After a bitterly disappointing first season of the Dave Ziegler-Josh McDaniels era, the natural question is how long will Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis wait before making at change at either general manager, head coach or both if the losing continues.
Davis recently said “you gotta have patience” when addressing Ziegler and McDaniels. That’s music to their ears because both Ziegler and McDaniels have been sending the same message, saying that a turnaround doesn’t happen overnight. Of course, they did inherit a team coming off a 10-win season and a playoff berth. So, no matter what he says, Davis can make a move if he loses his battle with patience.
Let’s look at Davis’ history as the Raiders’ owner (he took over the team in October, 2011 after his father, Al Davis, died):
Davis’ first major move as owner was hiring Reggie McKenzie as general manager in 2012. McKenzie stayed in the role until late in the 2018 season when he was fired. This was a unique situation because McKenzie lost power when when Davis hired his dream guy, Jon Gruden to coach the team in early 2018. Gruden had full power, but McKenzie was kept around. But it was only a matter of time and he was gassed near the end of a poor first season under Gruden as coach. Yet, McKenzie was cooked as soon as Gruden agreed to go back to the Raiders. So, this was more about Gruden’s power than Davis tiring of McKenzie.
Gruden hired Mike Mayock to replace McKenzie and be his top front-office assistant. After Gruden was forced out as head coach in October, 2021 because of his emails scandal. Mayock was a lame duck and hew as predictably let go after the 2021 season. If Gruden was still in Las Vegas, Mayock may still be as well. But if would have been Gruden’s call.
McKenzie tabbed Dennis Allen as his head coach in 2012. Allen is Davis’ greatest example of impatience. Allen was fired after a 0-4 start in 2014, Derek Carr’s rookie year as quarterback. Thus, Allen lasted just 36 games. Now, he didn’t do much not to be fired as the Raiders were just 8-28 during his tenure. So, Davis was justified in the decision to fire him, for sure.
Moments after the 2017 season, Davis fired Jack Del Rio as head coach because he already had his sights on bringing back Gruden. Del Rio went 25-23 as the Raiders coach. Yet, this wasn’t about patience. It was about Gruden.
The decision not to retain interim coach Rich Bisaccia after the 2021 season wasn’t about patience, either. It was about Davis thinking he could get a bigger fish and he thought McDaniels was that.
It would be difficult to conclude that Davis has a history of not having patience. There are examples of him having patience and him not having patience. The major trend is him wanting a star coach as he tried with Gruden and McDaniels. It is up to McDaniels whether he can keep Davis patient. Time will tell, but Davis’ history shows very situation is different.
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