HENDERSON, Nev. — The Las Vegas Raiders fired coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler late Tuesday night, less than two years after coming to Southern Nevada from New England. Linebackers coach Antonio Pierce was named interim coach, and Champ Kelly was promoted from assistant general manager to interim general manager.

There is no word yet on who will assume offensive playcalling duties, as that was McDaniels’ job.

McDaniels was just 9-16 with the Raiders, including 3-5 this season, and he and Ziegler were at the helm for some of the most embarrassing losses in franchise history, including:

  • Blowing the largest lead in franchise history in losing to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 last season after leading by 20 points.
  • Falling to the Indianapolis Colts, who were led by an interim coach in Jeff Saturday who had never coached above the high school level before, in Week 10 last season. It was Saturday’s only win in the eight games he coached last year.
  • Squandering a double-digit lead to the Los Angeles Rams and quarterback Baker Mayfield, who had joined the team only two days prior, last December.
  • Getting shut out in New Orleans in Week 8 last season when the starting offense failed to cross the 50-yard line.
  • Losing to an undrafted Division II rookie quarterback making his first start in the Chicago Bears’ Tyson Bagent in Week 7 this season.

The duo of McDaniels and Ziegler took over a team that went 10-7 in 2021 and advanced to the playoffs for only the second time since 2002. While offense was supposed to be McDaniels’ forte, the Raiders’ offense has cratered this season. It is the No. 31-ranked total offense in the NFL in yards per game (268.3), No. 32 in rushing yards per game (70.0) and No. 30 in points scored per game (15.8).

And the move from nine-year starting quarterback Derek Carr to the oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo has not been fortuitous, as Garoppolo has already missed 2½ games with a concussion and back injury yet still leads the league with nine interceptions. There has been noise that the team could move on from Garoppolo, signed to a three-year, $72.75 million free agent contract in March but coming off one of the worst statistical games of his career in Monday’s loss to the Detroit Lions, in favor of rookie Aidan O’Connell.

So how did this happen, and what should we expect from the Raiders the rest of the 2023 season and beyond?

Why make this move now instead of during the bye week or at the end of the season?

Simply put, Raiders owner Mark Davis had seen enough and realized the error of the hires. Plus, Raiders fans literally getting in his face at recent games and at the Las Vegas Aces’ championship parade — Davis also owns the two-time WNBA champs — imploring him to fire McDaniels had to make an impact.

The bye week isn’t until Week 13 in December and, really, what had the Raiders put on film recently to show they were primed to turn a corner? There is talent on the roster, underused talent, that could use a bump from a fiery leader like Pierce, not unlike what the Raiders rode with Rich Bisaccia two years ago into a playoff spot. Two winnable home games are on the horizon with the New York Giants and New York Jets coming to Allegiant Stadium, so there’s no time like the present to salvage a season and get back to .500, right?

The Raiders seemed all-in on seeing the McDaniels-Ziegler partnership through. What changed?

The lack of a clear and successful plan, really. While few in the building were upset with moving on from Carr, especially with how he left the team after being benched with two games to go last season, signing an oft-injured Garoppolo to a big contract despite knowing he needed surgery on his left foot seemed … desperate. Using the No. 7 pick on an edge rusher who was coming off surgery on his right foot in Tyree Wilson seemed similar.

Still, signing Carr to a contract extension and giving him a no-trade clause, allowing him to leave without the Raiders getting anything in return, did not sit well. Losing games by increasingly embarrassing fashion with Raiders alumni chiming in on social media was no doubt noticed. Wasting the likes of wide receivers Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow, along with running back Josh Jacobs — as well as defensive end Maxx Crosby — well, that was unconscionable.

Which players could benefit from this move being made now?

No doubt the new playcaller, whoever that is, will want to get Adams more involved. He hasn’t had a TD catch since Week 3 and is coming off a one-catch, 11-yard game at Detroit. Jacobs, the reigning NFL rushing leader, has yet to rush for 100 yards in a game this season. And Renfrow, who caught 103 passes two seasons ago, has just 10 catches on 16 targets. And if Pierce wants to go with the rookie over the beat-up Garoppolo, O’Connell will also benefit.

What is the pulse of the locker room, and how could it evolve after this move?

After the frustrating loss at the Lions, the Raiders’ locker room felt like a mausoleum as Adams, usually a dictionary and a thesaurus in postgame scrums, was at a loss for words. Crosby, trying to send a message to Detroit by rocking a Ron Artest Indiana Pacers throwback jersey (Malice in the Palace, anyone?), seemed, well, decidedly un-Artest and was more accepting and mellow. And the normally gregarious Jacobs was angry.

While it might not be that well constructed, it’s a top-heavy roster with frustrated and unhappy stars galore. Hitting reset now could rejuvenate that love for the game Garoppolo spoke of in his postgame presser. How that translates to on-field success remains to be seen.

Davante Adams at a loss for words after another Raiders loss

Davante Adams shares his frustration after the Raiders’ 26-14 loss to the Lions on “Monday Night Football.”

Who could be on the radar as the Raiders’ next coach and GM?

Let’s say the Raiders catch fire and make a run to the playoffs. Pierce and Kelly should retain their jobs and have the interim tags removed. Unlikely, right? You could have said the same thing two years ago. And you could have said interim coach Rich Bisaccia and his staff, as well as then-GM Mike Mayock, deserved at least one year to show their heart-tugging run to the playoffs wasn’t a fluke. And yet … here we are.

Still, it will be interesting to see if Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh tires of his battles with the NCAA and is actually interested in Las Vegas. After all, his coaching career began with the Raiders as the QB coach in 2002.

What’s a realistic outlook for the rest of the season?

Few, if any, teams actually ride an emotional bump to the playoffs. And yet, the Raiders showed it was possible two years ago. Look, there is still talent dotting this roster, in all three phases. If it was as simple as motivating players, Pierce should have an advantage over the grinding and oft-described manic McDaniels. Offensive playcalling is key, though. And the Raiders’ upcoming two-game homestand against the Giants and Jets will tell the tale. Check back in.

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Raiders fire coach Josh McDaniels, GM Dave Ziegler


Adam Schefter gives the latest about the firings of head coach Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler by the Raiders. (1

HENDERSON, Nev. — The Las Vegas Raiders fired coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, the team announced Tuesday night.

“After much thought about what the Raiders need to move forward, I have decided to part ways with Josh and Dave,” owner Mark Davis said in a statement. “I want to thank them both for their hard work and wish them and their families nothing but the best.”


Reached by phone and asked to elaborate on the reason for the firings, Davis told ESPN, “No comment at this time.”

The Raiders named linebackers coach Antonio Pierce as their interim head coach. The team also said that current assistant general manager Champ Kelly will serve as interim GM. In announcing those promotions, the organization said it is committed to undergoing “a comprehensive search” for a head coach and general manager “once the season is complete.”

The Raiders also fired offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday. Quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree will be promoted to offensive coordinator and take over offensive playcalling, which had been handled by McDaniels, sources told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network

The move comes one day after the Raiders lost 26-14 at Detroit on “Monday Night Football,” Las Vegas’ second consecutive defeat in which the team’s offense could get no traction. With the defeat, the Raiders dropped to 3-5.

McDaniels and Ziegler, both hired in January 2022, inherited a 10-7 team that made an unexpected run to the playoffs during the 2021 season — the organization’s second postseason bid since 2002 — under interim coach Rich Bisaccia and then-GM Mike Mayock, who took over following the in-season resignation of coach Jon Gruden.

Davis said at the time that McDaniels and Ziegler were expected to take the team to the “next step” in its evolution. Instead, the Raiders went a combined 9-16 without a playoff appearance under the new regime, as McDaniels finished his tenure with the third-worst record of any Raiders coach with at least 25 games.

McDaniels did not last two full seasons in his previous stop as a head coach either, going a combined 11-17 with the Denver Broncos from 2009 to 2010. He became the first non-interim coach in the Super Bowl era to be fired by two franchises before the end of his second season.

Davis was enamored with McDaniels’ offensive system and background as a longtime offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, with whom McDaniels won six Super Bowl rings.

But the offensive success did not translate to Las Vegas, and the Raiders suffered some of the most embarrassing defeats in franchise history under the McDaniels-Ziegler duo. That included blowing a 20-0 halftime lead against the Arizona Cardinals for the biggest collapse in franchise history, losing to Indianapolis in the Colts’ first game with Jeff Saturday as interim coach after he had never coached above the high school level, blowing a double-digit lead to Baker Mayfield and the Los Angeles Rams two days after Mayfield joined his new team, and getting shut out in New Orleans when the starting offense failed to cross the 50-yard line.

Two weeks ago, Las Vegas lost 30-12 to Chicago and undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent, a former Division II quarterback, in his first career start.

The Raiders this season moved on from nine-year starter Derek Carr, who was benched and inactive for the final two weeks of 2022. In March, they signed the oft-injured Jimmy Garoppolo — McDaniels’ former pupil in New England — to a three-year, $72.75 million free agent contract. Shortly after signing with Las Vegas, Garoppolo underwent left foot surgery that caused him to miss all of the Raiders’ offseason on-field program and be on a “pitch count” in training camp.

Garoppolo has missed 2½ games this season because of a concussion and back injury and leads the NFL in interceptions with nine. He is coming off one of the worst statistical games of his career in Detroit.

The Raiders have the No. 31 total offense in the NFL, are No. 32 in rushing yards per game (70) and rank No. 30 in points per game (15.8). All-Pros Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs have been underused at receiver and running back, respectively, for most of the season. Adams had one catch for 11 yards at Detroit and has not caught a touchdown pass since Week 3. Jacobs, the NFL’s reigning rushing leader, has yet to record a 100-yard rushing game this season, bottoming out at minus-2 yards in a Week 2 blowout loss at the Buffalo Bills.

Then there’s former Pro Bowl slot receiver Hunter Renfrow, who caught 103 passes in 2021, but has just 10 receptions on 16 targets this season.

Pierce will be the eighth different head coach, interim or regular, for the Raiders since Davis took control of the team after the death of his father, Al Davis, in October 2011. Pierce follows Hue Jackson, Dennis Allen, Tony Sparano, Jack Del Rio, Gruden, Bisaccia and McDaniels.

Pierce will make his NFL head-coaching debut Sunday against the 2-6 New York Giants, with whom he won a Super Bowl as a player in 2007.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked Wednesday if he would be open to McDaniels returning to the team if he had interest.

“Just getting ready for Washington,” he said.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Bears fire David Walker over workplace behavior, source confirms

CHICAGO — Chicago Bears running backs coach David Walker was fired Tuesday over his behavior in the workplace, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The Bears’ human resources department was involved in the decision, which the team has not yet announced.

A source told ESPN that Walker had previously been reprimanded by Bears HR for his workplace behavior and that a second such instance led to his firing.

Walker, 53, is the second Bears assistant coach to leave the staff this season. Former defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned on Sept. 20, citing the need to “take care of my health and family.”

The Bears’ HR department also was involved in the decision that led to Williams’ resignation, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter, but that instance is not related to Walker’s firing.

Bears coach Matt Eberflus is scheduled to speak with reporters Wednesday morning.

Walker’s firing was first reported Wednesday by The Athletic.

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