The Las Vegas Raiders have looked like a more energized franchise in the weeks since Antonio Pierce was named the interim head coach after Josh McDaniels was relieved of his duties on Oct. 31. Pierce made an immediate impact with a 30-6 victory over the New York Giants, and while a 4-4 record is nothing special on its own, he has led the Raiders to some remarkable wins.
Pierce was at the helm for a 63-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers that led to the firing of their own head coach in Brandon Staley. And it’s clear that Raiders players have found it easier to connect and fight for Pierce than McDaniels. But that puts Raiders ownership and management in an interesting position this offseason.
Generally, interim coaches rarely retain the title after a coaching search in the offseason. But it seems that Pierce has plenty of support in the building, including an anonymous source that believes Pierce is the best person for the job, according to Josina Anderson of CBS Sports:
#Raiders source on the current vibe in the building surrounding interim head coach Antonio Pierce: “(Mark Davis) hasn’t tipped his hand yet, but I’m hoping Antonio gets the job. He’s a straight-shooter. He doesn’t mince words when he’s talking to people. He has great football… pic.twitter.com/KkRK5EVviH
— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) January 3, 2024
This is not an unfamiliar situation for Mark Davis and company, as it almost directly mirrors what happened with interim head coach Rich Bisaccia at the tail end of the 2021 season. Bisaccia took over for Jon Gruden after his controversial exit and proceeded to lead the Raiders to a 7-5 record and a playoff berth at the helm.
He had garnered significant support within the organization to keep the head coaching job, but Davis ultimately decided to go with McDaniels instead. Perhaps that situation will lead Davis to go a different direction this time around, but it also depends on the available coaches this offseason.
Pierce gives honest self-assessment
Pierce spoke about his qualifications and what he believes he has done to help the Raiders since taking over as interim head coach.
“I think each and every week you’ve learned something new about (me), I’ve learned something new about myself. But this is a game regardless of how much you’ve played or been in, there’s always something new that comes up that you have to adapt and adjust to. That’s been a good part of the process of growing. Understanding players, coaches, the dynamic to maintain that at a high level each and every week, to bring it each and every week. And what that takes and what it looks like, I think that’s something that I’m going to reflect on and hopefully get better as I go along.
“At the end of day, everything will be looked at by wins and losses, and I think that’s fair and that’s what this business is about. I said that at the very beginning, it’s production based, and it’s about wins and losses. But I do also think it’s about what do you build in the foundation? And I think for the most part in these eight or nine weeks, it’s been a solid foundation that we’ve built as a team and as an organization that we can look on and say, ‘Okay, those are things that went well and there’s some other things that we can do better.’ And that’s how I’ll look at it.”