For Josh McDaniels, his run as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders may be his last go-around in that role — at least, in the NFL. Years ago, McDaniels coached the Denver Broncos for roughly two seasons, winning just six games in his first campaign and going 3-9 before mercifully getting the can before his second full season finished up. McDaniels was seen as an egocentric, draconian head coach with ideas that needed to be filtered by someone else and poor man-management skills.
It seems like, more than a decade later, that unfortunately hasn't changed. After rebuilding his reptuation in St. Louis and then with a triumphant return to the New England Patriots, McDaniels finds himself back on the unemployment line with an even quicker run as an AFC West head coach.
McDaniels went 6-11 in his first season in Las Vegas, and his job status was already in question. It was even rumored that McDaniels only kept his position because Raiders owner Mark Davis was too frugal to pay to give him the sack. Instead, the Raiders jettisoned Derek Carr as their solution, pivoted to a clearly inferior Jimmy Garoppolo, and alienated star receiver Davante Adams in the process.
And what did they have to show for it? A 3-5 record, a fractured locker room, and more questions than answers. It was at this point that Davis and the Raiders had no choice. They had to admit that McDaniels is the same guy he was as a young hot-headed coach in Denver — too stubborn, too impersonal, and ultimately not good enough to be an NFL head coach.
Perhaps nothing sends that point home better than watching how Raiders players have reacted in the immediate aftermath of McDaniels' firing. They seem like an entirely new group of players - no longer brooding and morose. Maybe that will translate into more confidence on the field.
Raiders have "happiest locker room ever" after Josh McDaniels firing
It's no surprise to see that Adams is one of the happiest Raiders, given he essentially saw the organization take McDaniels over his college buddy Carr.
A happy locker room is a wonderful sight indeed, and Raiders fans are surely joining the celebrations, too. But for them and for the organization, the most important thing is to just win, baby.
Hopefully, the next coach in charge can help foster a positive environment that translates to winning. What McDaniels failed to understand is that breeding toxicity doesn't lead to victories. The Patriot Way wasn't just about punishing players for the sake of it or building a dictatorship on the premise of arrogance without results.