The Las Vegas Raiders made significant changes in their leadership approximately a month ago by parting ways with Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels. This move, orchestrated by Mark Davis, aimed to revamp the franchise’s direction following a series of disappointments. While the fanbase largely directed its frustration towards McDaniels, it appears that unwise personnel decisions, which have plagued the Raiders for years, were a collective failure in which Ziegler played a part.
According to a recent report from Hondo S. Carpenter Sr. of Raiders Today, Ziegler may have been unwittingly caught in the storm created by McDaniels despite their longstanding friendship dating back to their time with the New England Patriots. Despite Ziegler’s desire for collaboration, McDaniels quickly assumed control of football operations, leading to a strained dynamic. Sources suggest that McDaniels insisted on having things his way, steamrolling over Ziegler and contributing to the ambiguity in their relationship.
McDaniels, utilizing his influence within the organization, dictated key personnel decisions, most notably the selection of the quarterback during the last offseason. While the Raiders had expressed interest in C.J. Stroud, McDaniels reportedly pushed for the acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo, a favorite of Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Despite Ziegler advocating for trading up for Stroud, McDaniels’ determination prevailed.
This strict adherence to the ‘Patriot Way’ has proven detrimental, especially with the struggles of Garoppolo, who has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in 2023. The decision to bench him in favor of rookie Aidan O’Connell reflects the shortcomings of McDaniels’ choices. Despite warnings about Garoppolo’s health issues, McDaniels remained fixated on his preference, oblivious to the warning signs from the quarterback’s stint with the San Francisco 49ers.
Meanwhile, C.J. Stroud has emerged as a standout rookie, already locking up Rookie of the Year with a third of the season remaining. His impressive stats with the Houston Texans underscore what could have been for the Raiders. Instead, they find themselves in a challenging position with O’Connell, though promising, not established as the long-term solution.
McDaniels, already a subject of criticism for his coaching style and player relationships, now faces justified backlash for overriding the front office’s better judgment. The Raiders, instead of celebrating Stroud’s success, are navigating through the Wild Card race, aware of the need for a strategic offseason to rectify the quarterback situation. Stroud’s potential MVP votes as a rookie further emphasize the missed opportunity, leaving the Raiders with uncertainties as they approach a pivotal offseason.