What is the “Patriot Way”? It’s a philosophy Bill Belichick steeps his coaching staff (past and present) of putting the team first, not selfish, doing what’s best for the team, and putting the team’s goals in front of personal ones.
And the New England Patriots exude that. Even though there were times it seemed like it would crack, it remains a constant.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler — two people who were assimilated to that way during their respective tenures in Foxboro — have brought in a similar philosophy. While it isn’t a 1-for-1 carbon copy, the new “Silver & Black Method” has it’s roots from the “Patriot Way” — like it or not. Raiders owner Mark Davis picked McDaniels and Ziegler to lead his Raiders and is backing both the head coach and general manager, reinforcing the like it or not mantra.
The mentality in Foxboro isn’t for everyone and can be quite overwhelming. One of the things McDaniels brought from there to Las Vegas is holding everyone on the team — coach and player — to the same high standard. Players throughout the season spoke about that constant, the championship standard. It’s consistent between both McDaniels and Ziegler. And with that comes sharp criticism along with pointed praise. No one is shielded from getting called out in film sessions and study. If McDaniels sees something he doesn’t like, he calls it out — in front of everyone. It’s a double-edged type open door policy.
That can be disheartening to some but encouraging to others. It can be viewed as cruel but also cathartic. A coach highlighting who made the mistake in front of everyone to see shows no one is above getting that kind of evaluation. Everyone is fair game despite contract status or stature as team captain or elite player.
Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby spoke about that during the final locker room media access of the season after the team’s season-ending thumping from the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Josh has been awesome,” Crosby said of McDaniels. “Ever since he got here, he’s been straightforward with me. We have a great relationship, and he just has got a certain way he wants things done. Hard work is the No. 1 thing. We needed everyone on that same page.”
“We need everybody on the same page and just continue to grow, and I feel like Josh and Dave are doing a great job and we’re going in the right direction.”
Running back Josh Jacobs noted the new philosophy McDaniels installed impressed him and he saw teammates grinding hard.
“We definitely had the right mindset, especially by the way we go about working and things like that,” Jacobs noted. “It was definitely the best working group that I have been around since being in the NFL.”
Yet, like noted above, it isn’t an exact copy of how things are done in New England. There are instances where Ziegler has gone outside the philosophy he learned on the East Coast. The biggest of which was trading prime draft picks for an elite player and paying said player market-resetting coin. That of course is wide receiver Davante Adams who is making a cool total of $65.67 million in guarantees in the five-year, $140 million pact he inked with the Raiders upon getting traded from the Green Bay Packers.
There’s also the impending decision with Jacobs that bears watching. The Patriots weren’t keen on giving tailbacks top-of-the-market coin and went the route of drafting or acquiring running backs via free agency with eventual churn in mind. What Ziegler and McDaniels decide on Jacobs — giving him top money or letting him walk — will lend itself to the old ways or new ways. It’ll be intriguing to see which way it goes.