As it gets further away from when the Las Vegas Raiders fired Josh McDaniels, more is being learned about the days leading up to his dismissal. After going 9-16 across his first season and a half with the team, it was clear players were getting frustrated.
That led to a meeting that may have sealed the coach’s fate, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“It goes back to last Thursday’s practice before the Lions loss,” Rapoport said of McDaniels’ firing on the November 5 episode of “The Insiders” on NFL GameDay. “McDaniels had just had a vicious team meeting. Players and coaches had ripped into him. It was ugly. They voiced their displeasure. Then at practice a couple of hours later, he was described as ‘not himself.’ … Players felt that he was there in body but not in spirit. Essentially, based on the sources I’ve spoken to, it broke him.”
It’s commendable that McDaniels would be willing to hold a meeting and accept those criticisms. However, it clearly didn’t have the desired effect. It seems to have only empowered his biggest critics on the team. Though owner Mark Davis was the one to make the final call on firing McDaniels, it appears the players made the decision for him.
What Was Discussed at Meeting?
Josh McDaniels is known as a head coach who is very involved with the details and likes to put in a lot of work. That doesn’t always sit well with players, especially when they aren’t winning. Ian Rapoport revealed what players and coaches complained to the head coach about during the meeting.
“Among the issues addressed: Overcorrecting, long meetings, the ways in which McDaniels attempted to hold players accountable and blaming players for issues with play-calling,” Rapoport wrote in a November 5 column for NFL.com.
At the end of the day, it appears that McDaniels would hold everybody accountable except himself. That’s never a recipe to get the players on your side.
For what it’s worth, it looks like McDaniels did take the shots on the chin and was willing to make adjustments.
“Another source close to McDaniels described him during Thursday’s practice as someone trying to listen to the players, not over-coaching, playing some music and letting it play out,” Rapoport wrote. “McDaniels was trying to do what they asked during the meeting. But the contrast in his behavior was so stark that one person present said he felt McDaniels wasn’t really there.”
It was just too little too late for McDaniels to make the changes halfway through the season.
One Major Decision May Have Been Josh McDaniels’ Undoing
The decision to sign Jimmy Garoppolo to a three-year contract may have really been what sealed Josh McDaniels’ fate. The veteran quarterback leads the NFL with nine interceptions and has already missed two games with an injury.
According to Ian Rapoport, McDaniels overestimated how Garoppolo was going to fit in his system.
“The signing of Garoppolo this past March to a three-year, $72.5 million contract was another mistake,” Rapoport wrote. “The biggest issue wasn’t necessarily the financial commitment. Sources say McDaniels overestimated the familiarity Garoppolo would have with his scheme with McDaniels assuming it would be seamless for Garoppolo, who began his career in New England with McDaniels as OC. But Garoppolo, who did not practice this spring following offseason foot surgery, struggled to adapt to McDaniels’ system.”
It’s very possible that McDaniels still has his job if he didn’t tie himself to Garoppolo.