Is the ‘Patriot Way’ a myth? Josh McDaniels’ firing by Raiders doesn’t help

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By Samantha Rose

The Las Vegas Raiders saw enough from head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler to give them both the boot after just 25 regular-season games.

It was not a great follow-up for McDaniels, whose previous job as a head coach with the Denver Broncos ended with four games remaining in just his second season in 2010.

Now, the unfortunate question must be asked: Has McDaniels, the former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, effectively put the nail in the coffin of the “Patriot Way” as a model for success? 

Colin Cowherd thinks so.

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“Anybody think Tom Brady was the reason it [the Patriot Way] worked? Tom Brady was the rare superstar; he didn’t get enough credit. New England, [Bill] Belichick now a shell of themselves,” Cowherd said on Wednesday’s edition of “The Herd.” “What do they do well: do they draft well? No. Develop well? No. Free agent well? No. Offense? Out of touch, tone-deaf, below average [in] all four categories. … I don’t trust the Raiders owner [Mark Davis] to hire the right guy, but can we get out of proximity to greatness? Kansas City’s winning. You’re not gonna find another Andy Reid. He’s in his 60s; he’s been doing this for 40 years. You’re not gonna find another Mahomes.

“Where’s Phil Jackson’s coaching tree? You don’t get Phil Jackson. Where’s Belichick’s coaching tree? You don’t get Belichick. Belichick had lots of smart players and lots of smart coaches, [but] they can’t take his brain, and you can’t take Phil’s Zen.”

The performance of former Belichick assistants as head coaches has been underwhelming.

Eric Mangini went a combined 33-47 in five seasons with the New York Jets (2006-08) and Cleveland Browns (2009-10), making the playoffs with New York in 2006; Matt Patricia went 13-29-1 in two-plus seasons with the Detroit Lions (2018-20); Joe Judge went 10-23 in two seasons with the New York Giants (2020-21); Brian Flores went 24-25 in three seasons with the Miami Dolphins (2019-21).

Do Josh McDaniels-Dave Ziegler firings further discredit the ‘Patriot Way?’

Do Josh McDaniels-Dave Ziegler firings further discredit the 'Patriot Way?'

Bill O’Brien is a slight bright spot on the Belichick coaching tree, as he went 52-48 and made the playoffs four times with the Houston Texans from 2014-20.

Las Vegas went 6-11 with McDaniels last season and moved on from quarterback Derek Carr in favor of Jimmy Garoppolo in the offseason. Garoppolo has now reportedly been benched for rookie Aidan O’Connell. The Raiders’ Monday night loss to the Lions dropped them to 3-5, while star wide receiver Davante Adams was visibly frustrated on the sideline after recording just one reception. The Raiders named linebackers coach Antonio Pierce as the interim head coach.

Las Vegas hired both McDaniels and Ziegler from New England after the 2021 season, which saw head coach Jon Gruden resign five games into the season and general manager Mike Mayock get fired after the team went 10-7 and reached the playoffs for the first time in five years.

McDaniels went a combined 20-33 as head coach of the Broncos (2009-10) and Raiders (2022-23).

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