The Las Vegas Raiders fired head coach Josh McDaniels on Halloween night, but McDaniels’ reaction to a pre-practice meeting between players, coaches, and himself five days earlier reportedly had players believing his time in Vegas was almost done.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the meeting took place hours before Thursday’s practice. Players reportedly called it a “kumbaya meeting,” but it seems more brutal than that, with players and coaches taking turns “ripping” McDaniels for pretty much every aspect of his his coaching style. McDaniels reportedly didn’t say much during the meeting as he listened to complaints about how he over corrected problems on the field, constantly blamed players for issues with play-calling, and held unnecessarily long meetings, among other problems.
At practice several hours later, McDaniels reportedly tried to apply some of the players’ feedback, playing music and letting practice happen without comment. But according to Rapoport, McDaniels was “a shell of himself” after the team meeting. The contrast in his behavior was reportedly so “stark” that it apparently felt like McDaniels wasn’t really there. Considering that, it’s not surprising the Raiders’ 26-14 loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday night sealed his fate. The entire organization was reportedly on board with his firing.
Rapoport reported on the meeting several days before McDaniels was fired, describing the tone of players as “passionate.” This new report adds a lot more detail to that, since we now know that “passionate” was a more roundabout way of saying “”very angry at McDaniels.” The meeting was originally described as “cathartic,” but now we know it was cathartic for the players and coaches and definitely not McDaniels.
The Raiders play their first game of the post-McDaniels era at 4:25 on Sunday. They’ll face the New York Giants in Antonio Pierce’s debut as Raiders’ interim head coach.