Two seasons ago Hunter Renfrow was a Pro Bowler and widely considered one of the best slot receivers in the NFL. But under former head coach Josh McDaniels, Renfrow’s role decreased significantly despite the Las Vegas Raiders’ ongoing offensive struggles.
The Raiders have now moved on from McDaniels, offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi and GM Dave Ziegler and a theme throughout the locker room is that things were too serious and there was no fun being had within the team. This is something interim coach Antonio Pierce is looking to change and Renfrow and the rest of the Raiders are all for it.
Renfrow recently spoke on the state of the Raiders locker room, noting that the team isn’t walking on eggshells anymore and that the energy has picked up with guys being able to have a little fun now, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN:
“We’re not walking on eggshells everywhere,” said Renfrow, a forgotten man in the previous offense.
“I mean, I think there was things that McDaniels did really well, right? I’m not going to sit here and say he was a bad coach. He’s very good … but I think with A.P. being a player and just having different energy, it’s just different. And we have a basketball [game] going on in the locker room now, trying to have a little fun. Just trying to get back to having fun as a kid and playing the game. Well, I think that’s been his message.”
McDaniels of course comes from the Patriots organization which is a very business-like operation under Bill Belichick. But that style does not work with everyone and it just didn’t gel with the Raiders. A team should not feel like it has to walk on eggshells in the locker room and that is simply not a path to success.
All of the Raiders players including Renfrow, Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby praised McDaniels as a coach with Adams even noting that he agreed with McDaniels’ ideas and what he wanted to get out of this team. But his style and the execution of those ideas simply didn’t work.
For Renfrow, this change in regime will hopefully lead to him re-establishing a bigger role within the Raiders offense. He is currently fifth on the team in targets behind even rookie tight end Michael Mayer, but even with all the talent on this offense, Renfrow is someone who can make a major impact if given the opportunity.