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Josh McDaniels stands by defensive coordinator Patrick Graham

It hasn’t been a great year for the Raiders’ defense, but it seems like the DC’s job is safe

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Las Vegas Raiders
Patrick Graham
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the Las Vegas Raiders’ disappointing season days away from ending, there has been a lot of angst in the fan base about the job first-year defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has done and whether there might be a change there after the season.

However, despite the defensive issues of the 6-10 team, there has been media speculation that Graham’s job is, indeed, safe for 2023. This week, Raiders’ first-year head coach Josh McDaniels spoke positively about his hand-picked choice to run the defense, further raising speculation that Graham’s job security is safe.

“I’m not really in touch with all the outside criticism, and that’s not a knock on anybody who has an opinion either. I see what Pat [Graham] does every day, I see what our staff does every day, I see what our players do every day,” McDaniels told reporters this week. “And look, football is a team game and each man on the team is not going to be created equally. Each phase of the team is not going to be identical in terms of strengths and weaknesses. That’s the beauty about our sport is that you can play a team game and you can make a decision each week about what you need to do to play it right against a team that has different strengths and weaknesses than you do.

“And last week was a good example. This week will be a completely different example of their strengths and weaknesses that are completely different than ours in many ways. And we have to use what we have to try to combat theirs and try to play the game as a team so that we have a chance to win. So, I don’t blame anybody, and we don’t blame anybody here either. We just tried to accept accountability for the things we can do well to help our team try to win. I think Pat’s done a great job of that, our staff has too. And look, these are our guys. These are our guys, and so whether we drafted them, signed them, or they were here before we got here, it doesn’t make any difference in football, like this is our team. So, to me, we coach them all the same. We don’t look at how they ended up here. That’s not what we’re judging. What we’re judging is what they do on a day-to-day basis. And our job is to try to help them improve. In many cases, especially some of our younger players, have really showed some progress throughout the course of the season. We’ve played a ton of players on defense. That’s an exciting thing as we move forward. I know not everybody’s excited about that at the moment, but that’s a good thing as we progress here. Look, any blame, I mean, like I said, we all share it. It starts with me.”

Of course, the failures in Las Vegas will very likely cost, at least, one key figure on the franchise his job and it appears that will be quarterback Derek Carr. At this point, it would be a shock if Carr returns to the team in 2023. It seems like it’s an outcome none of the key figures are interested in.

With McDaniels getting support by Raiders’ owner Mark Davis and Graham getting support from McDaniels, it seems like the top assistant on the staff will likely return.

Graham, a former defensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants, came to Las Vegas with a strong reputation. It hasn’t worked out well yet in Las Vegas, but it appears, barring a change of heart, Graham will be given another chance with the team as the Raiders plan to reload on defense this offseason.


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