Rejoice: Why Josh McDaniels’ Raiders Firing Was Long Overdue

Darren - November 2, 2023

Rejoice: Why Josh McDaniels’ Raiders Firing Was Long Overdue

Darren - November 2, 2023

The terrible Josh McDaniels ‘Era’ is finally over for the Las Vegas Raiders but it still ended too late for most fans. They still can’t believe team owner Mark Davis appointed the former Denver Broncos failure based on his track record. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t do anything right in Las Vegas and it simply can’t be argued that his firing was not long overdue.

In the end, they kept him because of his outrageous contract. But he placed the franchise in an untenable position because he was running them into the ground. Find out why Davis finally – and rightfully – pulled the trigger and fired McDaniels in addition to General Manager Dave Ziegler right here.

Sporting News

A Playoff Team

One of the shocking aspects of the McDaniels Era that’s easy to forget is that he inherited a playoff team. Yes, they scraped into the postseason in 2021 with a 10-7 record under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia after Jon Gruden was fired amidst a scandal that year. It was a foundation for them to improve the following season. In the end, that’s clearly not what happened (via ESPN).

Many Las Vegas fans wanted Mark Davis to give Bisaccia the full-time job. However, he opted to replace the interim head coach with McDaniels and paid the price. Then the popular Bisaccia left the Raiders and joined the Packers as their special teams coach. It immediately placed McDaniels under pressure he couldn’t live up to. And as the losses mounted, his firing became long overdue.

L.A. Times

The Davante Adams Deal

It could be said the Raiders made many mistakes with the Davante Adams signing. He was one of the highest-rated wide receivers in the sport when he left Green Bay. Ziegler and McDaniels traded two top picks to the Packers for the wideout and gave him an insane contract. This was a risky move as he was on the wrong side of 30, but he’s worth it if they could utilize him correctly..

But they couldn’t, or simply refused to. Adams also maintained a close relationship with his former Fresno State teammate and former Raiders starter Derek Carr. But then they traded Carr and installed McDaniels’ former Patriot co-worker Jimmy Garoppolo as a starter. It was a disaster from beginning to end and another reason why McDaniels’ firing is long overdue (via L.A. Times).

AP Photo

Breaking Jacobs

Even when McDaniels achieved something in Las Vegas, he managed to damage it. He turned Josh Jacobs’ career around after an ignominious start under Jon Gruden. The running back exploded into life against the odds last year, leading the NFL in rushing yards and earning an All-Pro selection. It was phenomenal and McDaniels deserved credit for his work.

CBS Sports

But then McDaniels and Ziegler ruined everything when they failed to reward Jacobs for his hard work. Instead, they placed him under the franchise tag and infuriated him in the process. He missed training camp, appearing sluggish in the new season as a result. Jacobs’ relationship with the front office broke down as well and his media appearances became increasingly terse (via Bleacher Report).

New York Times

Yet Another Belichick Protege

The Raiders arguably should have known what they were getting themselves into when they hired McDaniels as their head coach. He was one of Bill Belichick’s most trusted lieutenants and enjoyed two successful spells with the Patriots. But everyone who has come from the Belichick coaching tree has a garbage record outside of Foxborough.


Joe Judge failed to make the grade with the New York Giants as he took the franchise backward. Matt Patricia was an unmitigated disaster in Detroit. Bill O’Brien was arguably the most successful of his protegees but his time in Houston came to a dismal end as well (via Sportscasting).

Las Vegas Raiders

Record Collapses

McDaniels had the worst possible start to his Raiders career as they suffered a franchise record collapse. They took a 20-0 lead against the Cardinals and fans began to relax. Perhaps they had misplaced fears about the former Broncos’ failure. But then they suffered a humiliating overtime meltdown.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Meanwhile, McDaniels lost against Jeff Saturday’s Colts in yet another crushing blow. Remember, Saturday had never coached above the high school level before he controversially took the Indy job. McDaniels’ firing was long overdue because he is incapable of managing a head coach’s responsibilities (via Nevada Sportsnet).

Sporting News

The Chandler Jones Deal

The Raiders made another massive mistake when they handed troubled former Patriot Chandler Jones a massive $51 million extension. First, let’s caveat this by saying that neither McDaniels nor Ziegler could have known that Jones would again have serious personal problems, but it was possible. They couldn’t predict the future and that they’d cut the player.

Bleacher Report

That’s not why the deal was stupid but rather because they already had talent in Maxx Crosby. Meanwhile, Yannick Ngakoue was reliable on the other side of the line. Then they traded Ngakoue for the injury-prone Rock Ya-Sin. Jones became one of the worst free agents ever and affected the salary cap (via Heavy).


Exciting Options

One of the most obvious reasons why McDaniels’ firing was long overdue is because he has a history of failure. It was always a risk to appoint him after his nightmarish tenure in Denver. If the Raiders wanted to replace him, perhaps they could have done it during the offseason (via DAZN).


Ben Johnson won plaudits for reviving the ghost of Jared Goff. He would be an exciting candidate to revive the dynamic pieces in the Las Vegas offense. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s defensive coordinator Brian Flores would be interesting. Miami’s Frank Smith has also won acclaim over the past two seasons.

Sports Illustrated

Patriots Shadow

One of the biggest mistakes McDaniels made was to try and turn the Raiders into the Patriots with the proven-bad ‘Patriot Way.’ He indeed has a great record as an offensive coordinator with six Super Bowl rings to his name. But there was one key element that helped them to win those games and that name is Tom Brady.


Even now, Bill Belichick is trying to do the same things with Mac Jones and it’s not working. Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t Brady either or he’d still be in Foxborough. It’s a damning indictment on McDaniels that the Raiders failed to score 20 points in any of their eight games before he got fired in 2023 (via USA Today Sports).

AP Photo

Big Decisions Gone Wrong

Another major reason why firing McDaniels was a long-overdue decision is because he got all of the big moments wrong. We’ve already looked at some of these in detail and we’ll break down more. Individually, none of these are make or break on their own but together they’re horrendous.

The Cold Wire

McDaniels was like an alcoholic deciding that one drink is a good idea. His arrogance, poor choices, and lack of charisma made him one of the worst in the business. It’s likely that no team will give him the top job again because they can’t trust him. It may be a safe bet that he’ll return to New England, however (via The Ringer).


Player Discontent

Another significant reason why firing McDaniels was long overdue is because he lost the locker room. His players resented him and didn’t respect him. McDaniels faced an open attack on his authority from star receiver Davante Adams. The former Green Bay wideout openly admitted that he didn’t see ‘eye to eye’ on the team’s direction.

The Spun

He also slammed his helmet on the ground after a measly one catch in their most recent loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday night. This reflected badly on McDaniels because of his record. The coach has a history of spreading discontent every time he takes the hot seat. It’s difficult to lead if the players refuse to buy in to his plan (via ABC News).

Action Network

The Trade Deadline

For some reason, Davis waited until after the trade deadline to fire McDaniels and Ziegler. We’re not sure why he did this because this was a long-overdue decision. If they installed a new coach and GM earlier, they could potentially have done some roster reconstruction (via CBS Sports).

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Instead, Davis pulled the trigger nine hours after the deadline. Some analysts speculated that this became a point of contention between the trio. It’s easy to see why Davis would be reluctant to allow them to make more mistakes. But fans will wish that he did it during the offseason.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Renfrow Situation

Slot receiver Hunter Renfrow had a breakout season in 2021 as he set personal bests and earned his first Pro Bowl selection. The wideout knew that he was in for a fight for targets when the Raiders signed Derek Carr’s best friend, Davante Adams. But he still believed that his career was about to reach new heights.

Sports Illustrated

However, he had a disastrous 2022 as injuries took their toll. Then, rumors ignited that he didn’t fit into McDaniels’ plans and that they wanted to trade him. But the problem was that teams were unwilling to pay all of the guaranteed money in Renfrow’s ridiculous contract (via

Sports Illustrated

Too Bad To Keep

The reality was that financially speaking, Davis most likely didn’t want to fire McDaniels and Ziegler. It was a very expensive decision that will hang over the franchise for the next few years. In 2022, they signed their now-former head coach to a six-year deal worth about $10 million per season (via Sporting News).

Sporting News

This leaves them with an outrageous amount of dead money to deal with. The fully guaranteed contract means that they have a massive sum to hand out. It’s the easiest cash that McDaniels will ever make because he doesn’t have to do anything. This was long overdue but that’s because it was a bitter pill to swallow.


That Brutal Chicago Loss

This will haunt McDaniels for the remainder of his coaching career. The Raiders entered this game as favorites against another downtrodden franchise in the Chicago Bears. One of the stories of the game was Tyson Bagent, a former Division II quarterback, who led three touchdown drives. The undrafted player humiliated Las Vegas with his confident display.

NBC Sports

The Raiders had quarterback problems of their own as former Patriot Brian Hoyer replaced the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. However, he had three interceptions including a costly pick-six as Aidan O’Connell sat watching. McDaniels received criticism for not throwing his rookie into the fray (via AP News).

CBS Sports

History Repeats Itself

We already spoke about McDaniels’ horrible record in Las Vegas. However, there’s nothing new about this because the same thing happened during his short Denver tenure. His first foray as an NFL head coach was a complete failure as he went 11-17. He also had a notorious cheating scandal as he followed his mentor Bill Belichick’s footsteps.


Meanwhile, McDaniels achieved the unwanted record. He became the first head coach of the Super Bowl era to lose his job before reaching the end of the second season with two teams. This says plenty about McDaniels and why firing him was long overdue (via Las Vegas Review-Journal).


Carr Conundrum

McDaniels and Ziegler combined to make some horrendous decisions. First, McDaniels decided that he didn’t want Derek Carr on the team anymore. It’s fair to criticize Carr’s failure to become a top-five quarterback. But he remains a consistent player and was a respected figure in the locker room (via Pro Football Network).

Sports Illustrated

But then he brought in Jimmy Garoppolo on an expensive deal in a backward step for the franchise. Meanwhile, Ziegler infuriated Mike Davis because Carr’s recent contract extension allowed him to walk away without the Raiders receiving compensation. It was a mess on all fronts and another reason that firing them was long overdue.


Shocking Meltdowns

The Raiders suffered several shocking meltdowns during McDaniels’ ill-fated reign. They threw away five double-figure leads in the second half of games. McDaniels showed his inability to manage a game and see out a victory from a comfortable position. That’s why firing him was a must.

Meanwhile, we looked at his overall records as well as the teams they lost against. McDaniels failed to adapt when the momentum shifted in games. This was something that fans saw when he was in Denver too. He has a history of failure as a head coach despite his proficiency as a coordinator (via A to Z Sports).

SF Gate

The Field Goal

One moment that sums up McDaniels’ awful playcalling came against the Steelers in Week 3. The Raiders shocked everybody when they kicked a field goal down by eight points instead of going for a first down in the dying minutes of the game. This gave Pittsburgh the chance to run the clock down and seal the victory (via

Las Vegas Review-Journal

McDaniels attempted to justify his decision but he dug a hole for himself.  He explained: “You try to make it a five-point game where you have an opportunity to win it with the touchdown if you get the ball back. Or you try to go for it there. And then if you happen to convert, you’ve got to make the two-point conversion.”

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Jimmy G’s Regression

There are so many things wrong with Garoppolo in Las Vegas that it’s difficult to know where to start. He failed a physical before he signed his contract and required foot surgery. But they still brought him in despite knowing that he had problems because he was McDaniels’ ‘guy’.


Somehow, at the time of McDaniels’ firing, he led the league in interceptions with nine despite only playing in six games. This was one of the worst decisions of McDaniels’ short tenure because he was behind it. In the end, it was a complete disaster and one more reason why firing him was long overdue (via New York Post).

SacTown Sports

Empty Confidence

One of the clearest reasons why the Raiders fired McDaniels is because of his empty confidence. He continually insisted the team was getting better and showing signs of going in the right direction. However, reality painted a different picture and began to irritate Mark Davis.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Finally, he left the owner no choice even though it was long overdue in the minds of their fans. We’ve spoken already about McDaniels’ ludicrous contract as well as the money they poured into free-agent signings and extensions. In the end, they lost all confidence in McDaniels’ empty sense of confidence (via NBC Sports).