As much as I’ve bashed Josh McDaniels over the past calendar year or so, all my criticism has been a little hyperbolic. Like, surely he can’t be serious with how stubborn, egotistical and flat-out stupid he’s painted to be by myriad insider reports.
…Somehow it’s worse than we ever imagined. McDaniels essentially dragged along one of his poor New England lackeys, GM Dave Ziegler, to Vegas so he could have a yes-man in place. Josh McDaniels doesn’t have time for productive dialogue. He’s as set in his ways as Bill Belichick, and we see how that’s worked out for both gentlemen in their various tenures without Tom Brady.
Sorry this is taking so long to build up. Worth it, I promise. You see the headline. According to a report by Sports Illustrated‘s Hondo S. Carpenter Sr. — dope name, by the way — McDaniels was “hellbent” on Jimmy Garoppolo as his starting QB. Ziegler was trying to tell him, “Dude, you are such an idiot. Jimmy G gets hurt all the time, is in no way the long-term answer at that position, and we should totally trade up to draft C.J. Stroud, who I view as a generational talent.”
“Josh wanted nothing to do with that plan… Bill loved Garoppolo, so that meant he would. He was hellbent on Jimmy G, and despite all of the health issues that he had and Dave’s incessant warnings that it was a mistake, Josh got his way.
Ziegler loved then-Assistant General Manager Champ Kelly, an excellent evaluator and talent. More important to Ziegler was that Kelly wasn’t a yes-man. He was a true team player with a strong voice, and Ziegler respected him. Evaluating all of the quarterbacks in the draft, Ziegler loved Stroud.
‘Dave felt he was a generational talent, and Kelly loved him. Z had done his research,’ a source said. ‘He knew the cost to move up to No. 1 and even No. 2.’He felt the cost was cheap, and he was willing to do almost anything that didn’t include Maxx Crosby. He and Josh agreed that the price of No. 1 was too high, but Z wanted to move up to No. 2 and grab Stroud.
He could have made the deal. He also knew Stroud would allow McDaniels to show the fans and the owner that an identity would be established. Josh was willing to move up for Bryce Young, but as expected, he went No. 1, and Stroud to the Raiders had long been dead.”
OF COURSE Josh McDaniels would only be willing to move up for Bryce Young. You know why? Because Belichick’s best coaching buddy and fellow insufferable sad-sack misanthrope Nick Saban coached him in college.
The lack of imagination that McDaniels has outside of scheming up offense is as fascinating a phenomenon as there’s been in professional football. What a laughingstock he is. Raiders fans had to go from the Jon Gruden scandal to this, and it was so bad that Gruden might actually be coming back!
Gruden is already being paid by Las Vegas perpetuity. Might as well bring Chucky on home. Even though he had his say over personnel and pretty much nuked the roster with a former TV personality Mike Mayock as his GM. Funny how history repeats itself. I wonder if Mark Davis and the Raiders will learn from it at all.
But yeah. We all know what actually happened in the 2023 draft. Las Vegas stuck at No. 7 overall and were content to roll with Jimmy G at QB, so they drafted Texas Tech EDGE Tyree Wilson, who came in with a foot injury and has gotten off to a slow start to put it in the kindest terms possible. Again, it sure seems like everyone but McDaniels was in lockstep about moving up for a certain Ohio State quarterback.
Some really good stuff in here on the Josh McDaniels/Dave Ziegler dynamics.
True that the former GM and his personnel department loved CJ Stroud. If they were trading up, that's who it was for. When it became clear McDaniels wanted Bryce Young, there was no deal. https://t.co/URtOzrVsKw
Stroud was selected second overall by the Houston Texans. That pick was made by New England expat Nick Caserio, no less. Surely he’s a friend who could’ve maybe worked out a deal if the Raiders could meet a reasonable asking price. Then, Houston could’ve traded up from 12 to third anyway like they did to acquire Will Anderson Jr. Rather than taking Anderson, the Texans could’ve spent that pick on Anthony Richardson or Will Levis if they still wanted a QB and missed out on Stroud.
Obviously Stroud is having one of the best rookie seasons we’ve ever seen from a quarterback. As for the Raiders? Jimmy G got injured early, and even after missing multiple starts, he still led the NFL in interceptions at the time of his benching in favor of rookie mid-round pick Aidan O’Connell. How did McDaniels respond to that whole situation? About as well as you’d expect.
“There was anger throughout the franchise when McDaniels failed to adapt his system to what the rookie had been prepared for. That stubbornness to the ‘process’ cost the Raiders what many thought was a ‘winnable’ game against the Los Angeles Chargers.”
Absolute. Clown show.
You might be saying, “This is a Dave Ziegler propaganda hit piece on McDaniels” or something. Hondo shot that down. I trust him.
Other revelations in this report include how McDaniels feared failure after his personally traumatic implosion in Denver when he was first a head coach. Then, how about this from an anonymous player about how much of a delight McDaniels was to be around — even when things were going semi-OK.
“That f—king process sh-t doesn’t work if you can’t enjoy this. It’s a f—king game, man. None of us like people who play this simply for the money. We are risking our lives with CTE and injuries, and sh-t. This is a kid’s game. Enjoy it. I like Josh, but I don’t think he loves this game. He has no fun.”
You don’t say! Josh McDaniels not having any fun!? I would’ve never thunk it.
Reading this whole thing was such a cathartic experience. It confirmed everything I ever thought about Josh McDaniels, and it turns out, the rabbit hole went even deeper than I gave him credit for. Maybe McDaniels can hitch his wagon to an elite QB and be an offensive coordinator in a couple years when he has some time to decompress and find the joy in football.
Then again, when you flop this badly twice as a head coach and get such poor reviews on how you carry yourself, lead men and teach the sport, your employment prospects will be scarce.
Oh well. Right? Having some knowledge of how McDaniels operates, he’s probably not sweating it. He has years worth of salary the Raiders still have to pay out. Good for him. Living the dream.