Following their decision to reboot after a playoff berth, the Raiders are 2-6. While the other first-year AFC West coach has drawn rampant scrutiny and generated one-and-done rumors, Josh McDaniels is not believed to be in the boat in which Nathaniel Hackett resides.
McDaniels is not viewed as a hot-seat occupant, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson (Twitter link) and Jonathan Jones. Famously fired during his second season in Denver 12 years ago, McDaniels has become somewhat of a polarizing presence — largely due to his decision to spurn the Colts in 2018 — since initially leaving the Patriots for the Broncos. His first Raiders stretch has not generated much success. McDaniels, 46, is now 13-23 as a head coach.
Jon Gruden‘s forced resignation led to interim HC Rich Bisaccia helming a resurgent 2021 Raiders team to the playoffs. While Mark Davis interviewed Bisaccia for the full-time job, they became the latest team to give the keys to ex-Bill Belichick lieutenants. McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler authorized several extensions this offseason. Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller each reupped with the team, which traded first- and second-round picks for Davante Adams, who received a then-record-setting extension. This Raiders edition entered the season as a top-heavy operation; this situation was viewed as a multiyear retooling project. But the early returns have generated speculation regarding McDaniels’ future.
Despite the Raiders blowing three 17-plus-point leads this season, a source informed Jones the Raiders are a better-managed coaching staff compared to the Gruden period. That said, the team has taken steps back defensively under McDaniels hire Patrick Graham, who was on the HC radar, and has been inconsistent offensively. The Raiders rank 28th in both total defense and points allowed; the franchise has not ranked in the top half in points allowed since 2002. Las Vegas’ defense did rank 14th in total defense and 17th in DVOA last season.
Only 13 coaches have been one-and-dones this century. Hackett walked into a situation with slightly higher expectations, due to the Russell Wilson trade. The 3-5 Broncos’ struggles, with the first-time HC at the center of them, have led to those one-and-done rumors. McDaniels is on a four-year contract, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). Cutting off his stay at one season would be a chunk of guaranteed money for Davis, not one of the league’s richer owners, to eat.
Las Vegas was connected to making buyer’s trades before last week’s deadline, but they have lost two games since that report emerged. The second part of McDaniels’ first season will move to evaluation, with the longtime Patriots OC’s offense on the complicated side. Judging how players progress in that scheme will be paramount to the Raiders’ future, if Davis is keen on giving the coach another chance. Most owners take this route. It should be expected McDaniels will be given the 2023 season to establish himself in Vegas, but the heat will be turned up — especially if his first season stays on this course.