The Las Vegas Raiders made a drastic decision by firing head coach Josh McDaniels, as well as general manager Dave Ziegler. After a loss to the Detroit Lions and numerous locker room issues, owner Mark Davis ran out of patience.
Antonio Pierce was named as the interim head coach, and Champ Kelly temporarily assumed Zeigler’s role. Their debut came with a resounding victory in Week 9 against the New York Giants.
However, according to a report by Adam Schefter, all the changes implemented would be very costly in the short term for the team. The information points out both dismissals would make the Raiders pay at least $85 million.
Why Josh McDaniels was fired by the Raiders?
In addition to the results, several reports suggest that Josh McDaniels lost the trust of his players. In one of the most surprising stories, it is said that McDaniels allowed Pierce to give a speech in the locker room that changed everything.
Antonio Pierce said that the Raiders should take the 2007 New York Giants as an example after they ended the Patriots’ undefeated season in the Super Bowl. When Josh McDaniels heard that, given his past with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, he told Pierce to never speak that way about New England again.
This episode was reporte by Jay Glazer. “When he finished up that speech, everybody thinks they’re great, except for Josh McDaniels. Josh McDaniels then goes over to him (Pierce) and says: ‘Don’t ever talk about the Patriots like that.’ And then you really saw how divided that building got.”
At that moment, many of the players turned their backs on McDaniels and made it clear to Mark Davis during a meeting. Following the loss to Detroit, the owner decided that it was time for a change, despite the financial implications.
“Unfortunately, I had great hopes for Josh and Dave. It just seemed we were going in the wrong direction. So, with the trade deadline, I just felt it was time to make a change, time to make a move.”
Jimmy Garoppolo was also part of the changes with the Raiders
That was the first major decision by interim coach Antonio Pierce, who chose rookie Aidan O’Connell as his starting quarterback. “It will be Aidan, going forward. We just feel like it gives us the best chance.”
Who is Aidan O’Connell?
Aidan O’Connell had a sensational game in Week 9 leading the Las Vegas Raiders to victory against the New York Giants. Now, in a shocking turn of events, they’re very much alive in the AFC playoff race.
O’Connellwas born on September 1, 1998, and had a standout collegiate football career with Purdue. Undoubtedly, 2021 was the year that brought him recognition, thanks to a season with 3712 yards and 28 touchdowns, which led to him displacing Jack Plummer, the previous starter.
In 2022, O’Connell once again posted impressive numbers with 3490 yards and 22 touchdowns. At the end of that season, the young quarterback decided to declare himself eligible for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Despite the Raiders signing Jimmy Garoppolo, Aidan O’Connell was selected by Las Vegas with the 135th overall pick in the Draft. This season, he had already started in the Week 4 game against the Chargers, in which they lost 24-17.
It seems like interim general manager Champ Kelly was right when he warned the NFL about the change. “The guys are rallying behind him. They’re excited to watch him get his opportunity. I was there as Antonio Pierce was speaking to the team and he had their eyes. There was an energy that was tangible in the room. There was a true excitement and guys are geared up to prepare for this weekend.”