Until a decision is made, the majority of the talk surrounding the Las Vegas Raiders will center on interim head coach Antonio Pierce and whether or not he will be retained as the permanent coach moving forward.
There is no doubt that the energy surrounding the team completely changed once Pierce took over for Josh McDaniels who was fired midseason. And to that point, those within the Raiders locker room have consistently spoken publicly about their desire for Pierce to be given the job.
That was also made clear to former Dallas Cowboys receiver and NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin who visited the team during the season. Irvin appeared on RG3 and The Ones and says that during his time there, the Raiders players told him that Pierce was their coach:
Michael Irvin went to Las Vegas and got a clear message from the Raiders’ locker room about Antonio Pierce. “THIS IS OUR COACH”. Mark Davis can’t mess this one up like he did with Rich Bisaccia.#RaiderNation @CrosbyMaxx
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) January 17, 2024
This isn’t something that wasn’t already known, as Pierce has obviously won over the Raiders locker room, and this is more confirmation of that. But hearing it and the passion with which Irvin spoke about how the Raiders players backed the coach really makes it clear how much the team itself wants him to remain.
The decision will ultimately be the Raiders and the franchise is moving slowly with its process. In the meantime, Pierce has already interviewed with both the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons so the Raiders could be in danger of losing him before they are able to go through their process.
Complicating things within the franchise is the fact that the Raiders recently chose to hire an outside coach despite having an interim coach who had success already inside the building. The optics of doing the same thing again could be weighing on the Raiders overall and might push them toward Pierce, which is obviously what the players want.
Maxx Crosby will ‘consider everything’ if Raiders don’t hire Antonio Pierce
Perhaps the strongest belief in Pierce comes from star defensive end Maxx Crosby, one of the best defenders in the entire NFL. There were rumors that Crosby could request a trade from the Raiders if Pierce isn’t retained and he basically confirmed that rumor himself.
Crosby said that he will ‘consider everything’ if the Raiders go in another direction as he is not keen on restarting and rebuilding once again. Crosby believes the Raiders have a foundation they can build on with Antonio Pierce at the helm, and should the franchise choose someone else, they might also cost themselves their leader.