Déjà vu: Josh McDaniels is failing as a head coach, again

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Sporting Tribune's W.G. Ramirez says he understands why Josh McDaniels is now the 2-1 favorite to be the first NFL coach fired.

LAS VEGAS — Josh McDaniels is 18-30 as a head coach.

In fact, since a 6-0 start to his head coaching career 14 years ago, he’s lost 30 of 42 games.

Suffice it to say, there were plenty of Las Vegas Raiders fans who woke up Monday convinced his 49th game isn’t necessary.

After seeing how the second-year coach handled the now well-publicized fourth and 4 on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 8-yard line with 2:22 left during Sunday’s 23-18 loss, Raider Nation is not happy.

“Fire McDaniels” was trending on the app formerly known as Twitter, and he’s now the 2-1 favorite to be the first NFL coach fired this season at offshore sportsbook BetOnline.

For me, a betting man who would grab the +200 if not for an ethical decision as someone who covers the team, it goes beyond the lack of confidence McDaniels seemingly had in an offense led by his handpicked quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know, he adamantly denied the notion that electing to go for a field goal at that moment Sunday meant he didn’t have confidence in his offense. But he also went on to explain how Garoppolo needs to make better decisions rather than throwing three interceptions, and how the entire running game isn’t working and that’s why reigning NFL rushing champ Josh Jacobs isn’t performing up to snuff.

To be honest, which McDaniels should have been, nobody would’ve blamed him if he had simply said, “At that moment, no, I didn’t have faith in the offense.”

Who knows, maybe his players would’ve had more respect for him since they knew the truth – and felt it.

Star wide receiver Davante Adams surely wasn’t happy after the game, sharing his frustration with a throng of media members.

“We’re not doing the things the right way to establish a winning culture early in the season, so we gotta do something to turn that around,” Adams said.

Isn’t it possible one of the league’s best receivers foresaw something like this? I mean, Adams was quoted in May as saying he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the Raiders coaching staff.

More recently, wasn’t it troubled defensive star Chandler Jones saying he didn’t want to play for the team as long as McDaniels is the coach and Dave Ziegler is the general manager?

Jones has clearly shown signs of potential mental health issues, but that doesn’t mean the 11-year veteran doesn’t have legitimate issues with how things are being handled in the higher ranks at Raiders headquarters.

Last season, after the embarrassing loss to the Indianapolis Colts with Jeff Saturday making his head coaching debut, former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr became emotional when asked about a potential disconnect between him and the coaching staff.

Say what you want about Carr, who spent nine years as the franchise’s quarterback, but he’s always been loyal to the Raiders and on that day stood by McDaniels despite it being quite obvious the coach didn’t have confidence in the then-face of the franchise.

This is all so reminiscent of conversations I’ve had with former Broncos players who were in Denver when McDaniels arrived in 2009 and witnessed him come into the team facility and single-handily alienate many of the veterans while attempting to turn Englewood, Colorado into Foxborough of the Rockies.

Remember when McDaniels was introduced as coach of the Raiders in January of 2022?

“I didn’t really know people and how important that aspect of this process and maintaining the culture and building the team was. I failed, and I didn’t succeed at it,” McDaniels said that day, about his 28-game tenure with the Broncos.

Déjà vu.

The only difference from my vantage point, since his days in Denver and now in Las Vegas, is he’s taken his time to alienate his players rather than coming in and doing so from the jump.

Perhaps we should have taken it as a sign when no Raiders players attended McDaniels’ introductory presser in the team auditorium. Not a one, after several team leaders openly campaigned for former interim coach Rich Bisaccia to get the job.

The culture under Bisaccia, during a tenuous season that had troubling off-field distractions but saw the team reach the postseason, was much better than it is now. The players rallied together and bonded. They had nothing but love and admiration and respect for the guy calling the shots from beneath the headphones.

Now, it seems they simply have nothing for the new guy.

Once again, McDaniels is failing, and isn’t close to succeeding at maintaining a culture or building a team the late Al Davis would appreciate.

At +200, I fully understand those betting on McDaniels to be the first NFL fired this season.