When Antonio Pierce replaced Josh McDaniels as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, there was the question of whether Pierce had what it took to be their permanent head coach or whether they would conduct a thorough search this offseason.
At first glance, it would seem as if Pierce is perhaps just keeping the seat warm — he has been 4-4 at the helm of the team, and he came into the job with less than two years of NFL coaching experience as a linebackers coach.
However, there is ample evidence that his players like playing for him and have been willing to buy into his coaching.
Star wide receiver Davante Adams seemed to give Pierce his stamp of approval, per Dov Kleiman.
“It’s obviously who I want, that’s my vote. I’ve been vocal about that. It’s basically how the whole locker room feels and with good reason,” Adams said.
#Raiders WR Davante Adams shows his support for interim HC Antonio Pierce:
“That’s who I wanted, and he’s my vote, and that’s basically how the whole locker room feels..”
It’s clear who the team wants as HC next season.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 3, 2024
Obviously, an NFL head coach needs to have a certain level of acumen when it comes to the Xs and Os, but what is at least as important is leadership skills.
Perhaps the first rule of leadership is people wanting to follow a leader by choice, not merely because the leader has a certain title, but because those people respect and believe in him.
Conversely, perhaps the worst thing that can happen to a head coach is losing the buy-in of his players.
That seems to be exactly what happened to McDaniels, especially after last season’s chaotic 6-11 finish and this season’s disappointing start.
While the Raiders have a hole at the quarterback position, they have stars such as Adams and pass rusher Maxx Crosby to build around, and with Pierce commanding the locker room, perhaps there is a glimmer of hope for them.
Insider Reveals ‘Vibe’ Around Raiders Building On Antonio Pierce’s Future
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