After yet another embarrassing loss for the Las Vegas Raiders, coach Josh McDaniels finds himself running out of answers. The team’s latest defeat, a blowout against the division rival Kansas City Chiefs, has exposed the glaring shortcomings of McDaniels’ coaching style and strategic decisions.
Since taking over as the head coach of the Raiders, fans and analysts had high hopes for McDaniels, given his impressive track record as an offensive coordinator. However, as the losses pile up, it’s becoming evident that his tenure with the team has been riddled with poor decision-making and an inability to make necessary adjustments.
One of the most concerning aspects of McDaniels’ coaching is his team’s defensive performance. Game after game, the Raiders’ defense continues to struggle, allowing opponents to march down the field with ease. Despite the team’s considerable investments in defensive talents, McDaniels has failed to establish a strong defensive scheme or make the necessary adjustments during games.
Offensively, the team’s performances have been equally underwhelming. While the Raiders have shown moments of brilliance on offense, their inconsistency speaks volumes about McDaniels’ ability to create a cohesive game plan. In the latest loss to the Chiefs, the Raiders failed to capitalize on key opportunities, with McDaniels making questionable play-calling decisions throughout the game.
The inability to generate a consistent and effective running game has been a major concern for the Raiders under McDaniels’ leadership. Despite investing heavily in the running game, the team’s rushing attack has been lackluster, leading to an over-reliance on the passing game and increased pressure on quarterback Derek Carr.
With each painful loss, McDaniels finds himself facing more and more criticism from fans and analysts alike. The team’s lack of progress and inability to address key weaknesses are clear signs that McDaniels still has no answers to the team’s many problems. As the season progresses, it remains to be seen if the Raiders’ brass will make a coaching change or if McDaniels can turn things around before it’s too late.
CHICAGO — It must be frustrating to have to ask the same questions over and over again when you don’t know the answers.
For Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, there are two.
Why can’t you score points when you have Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs on your team?
Why does your team look unprepared in embarrassing losses?
The second doesn’t happen all that often, but it has been an issue often enough and came up again on Sunday after a 30-12 loss to a Chicago Bears team that left many for dead.
The Raiders scored three points in the first 47 minutes of the game, and their plucky defense lacked its usual strength, falling to 3-4.
McDaniels wasn’t a fan of the theory that his team wasn’t prepared.
“No, we had a chance to go out there and take the lead,” McDaniels said, pointing to the start of the game in which the Raiders forced a three-and-out and then drove down the field before Daniel Carlson missed a 41 . -field goal.
“I didn’t think we weren’t ready to play,” McDaniels continued. “The boys had energy and juice. We lost control of the line of scrimmage, and then we play the game backwards, and that’s not a formula that suits us.
“We have to figure out how to do that better.”
Last season, McDaniels lost to the Indianapolis Colts in what would be former center Jeff Saturday’s only win in eight games as interim coach. The Raiders also lost to a very bad Los Angeles Rams team that brought in Baker Mayfield three days after picking him off the street.
On Sunday, the Raiders took on Bears rookie Tyson Bagent, whose last start last season came in the Division II semifinals against Colorado School of Mines. He went 19-for-34 for 165 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and was sacked eight times that day in a 44-13 loss.
But the Orediggers from Golden, Colorado, tackled better than the Raiders on Sunday.
Bagent didn’t break a nervous sweat, leading three touchdown drives without turning the ball over and running for three first downs. The Bears never trailed and the game was not as close as the final score indicated.
How Bears QB Tyson Bagent led a complete, efficient performance in a rare victory
“We got punched in the mouth,” safety Marcus Epps said. “I’m disappointed, but we just have to get on with it. There is still a lot of football left.”
Safety Tre’von Moehrig, who had played well this season, politely declined an interview request.
Cornerback Marcus Peters in particular had a hard time on Sunday. He was punted on a 5-yard touchdown catch by D’Onta Foreman, making it 21-3 late in the third quarter. But at least he tried. There was a third-and-1 play earlier that drive where Peters made a short-arm tackle attempt and ended up patting Tyler Scott on the back before running for 6 yards and a first down.
The Raiders’ poor tackling may be more due to general manager Dave Ziegler’s moves over the past two years than the defensive coaches, and that’s been bothering McDaniels for a while.
“When you give up so many yards after contact… there were opportunities for us to push for a gain of one or two yards and we missed far too many tackles,” he said. “We tried to create a third-and-long to put pressure on the kid, but it never really worked.”
The Bears’ game plan took advantage of that by throwing short, mixing in some runs and hoping for the best. The Raiders wish they had such a good plan.
The best they could come up with was to throw Adams the ball as much as possible to shut him up, run Jacobs (11 carries for 35 yards) into the line of scrimmage and tell 37-year-old quarterback Brian Hoyer not to throw the ball to turn. ball passed.
Hoyer threw two interceptions and was probably lucky it wasn’t more when he recorded his first reads.
It turns out his winless record in his previous twelve NFL starts was no fluke.
Aidan O’Connell came in for garbage time and the rookie threw an interception and then a touchdown pass.
Adams has complained constructively about his lack of ball handling, and McDaniels/Hoyer threw him the ball seven times in the first quarter. They were short passes, and Adams caught five of them for 48 yards.
That box checked, Adams didn’t get another pass thrown his way until there was 3:22 left in the third quarter. He finished with seven catches (on 12 targets) for 57 yards.
“To keep all of this in check, we always try to get the ball to our best guys,” McDaniels said. “Sometimes the defense takes away those opportunities. Other times they don’t. Coincidentally, there were a handful of things early in the game where we had a chance to get him.
“Then they did some things with the reporting.”
Hoyer is clearly a rhythm passer; Late in the second quarter, he threw seven times to Jakobi Meyers in a span of 10 plays. Meyers, who had not touched the ball before, caught four for 33 yards, and the Raiders got on the board with a field goal.
McDaniels didn’t really consider making a quarterback change at halftime. And it’s entirely possible that fans overreacted to O’Connell’s preseason success and that Hoyer is a better quarterback.
In the loss to Bears, the Raiders made a mistake by starting Brian Hoyer and not turning to Aidan O’Connell
That’s probably not the case, but it wouldn’t have mattered who played quarterback on Sunday. The Raiders are averaging 16 points this season, and the defense has likely overachieved in the two recent home wins over the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots.
Sunday was a dose of reality, a familiarity the Raiders hoped they’d gotten past in Year 2 of the McDaniels/Ziegler era. They can lose to anyone and look terrible doing so, and they are even further away from being a playoff team than they were when the new regime arrived after a wildcard playoff appearance.
“It was football,” defenseman Maxx Crosby said. “We didn’t play well enough at any stage. … It was a shame. Everyone has to improve, players and coaches. It’s that simple.”
Just before Crosby got dressed and spoke to reporters, owner Mark Davis took a slow walk through the locker room to meet McDaniels. It happens after every game, but it didn’t seem like Davis would be a fun person to talk to. He’s doing his best to be patient with McDaniels and Ziegler as his WNBA team collects titles, but the wait can be painful.
Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to return next week and maybe they bounce back against the Detroit Lions, but the Raiders still seem like a rudderless ship waiting for the next big wave.
(Top photo: Charles Rex Arbogast / Associated Press)
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