The Las Vegas Raiders made some big moves late Tuesday, firing head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. Linebackers coach Antonio Pierce will step in as interim head coach. Champ Kelly, the assistant general manager, will handle the GM duties until the team hires a replacement.
At 3-5 on the season, it’s safe to say that the Raiders were not meeting expectations under McDaniels. The offense, supposed to be McDaniels’ specialty, has struggled mightily, failing to score more than 19 points in a single game this year and ranked in the NFL with a woeful average of just 15.8 points per game. Those numbers are especially troubling after the team spent big during the offseason to bring in offensive talent, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. They brought in Davante Adams last season in a blockbuster trade with the Green Bay Packers, signing him to a $141 million deal after the move.
“After much thought about what the Raiders need to move forward, I have decided to part ways with Josh and Dave,” team owner Mark Davis said in a statement.
The Raiders have a history of cycling through coaches. Over 20 years, they’ve had 12 different head coaches, the most in the NFL. McDaniels was hired in 2022, after Jon Gruden resigned from the position in 2021, his fourth season during that stint with the team, following the release of some emails in which Gruden made racist, misogynistic, and homophobic remarks in a conversation with former Washington general manager Bruce Allen.
Getting fired during his second season at the helm is now a pattern for McDaniels. A long-time assistant to Bill Belichick in New England, this was McDaniels’ second stint as a head coach. He briefly led the Denver Broncos from 2009 through 2010, when he was fired prior to the end of the season. During that disastrous run with the Broncos he was implicated in a video taping scandal, eventually fined $50,000 by the NFL for recording the San Francisco 49ers walkthrough practice prior to a game in 2010.
Las Vegas hired Ziegler along with McDaniels in 2022. He replaced Mike Mayock. Prior to joining the Raiders, Ziegler was the director of player personnel for the New England Patriots. Kelly interviewed for the same job with the Raiders at the time too, and the team decided to bring him on as an assistant. He’s been interviewed for a GM job by several teams over the years, and if he doesn’t stay with Las Vegas after this season, he’s bound to get some more interviews this spring.
The Raiders host the New York Giants on Sunday.