Andy Reid, Sean Payton and now Jim Harbaugh, those are the three head coaches the Las Vegas Raiders will have to face twice a season moving forward. Three coaches who have led their teams to Super Bowls, not just in the entire conference, but in the same division.
The AFC West takes a back seat to no one when it comes to coaching. One thing is for sure, Antonio Pierce will in no way scare away from this daunting challenge. Hence, a rationale case can be made that he is the fourth rated coach in his own division.
To his credit, he already beat the defending champions in their house and added Sean Payton to the hitlist as the season came to a close. Not to mention that he did it without Josh Jacobs and a rookie starter as his quarterback.
As for Los Angeles, they will unquestionably be better in 2024. Denver will have a new signal caller and Kansas City could be the repeat champions.
The quest for Pierce will be to find a more explosive offense to go with his championship defense. To do that he must obtain a franchise quarterback. The problem is that Aidan O'Connell is basically backup material only and the Raiders do not own a top five pick in the draft.
They will however have some extra cap room to spend once they dump Jimmy Garoppolo.
Raiders need to add a definitive answer at quarterback
The realistic options to improve the position are not completely out of reach, but it will cost some lofty capital. Another decision will be to upgrade the offensive line to protect their investment in that quarterback. Drafting and signing two or three guys has to be a plan Pierce has already been considering.
Hiring a top notch offensive coordinator is also a main priority. None of the candidates that have been interviewed have really been too inspiring, but most of the good ones are either employed already or just haven't been found.
That has to do with the fact that O'Connell is the only one who has a real future with the organization. Whomever gets the nod will have to command the offense and have a vision of how the unit will run with O'Connell or a new signal caller at the helm.
All of that adds up to one of the most important off-season's in Raiders history. The Chiefs Super Bowl windowing is not closing, L.A.'s is just opening and Denver is finally on the right path, as long as they get a gunslinger. As of now the Broncos pick one spot ahead of Las Vegas, so if the Silver and Black don't go all in on a quarterback, they could lose out to the Broncos and waste another precious oppurtunity of winning at a rapid pace.
With all that being considered, Pierce has a lot of work ahead of him, but he was well aware with the consequences of such a prestigious job. Time will tell if he can he outwork Reid, Harbaugh and Payton to lead the resurgence of the Raiders mystique.