Josh McDaniels' second disastrous head coaching stint has come to a blissful end. The world watched as the wheels came completely off the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions; apparently the 26-14 loss was the last straw for owner Mark Davis. Not that any of us should be all that surprised. McDaniels did exactly the same thing as when he was the head coach for the Denver Broncos over a decade ago-- he came in, made all the team's best players mad, got rid fo them for his "own guys," and lost a ton of games in the process.
Still, it was a bit of a shock to see Davis fire McDaniels in the middle of the season after being forced to do the same thing with Jon Gruden in 2021. Antonio Pierce, linebackers coach, has been tapped as the interim head coach going forward but it is very unlikely he sticks around for the long term. Rich Bisaccia took over for Gruden, got the team to the playoffs, and Davis still went with McDaniels instead once the season was over.
That is probably going to happen again. If Davis was so eager to can McDaniels he couldn't wait until the end of the year he's not going to want to stick with one of McDaniels' guys as his next coaching hire, one that is very important if the Raiders are to be anything other than a laughingstock again.
So here are a few possible replacements for McDaniels as the Raiders' head coach for next season.
Johnson was one of the league's hottest head coach candidates last offseason but he opted to stick with the Detroit Lions for another season instead of taking a promotion. He will have his pick of suitors this offseason, too. Johnson fits the exact mold of what NFL teams are trying to find nowadays-- he's young, offensive-minded, and so innovative with his schemes that even fans notice. If we're being nitpicky about it Johnson hasn't been quite as good this year as he was in the second half of last season. He gets a little too cute in the red zone, as we all saw in the Raiders' game on Monday, and his lack of adjustments stood out when Detroit got housed by Baltimore two weeks ago. He is, however, still the top coaching candidate on the market and will be the first on Vegas' interview list as soon as he's available.
Remember when the Texans came very close to hiring McCown for their head coaching job right off the high school sideline? Well, the Raiders are about as dysfunctional as the Texans and thus we can't rule it out. At least now McCown has some professional experience on the sideline. He's the QB coach for Bryce Young in Carolina. Young hasn't set the world on fire to start the year but he's shown some good progress and his lack of success has more to do with the brutal roster around him rather than bad coaching, per se. McCown was inexplicably a candidate a few years ago and we can safely assume he will be again now that he's actually back in the NFL.
At the end of the day, there is nothing NFL teams love more than hiring a retread coach. It feels the Raiders are particularly ripe to do that given they've gone through two coaches in as many years. Davis will be risk-averse, and Quinn is the safest option out there. He's proven to be a successful enough head coach in the past and has successfully rehabilitated his coaching status in the last two years as the Cowboys' defensive coordinator. Quinn is obviously considering making the move back to the top spot as he's been a candidate for numerous head coach jobs in the last two offseasons and can boast recent success. The Dallas defense is loaded with talent but he has maximized everyone's abilities to turn the unit into one of the most dangerous in the league. If I were a betting man, Quinn would be the guy. He's unproblematic, has done the job before, and can theoretically coach up an atrocious Raiders defense. He'll be in the running at the very least.