Josh McDonald’s, er, McDaniels should be fired.
And, truth be told, the Freudian slip actually fits, because McDaniels has turned the Las Vegas Raiders into a clown show. The case against McDaniels, in his first year at the helm with the Raiders, is both long and convincing.
On Sunday, the Raiders, in a must-win game to save their season, lost to the Indianapolis Colts at home. The Colts have been so bad that they fired their head coach a few days ago and hired Jeff Saturday.
Saturday — who was working for ESPN as an analyst — had no previous coaching experience in college or pro. He coached high school, if that counts.
This was supposed to be the lock of the season. It seemed nearly impossible that McDaniels, the smartest guy in the room — or so we are told — would lose an important game to a novice. The Colts jumped out to a 10-0 lead and won, 25-20.
There’s more. The Raiders are 2-7 on the season. Season over. It’s been a bad dream the whole way, to say the least. This season alone, McDaniels’ Raiders have blown three leads of 17 points or more and lost all three games.
McDaniels, the former New England Patriots offensive coordinator, has now lost 24 of his last 31 games as a head coach.
In his career, McDaniels — who also coached the Denver Broncos — is 13-24. It’s a bad record when you remember that he started his head coaching career winning his first six games with the Broncos.
And let’s not forget that he was also caught cheating, videotaping an opponent’s signals. He was fined by the NFL and eventually fired by Denver.
Somehow, he was forgiven by the decision-makers because he keeps getting offered jobs around the league.
Still, this is unforgivable. We get it, The Raiders have some injuries. They should have won this game.
After the game, RaiderNation was chanting “Fire McDaniels” and threw beer on the field.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was emotional at the press conference and fought back tears, probably in an attempt not to laugh at what his team has become since McDaniels arrived. With as poorly as the Raiders have looked this season, most have probably forgotten that they actually made the playoffs last season. After the Jon Gruden mess — which forced him to resign as coach — Las Vegas rallied behind interim coach Rich Bisaccia. Owner Mark Davis wanted a big name, a guy who came with an impressive coaching pedigree.
The only issue is that Bill Belichick’s coaching tree hasn’t grown much fruit. Few have had real success on their own as a head coach.
McDaniels might be Exhibit A.
In losing to the Colts, think about all this. Not only was this Jeff Saturday’s first game coaching. He also had a newly promoted play-caller who got the gig mid-week. And against McDaniels, that duo put up 415 total yards and 6.9 yards per rush.
A year ago, the Raiders were 7-2 in one-score games. This season with McDaniels at the helm, they are 0-6. McDaniels’ fingerprints are all over this mess. There’s no denying it.
Often, some of the best coaching jobs are when a coach alters his style to match the talent he has to work with. In this case, it feels like McDaniels wants the players to play his style whether their talents are suited for it or not. All-Pro receiver Davante Adams is proof positive. He came over from Green Bay in a huge blockbuster trade and got paid handsomely. But too many times, he’s been an afterthought in the offense.
A few weeks ago against the Saints, Adams had one catch for three yards. Seems nearly impossible. But it happened.
It was also fitting that it was the Colts who delivered the nightmare loss to McDaniels. Don’t forget that he left the Colts at the altar in 2018, backing out of a deal to become their coach at the last minute.
In the end, the only things missing from this truly job-losing debacle were a big red nose and floppy shoes. This isn’t funny anymore. McDaniels’ act should be done for good.