Raiders Vying For Patriots West With Hirings of Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler?

New England's offensive coordinator is the new coach of the Raiders, and the team's ex-director of player personnel is now GM

Josh McDaniels stands on the field before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium
Josh McDaniels stands on the field before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at Gillette Stadium.
Maddie Meyer/Getty

While the Cincinnati Bengals were busy knocking off the team the Raiders will be competing with for years to come in the AFC West, Las Vegas made a pair of powerful personnel moves that could have major ramifications.

Though both hirings have not officially been announced as of yet, former New England director of player personnel Dave Ziegler and ex-New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will be heading to Las Vegas as a package deal to take over as general manager and head coach of the Raiders, respectively.

The Raiders are bringing McDaniels and Ziegler, both of whom are from Ohio and played football and roomed together at John Carroll University, to Vegas in the hopes that some of the so-called Patriot Way and the winning that has come with it for the past two decades will accompany them to The Strip.

That did not happen during McDaniels’s first attempt to branch out as a head coach with the Broncos, as he went 11-17 in his two seasons in Denver and was fired in 2010 when the team started with a 3-9 record. Following that failure, McDaniels returned to the Patriots and has been New England’s offensive coordinator since 2012 (the same role he held with the team from 2005 to 2008). McDaniels nearly made a return to the head coaching ranks four years ago, but infamously backed out of an agreement to take over the Indianapolis Colts and left many people shaking their heads.

Not as well-known a commodity as his buddy McDaniels, Ziegler spent nine seasons with New England and was promoted to director of player personnel in 2021 after previously working as the assistant director of player personnel and the director of pro personnel. Ziegler’s work in 2021 is certainly a big part of why the Pro Football Writers Association named Patriots coach Bill Belichick its Executive of the Year for the retooling of New England’s roster.

Now out of Belichick’s shadow in New England, McDaniels and Ziegler are tasked with building a winner in a division that boasts quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert … and possibly soon Aaron Rodgers. In contrast, Las Vegas has Derek Carr, who threw an interception to end his team’s shot at beating the Bengals in the wild-card round. That playoff loss marked just the second playoff appearance for the Raiders in the past 19 seasons.

The move to Vegas to work for volatile team owner Mark Davis is a real roll of the dice for McDaniels as the deck appears to be stacked against the Raiders in what should be one of the NFL’s better divisions for the foreseeable future. Given how his first stint as a head coach went, McDaniels will not get a third shot if his second go-around running a team craps out. He can always come back to the Patriots, who are certainly in worse shape without McDaniels and will now need to find a new mentor for rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who owes his Pro Bowl nod to his former OC.

“The Patriots are going through an unprecedented brain drain, even for them,” per NBC Sports Boston. “And they just lost a big chunk of offensive gray matter to the Silver and Black.”

Whether that’ll translate to wins for the Raiders and McDaniels and Ziegler staying in Vegas remains to be seen.

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