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Josh McDaniels continues to make the argument against himself

The second-year head coach keeps pressure on self

Pittsburgh Steelers v Las Vegas Raiders
Josh McDaniels
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There was a narrative this offseason about whether Josh McDaniels could get the players around him to build the Las Vegas Raiders into a consistent winner.

However, a more fair question may be this: Is McDaniels the right coach to build the Raiders into a consistent winner?

Yes, it’s early in his Raiders’ coaching career, but there are signs that McDaniels is not going to be successful in Las Vegas. The first sign, of course, is wins and losses. After finishing a bitterly disappointing 6-11 in 2022, the Raiders are 1-2 to start this season. Yes, this start is better than last year’s 0-3 start, but do the Raiders really look improved?

Their only win was a 17-16 squeaker at Denver over a Broncos team that looks dreadful at 0-3. The Raiders were thumped at Buffalo in Week 2 and were never really in the Pittsburgh game although they did cut it to a one-score game late.

The Raiders have been outscored 77-45. It’s the fourth worst point differential in the league and they have scored among the fewest points in the league. Last season, after three games, the Raiders were outscored 77-64. Their games were closer. Bottom line, through a three-game comparison, the defense remains bad and the offense had taken a big step backward despite McDaniels and his partner, general manager Dave Ziegler, building the team, mostly, with their own players the past two offseasons.

So, despite the one win, in the big picture, it is fair to wonder if this team is not ready to improve from last year’s 6-11 mark.

In 20 games, McDaniels has a 7-13 record in Las Vegas. It’s one of the worst marks after 20 games in the team’s long history of head coaches.

McDaniels’ hasn’t had success as a head coach in his career. He was fired by the Denver Broncos in 2010 after 28 games. He was 11-17 there. Overall, he is 18-30 as an NFL head coach. If the Raiders went 4-4 in their next eight games, he would equal his record in Denver at the point it had enough of him.

There has been plenty of issues about McDaniels’ coaching tenure in Las Vegas, but one that sticks out is he seems to make odd in-game decisions every week. Sunday night, in prime time, he stunned America with a weird decision late in the game. McDaniels decided to kick a short field goal to cut the Steelers’ lead to 23-18 instead of going for it on fourth and four from the Steelers’ 8 with 2:25 minutes remaining in the game in a one-score game. A minute earlier, he did the same thing but was bailed out by a Pittsburgh penalty. After the game, McDaniels stood by his odd decision, saying the Raiders needed multiple possessions. Again, it was a one-score game. The Raiders did get the ball deep in their own territory with 12 seconds left. It was a really strange call by a coach who often looks uncomfortable in making game decisions.

Yes, McDaniels has time to become a good head coach for the Raiders. But it hasn’t happened yet. Las Vegas owner Mark Davis has been complementary of McDaniels and has stood by him. It will be interesting to see that change if the losses stockpile.


Should Mark Davis consider firing Josh McDaniels during this season?

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  • 91%
    For sure
    (2102 votes)
  • 8%
    No, give him a third season regardless of this season
    (202 votes)
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