The State of the State: Nevada

June 27, 2023

Will the Raiders be in rebuild mode by the time the season ends?

Josh McDaniels has pushed in his chips, heading into franchise-defining season

Two years ago, the Las Vegas Raiders were a playoff team. Despite the midseason upheaval that came with Jon Gruden’s ouster, they rallied behind interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, finished 10-7 and earned a wild-card berth.

That season ended with a heartbreaking loss in Cincinnati. The Raiders fell 26-19 to a Bengals team that went on to play in the Super Bowl.

That’s what made last year so disappointing. Las Vegas was unable to build upon that momentum.

It’s not as though they didn’t make splashy moves in order to take the next step. The Raiders hired Josh McDaniels as their head coach and traded for Davante Adams to become their No. 1 wide receiver.

To say it didn’t work out would be an understatement. Las Vegas finished 6-11, making them one of the most-disappointing teams in the NFL.

As a result, things changed a lot during the offseason. McDaniels continued his roster turnover, attempting to bring in players that fit his style and system.

The biggest defections came on the offensive side of the ball. Derek Carr was the primary scapegoat, with the quarterback taking his talents to New Orleans. Darren Waller also departed, as one of the best tight ends in the NFL is now with the Giants.

McDaniels brought in a signal caller that he worked with during his time in New England as the Patriots offensive coordinator. Jimmy Garoppolo is the plan at QB, as the Raiders gave him a three-year deal this offseason.

That contract comes with a caveat, however. If Garoppolo’s injured foot prevents him from playing, Las Vegas can cut him without having to pay a dime.

Sure, that’s some insurance. But then, it’s a matter of finding another alternative. Brian Hoyer, another former Patriots quarterback, is the current backup. If the Raiders have to start the season with him behind center, it could lead to a total disaster.

That’s why many people expect the season second for McDaniels in Las Vegas to go a lot like his second year in Denver when he was the Broncos head coach. He didn’t make it through the campaign, getting fired with four games to play.

If the Garoppolo gamble doesn’t pay off, expect major changes in the desert. And it’s hard to see it all working out at this point.

Steve Quinne’s pick: Las Vegas under 6.5 wins in 2023