Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler do not have the cache to make the decision on Derek Carr’s replacement
By now you have surely heard the news that Derek Carr is being benched for the last two games of the 2022 season. The company line from Josh McDaniels is that this will give the Raiders a chance to evaluate a young QB in Jarrett Stidham and perhaps even Chase Garbers against top-tier competition.
That reasoning doesn’t hold up too well considering the Raiders have a franchise QB in Carr and if Stidham was good enough to be a starter he would have earned that right elsewhere. What the Raiders are in fact doing is tanking the rest of the season to improve their first-round pick which is currently 9th overall to make it easier to replace Carr.
Whether that is the right thing to do or not is not the issue at hand because there are arguments to be made on either side. The issue is that neither Josh McDaniels or Dave Ziegler have not earned the right to be given the keys to this franchise and decide its direction for the next 5-10 years.
Raiders may have made a mistake with McDaniels
Nearly all of the personnel decisions that McDaniels and Ziegler have made this year have been failures with just a few exceptions. They decided not to pick up Josh Jacobs’ fifth-year option and he is playing his way into a massive long-term deal or at least a franchise tag in 2023.
Big free agent signings Chandler Jones and Anthony Averett have been flops and none of their draft picks have made much of a difference this year.
We can give them credit for trading for Davante Adams but he had his heart set on moving to Las Vegas and playing with Carr so it didn’t matter who the GM or coach was of the Raiders. The move to trade for Rock Ya-Sin was a half-positive as they got a solid cornerback but traded away a good situational pass rusher in Yannick Ngakoue to do so.
The duo also seemed to decide that the offensive line and interior defensive line were not an issue despite fans and analysts yelling from the rooftops that both would be reasons that this team fails. The offensive line has been a patchwork unit that has done better than expected but there have been several games where they were totally outmatched and held the offense back, most notably in Week 1 against the Chargers and last week against the Steelers.
While the offensive line has done OK, the defensive line has been an abject failure as the Raiders rank 30th in the NFL with 25 sacks despite having a DPOY candidate in Maxx Crosby. They have allowed the highest QB rating in the NFL and are near the bottom of the league in every pass-defense category.
Rush defense is one of the rare things they are good at but why would offenses run on the Raiders when throwing against them is so easy?
Apart from personnel decisions, Josh McDaniels has not proven that he is a competent NFL coach this season. His appointment came with plenty of questions about his tenure with Denver and how he failed there and he has not done much to prove he is a better coach. The Raiders have blown 3 score leads 4 times this season and the lack of halftime adjustments have been a sore spot all year.
A win-loss record is not the most important stat without context, but a 17-26 record does not inspire much confidence in his abilities as a leader of men.
There has not been much evidence to suggest that either Josh McDaniels or Dave Ziegler are capable of making the right personnel decisions to guide this team and build for the future. The Raiders will almost certainly have a top-8 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft but Raider Nation should have very little confidence that they will make the right decision despite Mark Davis seeming to believe in the not-so-dynamic duo.