The Las Vegas Raiders have been arguably the most disappointing team in the NFL during the 2022 season. They are currently 2-7, a major letdown following a surprise run to the playoffs last season and the moves that were made in the offseason.
The Raiders were the rare playoff team to make wholesale changes to the front office and coaching staff, as they hired Dave Ziegler as general manager away from the New England Patriots and he brought Josh McDaniels along with him as head coach. Headline-grabbing additions were made to the roster as well as wide receiver Davante Adams was acquired in a trade with the Green Bay Packers and EDGE defender Chandler Jones was signed in free agency.
Despite the big changes, the results have not been there on the field. Las Vegas has blown a lead of at least 17-points three times this season, which has drawn the ire of a lot of people. Some were questioning the job security of McDaniels, who has struggled mightily as a head coach in his career.
But, any whispers of McDaniels being ousted were put to rest earlier this week by owner Mark Davis. Davis giving a vote of confidence to McDaniels has put the players at ease according to quarterback Derek Carr.
“It really did,” Carr said. “Just being here for nine years and everything that we’ve all seen and been through, and some tragedies, and all this stuff, right? I’m so happy to hear that Mr. Davis feels that way. I’m so happy that he loves Josh, he loves [first-year general manager Dave Ziegler], he believes in them.”
Carr gave an emotional press conference following the team’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts last weekend. He questioned the commitment of some of the players in the locker room as players are going through a lot to get out on the field for practice and games and Carr didn’t feel it was being reciprocated by some of his teammates.
He continued about Davis’ endorsement, saying, “kind of just gave us a breath like, ‘Yes. Let’s just get better. Let’s work on being a better football team. Let’s go out and win all these games. Let’s go try and do all that, of course, but let’s just be a better football team.”
“It kind of let us know, the process, trust that process. There is a process and we do have time during the season that we know who our leader is, and we know that we’re rolling, and that gives us confidence as a football team. So, absolutely, when he came out and did that, ‘Whew, thank goodness.’ That kind of thing.”
He wasn’t the only player that was happy about what Davis did, as Adams also applauded the move. Adams is used to playing winning football from his time with the Green Bay Packers, but even that took some time to build up.
Patience is key and Adams is hoping that it will continue to be shown with Ziegler and McDaniels, in their first season as general manager and head coach of the franchise.
“You look at the history of this place, I mean, I don’t think a playoff game has been won in over 20 years here,” Adams said, referencing the AFC Championship Game that the Raiders won in 2003, their last postseason victory. They have played in only three playoff games since; the Super Bowl two weeks later, a wild-card game in 2017 against the Houston Texans and last season’s wild-card game against the Cincinnati Bengals, who snapped a three-decade playoff winless drought.
“There’s no magic coach that’s going to come in and change that,” Adams added. “And I think that Josh is doing a great job and he does deserve that, in my mind. We can all be better in certain instances but some of the greatest coaches that this league has seen had some tough times and I’m sure they didn’t all come out the block sprinting like Usain Bolt, starting their career off, or starting with a new organization. So, I think it’s a good move by [Davis] doing that. It’s good for Josh, good for the rest of the guys, too.”
Knowing that there won’t be any changes made, hopefully, helps the players relax and get things back on track. Las Vegas has done a lot of losing this season, as they have already had two losing streaks of three games.
While a playoff appearance may not be in the cards this season, it would do a lot for the franchise going forward if the Raiders were able to build some positive momentum in the second half of the season and turn things around to make 2022 a respectable campaign.