Despite having to apologize for his team’s effort and stating that something like that shouldn’t happen, Josh McDaniels noted optimism is still present amongst his Las Vegas Raiders.
“Absolutely. Again, it’s a long year,” the head coach said during his Monday media session. “I believe we haven’t reached our best football yet and it’s going to take work and progress and improvement in order to do that.”
McDaniels continued to qualify that statement with a league-wide comparison, one that highlights — despite seven games in — the marathon race hasn’t hit the halfway point.
“But, again, at this point in time nobody’s really qualified for anything, and nobody’s been eliminated. And that’s common,” McDaniels said. “I think there’s 12 or 13 teams right now that have a winning record and there is so many games and so much football left to be played, and there’s a lot of things that we need to do better. We need to coach and play better to earn better results.”
Better results is quite the Captain Obvious line from McDaniels and would appear far fetched considering the Jekyll and Hyde performances his Raiders showcased. The head honcho wants consistency and unfortunately for him, his Silver & Black marauders have been consistency inconsistent. McDaniels has taken the “put it on me” approach, especially after the Week 8 24-0 debacle against the New Orleans Saints this past Sunday. He is the chief play designer and play caller which makes him often target No. 1 for offensive criticism.
Consistency is going to be what we’re going to try to push for,” McDaniels said. “If we can do that and start playing our best football here and start stringing together some wins, you look up at the end of the year and a lot of things can happen. Certainly, that’s our goal. Our goals are still out there. We’re going to need to play better, coach better, to earn them.”
McDaniels’ words likely ring hallow and will come to the chagrin of Raider Nation, a fanbase that had elevated hopes after last season’s postseason appearance. Nonetheless, whether it’s Raider Nation or amongst Raiders players and coaches, having only two wins is beyond anyone’s wildest expectations of failure. McDaniels was asked if his team is in a precarious spot considering expectations have been meet with a horrid reality.
“I think the best thing we can all do is, one, be truthful and honest with one another. Treat one another the way we’ve treated them all year. We have a really high character locker room; we have a bunch of great people in there that work really hard at their job. I fully trust and believe in them,” McDaniels said. “Again, yes, as disappointing as yesterday was, we’ve had some signs of progress here and really just try to stay consistent as much as we can here. We learn from the things we don’t do well and hopefully we can improve and get better.
“Like I said, it’s not unique to us, we’re not the only team that loses games. And again, as hard as yesterday was, hopefully we’ll be able to learn the lessons from that and be better.”
And, not surprisingly, McDaniels was queried about his team’s defense – or lack of it. Quarterback Andy Dalton, running back Alvin Kamara and the New Orleans Saints offense did what ever they wanted to the Raiders in their lopsided win leaving a severe taste of futility in Raider mouths.
“Look, it is what it is. When we do the right things and we’re all connected, that’s how defense works. And another team is always going to try to make that difficult on you,” McDaniels began. “So, a good team defense, there’s no shortcuts to it, whether it’s run defense, pass defense, pass rush, pass coverage, third down, red zone, turnovers – there’s things that we can do better. Again, I think the process – I know that gets tiring listening to that – but there’s no other way to do it. We have to work on the things we can work on to improve it and shore it up in certain areas and try to make more consistent plays together.
“Again, there’s no magic pill we’re going to take to solve any issues we have or had. We’re going to need to work at it and be connected and play good as a unit. That’s the only way to play good, solid defense over and over and over, play after play.”