You won’t follow the “Patriot Way” Josh McDaniels to the Raiders. He has learned to make for himself

Henderson, Nevada – The metaphor wasn’t the most acute or poignant to introduce Josh McDaniels about the lessons he’s learned over the years, but it struck a chord with him anyway.

The Las Vegas Raiders coach took refuge in some shade Thursday, dodging the 106-degree heat after training his team for their first full bootcamp. When he began explaining the importance of learning how to subtract from his coaching board over the course of his career, a visitor brought up an antique that no one remembers.

“I remember someone once saying that mastering your drawing is learning to understand what it shouldn’t be in it,” said the visitor.

McDaniels’ eyes lit up.

“Exactly that – it’s a great way to say it,” McDaniels said.

As he begins his second training assignment (or third, if you count the Indianapolis Colts job spoiled by McDaniels), he has no illusions about what to remove from his group. Or more specifically, since he was fired late in the season from the Denver Broncos in 2010 after coaching the team less than two seasons. He was 34 years old when this happened. He is 46 years old now. In his opinion, much has changed since then.

What does he know now that he did not know then? that he did not want to be a general manager; Not everyone on his team is expected to recreate the New England Patriots experience; He wants to focus on his own design rather than tracing the design created by Bill Belichick; And he’d rather be good at some job in his building than run himself into a cliff.

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In short, he doesn’t spend that second chance trying to fit in with the identity of a coach he wasn’t comfortable repeating in the first place.

“It’s been 12 years since you left [head coaching] The first time, and sometimes you hear people say they took some time and tried to figure things out,” McDaniels said. “For everyone, it means different things. For me, what I was trying to do was, let me really stop and reflect, what did I do that was clearly wrong? He is humble. You really have to let go of your ego and say to yourself, “Oh man, I stink at that. This was a really bad decision. Or, “I didn’t treat this person the way I wanted to be treated this whole time.”

At one point, McDaniels summed up the Denver experience as succinctly as possible: “It was crazy and I was young and everything else.”

Josh McDaniels is not shy about the lessons of the Denver disaster

Since leaving New England this season to take on a Raiders job, he’s been broad and down-to-earth about this part of his career. He doesn’t treat it as a sore topic or the kind of failure he’d rather avoid in conversation. Which is saying something, given that most coaches suffer some mental scars after being fired from their first major coaching job.

Instead, he’s approaching that memory, talking about what he’s learned over the 11-17 years during those two bumpy seasons. History mostly remembers the fallout and trade of quarterback Jay Cutler and his many encounters with superstar Brandon Marshall. But McDaniels frames it as an all-out struggle with not knowing how to navigate people, not understanding himself and what to get out of it trying to recreate Patriot culture. His results screamed of failed imitation rather than organic innovation.

Josh McDaniels says he learned a lot from his failures in Denver, his Indianapolis backlash and restart with New England. The Raiders hope to lead them to the Super Bowl. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Somehow, that’s how he was forced to reconfigure himself. After a one-year stint as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach with the St. Louis Rams in 2011, McDaniels began a decade-long re-evaluation during his second stint as offensive coordinator for the Patriots. A period of reflection finally helped him take a confident leap into a new job with the Raiders – an opportunity many predicted would never come after he reneged on an agreement to become the Colts head coach in 2018.

“I’m going back to New England and being a follower [Belichick] “I run an incredibly top-notch organization and he’s made it work the way he wants it to work, I’ve been able to see that in a second run,” McDaniels said. But Bill O’Brien left. [Matt Patricia] the left. [Brian Flores] the left. Atmosphere [Judge] have left. So I kind of got a chance to watch [other New England coaches] From afar while tackling some things you might do differently. ”

This is what he learned from it.

“This is really important to me and to anyone who gets out there — you can take a lot of football philosophies and a lot of the strategic things that apply to winning and losing on Sunday, but I think the personal actions of every relationship in every organization are going to be different,” McDaniels said. This is what I learned the hard way. Now I’m trying to make a concerted effort to do it the right way as often as I can.”

Why McDaniels’ Colts fiasco deserves a deeper study

In retrospect, a big part of the failure in Denver was that McDaniels beat Cutler in his first two months on the job and traded him soon after. This initial gaffe seemed a bit like the failure of two stubborn young men who had a lot of maturity.

But even if McDaniel’s steadfast critics were willing to accept that his Denver appointment was too young and too early, they wouldn’t leave him so easily because of what happened with the Colts. The fact remains that he hired three coaches, changed the course of their lives … and then left. But history will also remember that one of those coaches was defensive coordinator Matt Ebervlos, who was one of the best coordinators in the NFL for the past four years before taking over as head coach with the Bears this season.

There are a few layers to putting on ponies that haven’t been adequately considered either. Andrew Lack had missed the previous season with shoulder surgery and had been hit notably in his short career. McDaniels also didn’t have a track record with general manager Chris Ballard, and the two were getting to know each other during the courtship process. Even when it seemed like a great job, McDaniels was uncomfortable about it. And when Patriots owner Robert Kraft felt he might have a chance, he used it to bring McDaniels back for four more seasons.

The fallout from this decision and the criticism that followed finally made the McDaniels-Raiders union possible. Because he knew that if he left the Patriots again, not only would there be no going back, but Dave Ziegler would have to accompany him as general manager. Ex-John Carroll University classmates and best friends, who – which He’s the one McDaniels wanted to pair up with. Because who should worry about being a general manager when your old and close friend you trust fills that role? Can a personnel department be formed that knows precisely how to explore the training staff it works with?

Raiders are ready to reap the benefits from the wisest McDaniels

Josh McDaniels learned a lot from Bill Belichick, but he knows that trying to replicate his way of doing things elsewhere is a mistake.  (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Josh McDaniels learned a lot from Bill Belichick, but he knows that trying to replicate his way of doing things elsewhere is a mistake. (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

This is what the invaders are doing to them now. The dynamic tension (often friction) between former coach John Gruden and former general manager Mike Mayock has not only gone away in the blasting furnace winds of Las Vegas, but has been replaced by two leaders who are close in every decision. They are supported by a revamped supporting structure.

Perhaps for the first time under Mark Davis’ team ownership, divisions are now fully streamlined and staffed at every level, from business to football to management. Financial constraints have been eased to build more aggressive listings. Even Davis makes himself more accessible to McDaniels and Ziegler than any previous regime, while also ceding the full power of tandem to build the football organization as they see fit.

That’s how you get the 2022 edition of the Raiders that completely reshaped the coaching and staff but is loaded with expensive veteran additions like Davante Adams and Chandler Jones instead of rebuilding. Because McDaniels and Ziegler believed in him, they won Davis’ trust to sign.

Even with all these changes, much of the success and failure of the Raiders will go back to the culture. And the culture will come down to whether McDaniel can live up to his embrace of focusing more on people, less micromanagement, and trusting his own functional design rather than trying to recreate the Stalinist New England scheme. Start It has been successfully replicated outside the Patriots organization.

“I let that go,” McDaniels said. “I’ve just realized over time, really at the end of the day, that you have to give people a great opportunity to do their job. And sometimes that means you’re going to have to accept the difference. And I think some of us who left the Patriots got frustrated sometimes, man, it’s all not The way I remember it in New England. And you know what? It won’t. It never will be. I’ve come to this conclusion and frankly, I’m at peace with the way we do things, while I understand that’s not the way it was all done there.”

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