NFL Hot Press: Mark Davis Regrets Coaching Moves

Mark Davis Regrets Coaching Moves

Updated Oct. 20, 2022
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

It has been a very tumultuous 12 months for the Las Vegas Raiders franchise, and the rough times have continued into the 2022 season. The chaos for the organization started when private leaked emails from 10 years earlier involving head coach Jon Gruden caused team owner Mark Davis to force Gruden’s resignation. Shortly later, emerging young wide receiver Henry Ruggs was responsible for a fatal car accident that ended his NFL career and has him facing the potential of serious prison time.

Despite those scandals last season, interim head coach Rich Bisaccia guided the Raiders to the playoffs. To make that even more impressive, the team was without its best player, tight end Darren Waller, for the majority of the second half of the season. The Raiders even almost managed to upset the future AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals in the opening round of the playoffs.

Despite it being the Raiders’ first playoff appearance in five years, Davis decided not to retain Bisaccia and the staff that had worked under Gruden, opting instead to hire Patriots offensive coordinator and former Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels. Patriots executive and McDaniels former college teammate Dave Ziegler was brought in as the general manager in Las Vegas, and the new regime made splash moves in free agency, trading a first- and second-round pick for Packers wide receiver Davante Adams and signing veteran defensive end Chandler Jones to a big contract in free agency.

The moves have not paid off sofar, as the Raiders are 1-4 and in last place in the AFC West. Statistically, Adams is producing, but he is also entrenched in a scandal after assaulting a photographer. Jones has been a massive bust, producing 12 tackles and zero sacks thus far in 2022.

Team sources told owner Mark Davis regrets the coaching moves he made during the past year. Obviously, Davis will not admit that publicly and will voice support for the current staff. However when asked about letting go of Bisaccia, team sources say there is more to it than that.

“Let’s go back a little further,” said a high-level team source. “He regrets letting Jon go, then regrets letting Rich go, [everything is] definitely out of sync.”

Currently, Las Vegas would have the No. 2-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. However, team sources are not optimistic about the organization’s decision-making considering the roster moves made since McDaniels was hired.

“McDaniels does not have a good record at drafting, so that’s not going to help,” said the team sources.

In McDaniels’ two drafts running the Broncos, he put together a disappointing haul despite two extra first-round picks from the Jay Cutler trade. McDaniels used first-round picks on running back Knowhon Moreno – 12th overall -, defensive end Robert Ayers – 18th overall – , wide receiver Demaryius Thomas – 22nd overall -, and quarterback Tim Tebow – 25th overall. Of those four selections, only Thomas panned out as expected.

While many have focused on struggling Broncos head coach Nathanial Hackett, McDaniels could find himself on a faster-than-expected hot seat in Las Vegas. One thing going for McDaniels is the financial limitations that Davis constrain, so he may not be willing to eat a big contract quickly. Regardless, team sources say Davis regrets pushing out Gruden and Bisaccia, and with the results on the field, it is easy to understand why.