Raiders coach Josh McDaniels leaving ‘Patriot Way’ behind

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Josh McDaniels is about to embark on his second stint as an NFL head coach, after being hired by the Las Vegas Raiders in January.

And as a former New England Patriots offensive coordinator, McDaniels will aim to find a level of success that Bill Belichick disciples — including himself — have often failed to reach.

McDaniels spent 14 total seasons with New England, and he was present in some capacity for all six of their Super Bowl victories during the Tom Brady–Belichick era. However, he isn’t interested in being a carbon copy of his former boss in his new role, however.

“I’m not Bill and I can’t be,” McDaniels told reporters. “I’m just going to try to be myself, and hopefully I can be a good leader for our team.”

In fact, McDaniels is mostly ecstatic about the job that his assistants are doing.

“I’ve been looking forward to an opportunity like this for a couple [of] years now, and I’m so blessed to have the staff that we have and the group that we have working and the support staff that we have around me,” McDaniels continued. “They make my job easy. I’m just trying to keep us on schedule and on time and those kinds of things, but I couldn’t say enough things about the staff here.

“I feel like I’ve learned a lot. I feel like it’s slowed down for me, for sure. Doesn’t mean anything at this point in time of the year, doesn’t have any bearing on what’s going to happen down the road, but definitely feel a comfort level now in terms of understanding what my role is and how to do it better.”

In McDaniels’ first stint as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator (2006-08), New England set a record for points scored and became the first team to win 16 regular-season games in 2007. He then left to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009 — a short-lived tenure that only lasted midway through the 2010 campaign. McDaniels returned to New England for a second stint from 2012 to 2021, where the Patriots won three Super Bowl titles (XLIX, LI and LIII).

In Denver, McDaniels put together an 11-17 overall record with no playoff appearances. He began his first year 6-0, punctuated by a 20-17 overtime win over Belichick and the Pats. However, the Broncos followed up that hot start with multiple four-game losing streaks, going 2-8 the rest of the way.

In McDaniel’s second year, the Broncos went 3-9 before he was fired.

“He’s trying to create a culture that is not the Patriot Way,” said Raiders safety Duron Harmon, a former New England safety who spent seven seasons under Belichick.

However, it appears McDaniels might not want to stray too far from the “Patriot Way.” Or at least, the “Belichick Way.”

Consider this: In Belichick’s first two seasons as a head coach — with Cleveland Browns in 1991 and 1992 — he went 13-19, after a 6-10 campaign in his first year and a 7-9 campaign in his second year.

He lasted three more seasons before being fired. 

In 2000, Belichick took over in New England. He went 5-11 in his first year before going 11-5 in his sophomore season, winning Super Bowl XXXVI alongside Brady.

The Raiders finished second in the AFC West last season with a 10-7 record under Jon Gruden, who resigned in October with a 3–2 record, and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, who finished the season going 7–5.

McDaniels will some nice weapons to work with after Las Vegas acquired superstar wide receiver Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers and signed QB Derek Carr to a multi-year extension this offseason.


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