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The Las Vegas Raiders had a turbulent 2021 season, but with new leadership in the building, head coach Josh McDaniels believes the team’s new power structure can only lead to success.
The Raiders finished the season 10-7 overall, winning the last four of their games and finishing second in the AFC West behind the Kansas City Chiefs.
In mid-October, former head coach Jon Gruden resigned after articles were published detailing his reported use of “racist, homophobic, and misogynistic” terms in emails dating back to 2010. The 58-year-old Gruden was five games into the fourth season of a 10-year, $100 million contract with the franchise.
The Raiders hired McDaniels, the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator, as their head coach on Jan. 30.
McDaniels is joined in Las Vegas by fellow former Patriot and now Raiders GM Dave Ziegler. The first big coaching addition the two made for the team was the hiring of Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator, followed by Patriots WR coach Mick Lombardi as offensive coordinator.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that as the new Raiders coaching and personnel staff worked their first NFL Scouting Combine this week, they also continued building a working relationship.
Ziegler and McDaniels are tasked with taking a franchise on the border of consistent playoff contention to regular postseason success, and the two said they had to hit the ground running. McDaniels said there’s no time for a learning curve or to take steps backward.
“I don’t think in today’s NFL there’s really any time to do rebuilding anyway,” McDaniels said. “This certainly isn’t that type of situation for us.”
The Review-Journal reports the scouting combine provided a glimpse at the new power structure within the organization and how it is different from before.
Under Ziegler and McDaniels, the goal is to produce better results while guarding against some of the huge swings and misses the Raiders took under Gruden and Mike Mayock.
It helps the two have a decades-long friendship and working relationship allowing them to not only share the same football language and vision but also to have the space to respectfully disagree and find a way to compromise, the Review-Journal reports.
The GM holds the final say on personnel matters, and the Review-Journal reports that was on display Ziegler couched McDaniel’s declaration Derek Carr undoubtedly be the team’s starting quarterback in 2022 with a less constrictive response.
Ziegler and McDaniels communicated their plans on building the roster, learning about the team and each other and everyone’s personalities, whereas with Gruden, his approach could often be more “shoot-from-the-hip.”
So while they may not have time for a rebuild, it seems like the team has some pretty organized footing and a solid foundation heading into this.
Follow Meg Turner on Twitter @Megnturner_ and Instagram @Megnturner
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