team last season, but they weren’t a juggernaut. It was their first playoff appearance since 2016 and they had to go on a miraculous four-game win streak — all of which were one-score games — to end the regular season.
Despite the Raiders’ 10-7 record and playoff appearance, Davis did not retain general manager Mike Mayock and interim head coach Rich Biasacci. Instead he hired GM Dave Ziegler and McDaniels away from the New England Patriots.
But McDaniels’ Raiders haven’t impressed to start the season. Still, it’s only three games in a 17-game season and Davis has given no indication that he’d fire McDaniels this early in the season, and he doesn’t have a track record of firing coaches so quickly since taking over the franchise in 2011.
Now, McDaniels does need to start showing something given the Raiders’ expensive roster, which is loaded with high-end talent. There’s no excuse for them to not at least be in the playoff race. If the team continues their losing ways and doesn’t even sniff the playoffs, then it’s possible that Davis will try to get ahead of this situation and make a coaching change at the end of the year.
McDaniels Talks Overcoming 0-3 Start
This week should be extra special for McDaniels because he’ll be facing his former team for the first time as a head coach. He had a disastrous run with the Denver Broncos from 2009 to 2010, getting let go during his second season. Now would be a great time for McDaniels to get his first win as the Raiders head coach. Despite the rough start, he’s not ready to change his approach yet.
“Look, you believe in your approach, and you believe in your players,” McDaniels said Monday. “Those are two things that I would say I do wholeheartedly believe in. So, we know we can make better progress here as we go forward. And we know we need to do it quickly. We don’t want to lose sight of the guys that are in front of us in our division. We have two great opportunities coming up here against two division opponents. Let’s just start with week one with Denver here. and really do a good job of preparing this week.”