Interim head coach Antonio Pierce made his presence known in the Las Vegas locker room yesterday as he took over the team as the head coach. The former New York Giants linebacker and Las Vegas Raiders linebackers coach has been thrust into a leadership role. As we saw Josh McDaniels leave, Antonio Pierce is ready to win.
Pierce brings an intensity and a drive to a team that has been lacking it since the start of the season. He also said a few things that stood out to me in his press conference yesterday.
When asked about his personality and how he approached the team this morning, Pierce didn't hold back.
"We had a good team meeting this morning, had a full house, and I think I got everybody's attention and I had their eyes. I'm not a long-winded person. I'm not going to give you a dialogue or write an essay. I get right to the point. It's black and white. You know how I feel when I walk out the door. I've been around these guys for two years now as a linebacker coach, and I made my presence known both in the linebacker room, the defensive line room, the quarterback room, the running back room. I'm a former player. I touch former players. I can relate to them. I've done the same things they've done. I walked the same paths they walked. I felt the same pain they felt. So there's nothing or any emotional ride or roller coaster that they haven't gone through this year or the two years I've been with them that I haven't felt. My personality will come out and reflect on this team. Hopefully, we see that on Sunday. "- Antonio Pierce
A smile hit my face as I wanted to run through a brick wall for this man. Pierce was known for his intense playing style and his ability to get the players around him motivated to win. Pierce played for the Giants when they were underdogs against Tom Brady and the Patriots boasting one of the best defensive showings in Super Bowl history.
The middle linebacker was in his second year and recorded 139 tackles as the Giants defense harassed Tom Brady all day long leading to their Super Bowl victory. Pierce knows what it takes to win and understands this team.
He also asked that the leaders of the team step up and help him get the mind right of the team:
"We talked about that last week as a team. And a couple guys brought that up that's been here. They've been through this. They understand what it's like, a coaching change in the middle of the season. And I'm relying on our leaders to lead. I'm coming in here with the game plan. This is the picture we're trying to paint. But they've got to carry it throughout. The best teams that I've ever been on as a player or as a coach, player ran. Player ran, bottom line. Davante knows what it is. Maxx Crosby knows what it is. Robert Spillane knows what it is. Our captains and leaders know what it takes. They've got to go out there and do it, and they've got to carry that message to make sure that resonates and we block out all of this outside noise, because we're going to get some over the next 72-plus hours. And it's us against the world. That's our mentality right now, us against the world, Raider Nation against everybody else. "- Antonio Pierce
Antonio Pierce has a tall task with the Raiders
This season, the Raiders have been one of the worst teams and while on paper their record is 3-5, they are the worst 3-5 team in the league so far this season. The defense has been playing badly, the offense, despite having Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs on it, has struggled and has refused to adapt.
Pierce brings an intensity we haven't seen in the Raiders locker room in a long time, since maybe Jack Del-Rio, who I'd argue was fired way too early. Pierce won a Super Bowl as a player and understands what it takes to win and knows how to motivate the team and Raider Nation.
Mark Davis should take a good look at the team and if at the end of the year, the players are playing well, give Pierce the full-time job and allow him to take control of the team. Pierce showed what kind of personality he has and what he expects and is ready and willing to make those sacrifices to win.
As the Las Vegas Raiders move on from a very bad coaching staff, we at least have a head coach who understands what it takes to win and understands the players as he was one.