The Las Vegas Raiders fired head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler after a 3-5 start to the season, the team announced.
“After much thought about what the Raiders need to move forward, I have decided to part ways with Josh and Dave,” team owner Mark Davis said in a statement. “I want to thank them both for their hard work and wish them and their families nothing but the best.”
The Raiders named linebackers coach Antonio Pierce as the interim head coach and assistant GM Champ Kelly as the interim general manager. They will undergo a “comprehensive search” to fill both roles in the offseason.
McDaniels and Ziegler were hired away from the New England Patriots in January 2022, with the former reportedly receiving a six-year deal.
A respected assistant for his contributions to numerous Super Bowl-winning teams, McDaniels hasn’t been able to carry that success over to a lead role. He coached just 28 games with the Denver Broncos from 2009-10 before being fired late in his second year on the job, and he infamously backed out of an agreement to become Indianapolis Colts head coach in 2018.
The Raiders were a major disappointment in their first season under McDaniels last year, going from a playoff appearance in 2021 to a 6-11 record despite adding All-Pro receiver Davante Adams and getting a league-leading 1,653 rushing yards from Josh Jacobs.
McDaniels’ offense became one of the league’s worst units to start the 2023 season and currently ranks 30th in scoring and 31st in yards. Las Vegas is the first team since 2009 to score fewer than 20 points on offense in each of its first eight games, according to Josh Dubow of The Associated Press.
The decision to move on from nine-year starter Derek Carr and bring in Jimmy Garoppolo, a familiar face from New England, yielded disastrous results for McDaniels and Ziegler. Garoppolo has thrown just seven touchdowns against a league-worst nine interceptions, and he had several egregious misses in Monday night’s loss to the Detroit Lions.
Adams, who had publicly voiced frustration with the offense over the last month, was visibly agitated on the sideline after a turnover on downs late in the fourth quarter effectively sealed another loss. “I don’t know what to say at this moment,” he said postgame. “I truly don’t.”
Las Vegas is now leaning toward starting fourth-round rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell this week against the New York Giants, according to Vinny Bonsignore of The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The move to part ways with McDaniels and Ziegler midseason seemingly represents an abrupt change of tune for Davis. The Raiders owner had declared that his head coach was doing a “fantastic” job amid a 2-7 start last season, and he told fans calling for McDaniels’ job to “smarten up” during a game this season.
Davis had previously told his head coach and general manager they had through the end of the 2024 season to conduct the rebuild process, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic.
McDaniels and Ziegler leave the Raiders having posted a 9-16 record in 25 games. Las Vegas currently sits third in the AFC West.
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