Raiders interim HC Antonio Pierce - Stud
Antonio Pierce is now 2-0 as head coach of the Raiders and is gearing up for a very tough stretch over the next few weeks. The cynical Raiders fan may say that the Raiders beat two bad teams under Pierce, but they also lost to some very bad teams under Josh McDaniels, and looked listless as well.
Under Pierce, the Raiders have looked fast, loose, and aggressive for the first time in a very long time. He clearly understands what it means to be a Raider, and he’s trying to firmly establish an identity for this team. If you are a long time reader of this column, then you know how many times we criticized Josh McDaniels, for not establishing a consistent identity during his tenure.
For better or worse, the Raiders are becoming a Smash Mouth football team that relies on a powerful running game and strong defense to win games. We will see if this approach is good enough to propel them to the postseason, but after 10 weeks, they are at .500 and firmly in the mix for a wildcard spot.
There was one curious decision that Pierce made late in the game that we can criticize and appreciate at the same time. Piers showed throughout the game that he was not afraid to put the ball in Aidan O’Connell‘s hands in big situations, but the decision to run the ball on third and five with a minute to go was questionable.
We understand the logic that a completed pass in the first down would end the game but O’Connell nearly threw an interception while under pressure which would’ve put the Jets in Raiders territory immediately. With such a young quarterback, we would have preferred that the Raiders run the ball to force the Jets to use their final time out and go the length of the field in under a minute.
It worked out in the Raiders favor as Zach Wilson’s Hail Mary attempt fell harmlessly to the turf, but it was unnecessary drama based on a needlessly aggressive decision.