Ex-Player Rips Raiders for Hiring Antonio Pierce in Rant

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Las Vegas Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce.

The Las Vegas Raiders have received rave reviews from current and former players for the hiring of Antonio Pierce as head coach. He went 5-4 in the interim role during the 2023 season and impressed many with his leadership ability.

However, being the full-time head coach is much different than being the interim head coach. Pierce is now responsible for the future of the team. While many believe he’s up to the task, former NFL linebackers-turned-ESPN-analyst Emmanuel Acho explained why he has major reservations about the decision.

“Sixth grade, Mr. McKenna, my favorite substitute teacher is a math teacher,” Acho said on the January 19 episode of “SPEAK.” “My regular math teacher, he got sick. Mr. McCarran came in and it was fun. He was different. He found a better way to teach things. It was great. But then the teacher who got sick, he moved on, never taught again and Mr. McCann became the permanent teacher. He wasn’t my favorite no more because jokes got tiresome after a while, those lesson plans got tiresome after a while, he became more agitated because now you’re no longer the substitute.

“So the expectations were higher. There became a lot more expectations of Mr. McCarran and all of a sudden what he was once great at just being a substitute … when he became the permanent he wasn’t that great anymore. Why the belief in Antonio Pierce, who now has to be the permanent teacher, he’s no longer to substitute? Now he’s a permanent head coach. Now he’s responsible for the roster. So if the roster don’t look good, it’s on him. Now he’s responsible for offseason team activities. So the team that starts the season great, it’s on him. Now we won’t look at 5-4 glowingly. We’ll look at 5-4 as a disappointment that’s on him. Why the confidence that this will last and it won’t just be nine games because now your expectations real high?”


Antonio Pierce Needs to Get off to Hot Start

Emmanuel Acho does bring up some good points. The level of responsibility Antonio Pierce is going to have is much greater than it was in 2023. He’s going to have to make really tough decisions and he’ll be the one everybody is looking to.

Now, there’s no better audition for a coach than to actually be put in the position. Pierce performed well and helped save a team that looked like it was about to fall apart. 5-4 isn’t anything to write home about but it was an improvement following a 3-5 start. The problem facing Pierce is that he might not get the benefit of the doubt if the 2024 season gets off to a rough start.

It’s going to be very important for him to start off well or it won’t take long for questions about whether or not the Raiders made the right decision to creep in.


Did Las Vegas Raiders Make a Mistake?

The Raiders didn’t have much of a choice but to hire Antonio Pierce. The fans wanted it and the players wanted it. Star defensive end Maxx Crosby went so far as to suggest he’d consider asking for a trade if Pierce wasn’t retained.

That doesn’t mean Pierce isn’t the right guy. He clearly knows how to get the most out of players and he’s willing to admit what he doesn’t know. If he can put together a good and experienced coaching staff, it’s easy to see him having a ton of success. The Raiders have tried going after big names before and it didn’t lead to much winning. Pierce is an out-of-the-box hire but that could be what the team has been needing.

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