Raiders fire head coach Josh McDaniels, general manager David Ziegler
The Raiders weren’t buyers or sellers at the trade deadline, but they did make a pivotal decision for the franchise’s future late Tuesday night.
Las Vegas has fired head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager David Ziegler, owner Mark Davis announced in a statement.
“After much thought about what the Raiders need to move forward, I have decided to part ways with Josh and Dave,” Davis’ statement read. “I want to thank them both for their hard work and wish them and their families nothing but the best.”
The Raiders later named Champ Kelly, currently in his second season as the team’s assistant GM, to the role of interim general manager. Kelly previously spent time in personnel and scouting with the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos.
The team has not yet named an interim head coach.
McDaniels and Ziegler were hired together following the 2021 season with the expectation that they would improve a Las Vegas roster that made its first trip to the postseason since 2016.
They were also meant to provide stability, as even with the success of a playoff berth by their predecessor, interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders were coming off a tumultuous year that included the resignation of Jon Gruden midseason.
Instead, the two oversaw a franchise that produced a 9-16 record through 25 games, including a 3-5 start to the 2023 season.
Davis’ decision comes in the aftermath of a 26-14 loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football in which McDaniels’ offense managed just 157 total yards. The defeat was the team’s second straight, stacked on top of a 30-12 demolition at the hands of the previously one-win Bears.
Those were the latest disappointments in a season that’s seen frustrations bubbling from many angles.
Ahead of the game against the Lions, McDaniels provided the players a chance to raise their issues during a Thursday meeting, according to NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero.
Stars like Josh Jacobs, Maxx Crosby and Davante Adams all spoke up, per Pelissero, but whatever fire may have been lit during that meeting did not carry over to the loss that ultimately made McDaniels and Ziegler the first head coach and GM to be fired this season.
Adams, especially, has served as a good barometer to measure the ongoing tensions in Las Vegas.
The three-time All-Pro joined the Raiders in McDaniels’ first season and went on to lead the league with 14 touchdowns while posting his second consecutive season with 1,500-plus receiving yards. He did so catching passes from his college quarterback, Derek Carr, whom McDaniels benched for the final two games of 2022 and let walk after nine seasons with the team.
Ziegler and McDaniels chose former 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to replace the longtime Raider, but his performance has been underwhelming along with the team’s thus far. Adams has suffered the consequences. He’s currently in a stretch of five straight games without a score and has just 142 yards on 14 catches in the last month of action.
And the offense overall — McDaniels’ specialty — ranks 30th in scoring and 31st in yards after finishing 12th in both in 2022.
It’s all added up to Davis taking a step to rectify the Raiders’ future on a Halloween night in Las Vegas, choosing action now over allowing McDaniels and Ziegler the chance to turn things around down the stretch.
The firing marks McDaniels’ second head-coaching tenure cut short before a full two years. He coached 28 games for the Broncos before his firing in Week 13 of 2010. This time, he lasted 25. For Ziegler, his termination comes a season and a half into his first stint as a general manager.
Davis’ choice to replace McDaniels in the interim will become the Raiders’ eighth head coach in the last 13 years, dating back to when Davis took over the team in 2011.
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