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Raiders at 2-5: General manager Dave Ziegler is positive about the future

He talks about the long road

Houston Texans v Las Vegas Raiders
Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders first-year general manager Dace Ziegler hasn’t talked to the media in quite some time, but Wednesday, with the team in Sarasota, Florida between games at New Orleans and Jacksonville, he adressed the team’s state.

Of course, at 2-5, the current mood around the team isn’t great. Yet, Ziegler remains hopeful. While acknowledging the team’s fan base should be frustrated with the disappointing start, Ziegler praised head coach Josh McDaniels and stood behind some players who have struggled at points, including quarterback Derek Carr and pass-rusher Chandler Jones, who Zeigler who he both gave contracts to this season.

Ziegler made it clear it’s just been seven games and the team will not waver from its long-term plan.

“We’re 2-5. As a fan of the team, your expectations are high every year. When you start the year, you want your team to get off to a fast start. You want your team to compete in the playoffs. You want your team to win the Super Bowl. And so, the frustration from the fan base is totally warranted, and I can appreciate their passion,” Ziegler said Wednesday. “And for me and for Josh [McDaniels] and for the organization, there’s nothing more than we want than to win football games and to see this fan base get what they deserve, which is a consistent winner. And so, the frustration is warranted. I’d say we’re seven games in to a new regime, a new organization, a new way of doing things. And for us up to this point, it hasn’t gone as quick as we would have liked it to go. But we’re not wavering in our approach and we’re going to stick with our plan, improve it as we go along. And again, we’re confident that the results will come.”

On the surface, it seems one of the reasons why the Raiders have struggled has been some odd coaching decisions by McDaniels. He took over a 10-7 team that went to the playoffs and added firepower this offseason to create real post-season aspirations. Yet, McDaniels, who coached the Denver Broncos from 2009-10, has seen his career head-coaching record drop to 13-22 overall.

Yet, Ziegler said he been “really impressed’ with McDaniels this season from a leadership standpoint. The two were college teammates and they worked together in both Denver and New England before coming to Las Vegas as a package deal.

“I’ve been really impressed with Josh. Especially, I would say, when you’re 2-5, you really get tested. Your leadership really gets tested. Your approach really gets tested, and I’ve just been really impressed with how Josh has handled that,” Ziegler said. “His consistency with the team, his messaging with the team, his attitude. He continues to teach. I see players continue to improve under not only Josh’s watch, but the rest of the coaching staff’s watch. I think the game management has been good. And I think he’s had a good plan every week. We have to execute the plan.

“And I think that’s been something that the team would tell you that we haven’t been very consistent on. We haven’t had 11 guys execute consistently enough on a play in and play out basis. And when you’re playing good teams, you have to do that more consistently than not. And this past week, we didn’t do a good enough job of that. But I think Josh has done a great job, and I have total confidence in him and his ability to lead this team going forward. The belief in him as an offensive coordinator, and a belief in him as a teacher. And I think the one thing, again, I’ll mention because I think it’s really important is, I’ve seen a lot of players improve here under him and his coaches’ watch. And again, the results are the results, we’re 2-5. So, none of us have done a good enough job, myself included. We’re going to continue to put pressure on ourselves to get those results, and again we’ll see where it’s all at when we get to the end of the season.”

Ziegler made it clear the team has a plan it believes in and is confident it will play out in the long run.

“Like I said, when we were hired, we were hired to not only, I’d say, change the culture and develop the culture here. We were also hired to build a football team that can sustain and win,” he said. “And so, the focus is always on the long term too, it has to be. And so, every trade that we’ve done up to this point, has been with the focus on the long term. The contract extensions that we that we did, were focused on the long term. And so, there’s always going to be that focus. Again, for us, we can’t let the results of seven games really steer us in a different direction. We have a plan and we have an approach that we’re going to stick with, that we believe in. That doesn’t mean to say we won’t tinker with; you know what I mean? It doesn’t mean to say that you’re not going to find a flaw in your plan and say, ‘You know what, we’re going to have to make an adjustment to this, or we’re going to have to take a different perspective on this.’ You can’t be so narrow-minded that you’re not open to change during the process and be flexible during the process and learn new things. But at the same time, the approach, we’re always going to look at improving the team in a short term with some short-term solutions, with an eye on the long term. And that’s how it’s always going to be done, and that’s what we believe at the end of the day, when we step back from this, we think that is what’s going to provide good results for the Raider organization.”

We will see how things play out, but, it’s clear, Ziegler’s confidence is still high despite the unexpected, rough start to his and McDaniels’ Raiders’ tenure.

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