Mark Davis saw enough and opted to go in a different direction with his AFC West franchise yet again. The Las Vegas Raiders owner parted ways with former head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. This came on the heels of a Raiders' loss to the Detroit Lions in a spooky rendition of Monday Night Football. McDaniels failed once again.
For the second time in three years, The Silver and Black will be led by an interim head coach. In the wake of the Jon Gruden scandal in 2021, former special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia did an extraordinary job of keeping this Motley Crue afloat. The Raiders not only played well under him, they actually made the AFC playoffs. Of course, he was not retained, as Davis hired McDaniels and Ziegler.
Now that McDaniels and Ziegler are out of the building, Davis had the nicest things to say about the Raiders' new interim coach Antonio Pierce. He said to the media, "After talking to him, I felt he was (the) right guy at the right time. Someone who can lead, create and have the respect of the team." Pierced played in the NFL for a decade with Washington and the New York Giants out of Arizona.
It should be noted that he played an integral part in Arizona State getting busted during COVID-19 for having players visit Tempe during a dead period. This, and rampant losing, brought an end to the Herm Edwards era in The Valley of the Sun. Arizona State is not bowl-eligible this year because of this.
Even with that in mind, Davis' comments about Pierce show us nobody really respected McDaniels.
It is going to be so interesting to see how the Raiders' former linebackers coach does in the big chair.
Mark Davis speaks highly of Antonio Pierce, disparaging Josh McDaniels
While the Raiders are the only team that has fired its coach and general manager up to this point, others will most certainly be joining them. Moving on from an ineffective McDaniels will allow for Davis to figure out who can best lead the team, now and in the future. Pierce could be something, but it is hard to see him being significantly better than what Bisaccia was in the interim two seasons ago.
At the very least, the Raiders will not be setting themselves up for failure with regards to The Rooney Rule. Pierce may not get the gig, but this coaching experience could do wonders for his opportunity to get to lead a team of his own in the coming years. Of course, this is all lining up for Davis to do what everybody expects he will do, which is to do what it takes to hire Jim Harbaugh away from Michigan...
Harbaugh first got into coaching with the Raiders as their quarterbacks coach from 2002 to 2003 on Bill Callahan's staff. He parlayed that two-year run in Oakland for a job at FCS San Diego. From his time with the Toreros, the Stanford Cardinal, the San Francisco 49ers and the Michigan Wolverines, Harbaugh has won everywhere, having turned around festering dumpster fires every step of the way.
Connecting Harbaugh to the Raiders is easy, but nothing has been easy for The Silver and Black in the 21st century. They have made the playoffs twice since winning the AFC back in 2002. Their futility has been well-documented. But with that in mind, the Raiders are an ideal proving ground for up-and-coming coaches like Pierce, as well as guys who have a little bit of an edge to them, like a Harbaugh.
All we know is that things soured very quickly between Davis and McDaniels, leading to his dismissal.