It’s a new day for the Las Vegas Raiders with head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler both getting let go. While it remains to be seen if the team will be any better under interim head coach Antonio Pierce, early signs suggest the players are at least happy.
Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of the coaching change is wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. He had some comments that appeared to be throwing a bit of shade at McDaniels.
“There is a different energy,” Renfrow said during his November 2 media availability, via The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, who noted that the wide receiver had a big smile. “I think AP alluded to it, it’s fun when you have nothing to lose. Let’s go out there and have a great time and play hard and play fast.
“We’re not walking on eggshells everywhere.”
The implication of his comments is that players were having to walk on eggshells while McDaniels was the coach. Renfrow went from having 1,038 receiving yards and making a Pro Bowl to having 46 catches for 422 yards in 18 games under McDaniels. He was the subject of trade rumors recently but the Raiders decided to keep him. It’ll be interesting to see if his play improves now that the coach is gone.
Jermaine Eluemunor Offers His Thoughts
While some players are clearly happy about the coaching change, Josh McDaniels did bring in a lot of his former players from his days with the New England Patriots. Jermaine Eluemunor spent two seasons under McDaniels in New England but he couldn’t deny that things were going South in Las Vegas.
“It wasn’t a good vibe,” Eluemunor said, via Vic Tafur. “A lot of us were trying to create energy on the sideline, and I’m sure fans could see it.”
He noticed how different Detroit Lions players were in the Raiders’ Week 8 matchup.
“Dan Campbell brings that type of energy that everyone can get around,” he said. “The biggest thing about being a good head coach is the type of energy they have and how they lead men. I get the same vibe from [Antonio Pierce]. He is from an era when you work for everything you get, you put your hand in the dirt and beat guys up and take their will. And that’s what he wants this team to be about.”
McDaniels had a lot of success as an offensive coordinator but that wasn’t translating to the head coach position.
Las Vegas Raiders Have Better Energy
Whether or not Josh McDaniels truly lost the locker room is a moot point. He was never going to be a motivator but not every great head coach is. However, the Raiders have been a team that has clearly had bad energy all season.
Tight end Austin Hooper is already noticing a big difference in the locker room.
“The energy is good and I appreciate AP’s straight-forward type of leadership,” Hooper said, via Vic Tafur. “All we can do now is be professionals and follow him and take advantage of the opportunity. This is a different business than most. Everything happens, and you feel for Josh and Dave and their families, but we don’t have time to sit back and think about what went wrong and what could have been. This is a week-to-week business and we have the Giants on Sunday.”