Josh McDaniels: Does History Repeat Itself?

Josh McDaniels has become one of the most successful coordinators in all of football during his time in the league. McDaniels has overseen a boatload of success alongside Bill Belichick in New England. That success eventually led him to his first head coaching gig in Denver. Josh won the Broncos’ job in 2009, and things looked very promising. However, in this case, the good things didn’t last long.

Now, with McDaniels’ tenure in Sin City off to a rocky start, some are questioning if McDaniels is cut out to be a head coach. Some may wonder, is history repeating?

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels
Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Getty Images

Josh McDaniels’ Broncos Tenure

The hope that followed Josh McDaniels to Denver led to questions after some interesting moves early on in his reign. First, McDaniels decided to move on from Jay Cutler, sending him to the Chicago Bears. This led to a saga as the search for a quarterback began. McDaniels ended up bringing in Kyle Orton to replace Cutler.

Yet, there seemed to be a method to Josh’s madness at first. The Broncos would find themselves with a 6-0 record — a very impressive start for the rookie head coach.

Unfortunately, shortly after that things began to unravel. Denver lost eight of their last 10 games, and would finish the season with a 8-8 record. After the season ended, McDaniels traded star receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami.

More questionable moves and poor performances would eventually lead to McDaniels’ downfall. Drafting Tim Tebow and trading Peyton Hillis proved to be awful decisions. His 3-9 record during his second season didn’t help much, either. McDaniels was eventually fired before his second season concluded.

Josh McDaniels’ Raiders Tenure

Josh McDaniel’s second job as a head coach would have to wait a while. He ran himself into a fiasco in Indianapolis, but that fizzled out and he returned to New England. After more success with Belichick and the Patriots, McDaniels was eventually hired by the Las Vegas Raiders before the 2022 season.

His first offseason cycle in Sin City was promising. Unlike his first job, McDaniels would inherit a talented, playoff-caliber team in Las Vegas. The Raiders owned the fifth seed in 2021, and nearly knocked off the eventual AFC Champions in the first round.

Things got a lot more exciting when the Raiders signed Chandler Jones shortly before trading for Davante Adams. Adding these two to a playoff roster seemed to be a recipe for success. Unfortunately, things once again didn’t go according to plan for McDaniels.

The first season under McDaniels would turn out to be a disaster. Las Vegas won just six games, and lost four games in which they had a 17-point lead.

As the season wound to a close, McDaniels would make the decision to bench Derek Carr and attempt to trade him after the season. While this decision may help the franchise in the long run, it further ruffled feathers between McDaniels and the fan base.

Another Disaster? Or is it Too Early to Tell?

Indeed, there are some similarities between both of Josh Mcdaniels’ head coaching tenures up to this point. The main reason for that has been the commonality of losing, with rare wins sprinkled in between. At this point, both franchises have soured on McDaniels for various reasons.

One potentially troubling similarity is Josh’s removal of a starting quarterback. He was quick to discard Cutler, but gave Carr 15 games before making the decision to move on from him.

In Denver, McDaniels got rid of several skill players in hopes of bringing in his own. Cutler, Hillis, and Marshall were all shown the door before McDaniels’ second season in charge. In Las Vegas, it hasn’t been quite the same. Carr will be gone, but he’s been involved in trade rumors for quite some time now. McDaniels’ moves in Denver were much more abrupt.

Ultimately, it seems too early to tell if history will repeat itself in Las Vegas. McDaniels currently owns a 17-28 record as a head coach, so he hasn’t been impressive in either city. Raiders fans will hope 2023 brings change, but up until now, McDaniels hasn’t done anything to prove himself or instill confidence to the fan base.

Three Underrated NFL Players From 2022-23 Season

Another NFL season has come and gone. With that, each player has another year under their belts, and each player has another year notched off their career. Now, the endless cycle of fan opinions regarding these players circulates, and now new players have earned “underrated” and “overrated” titles. With that in mind, here are three of the most underrated NFL players from this past season.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Cox/Getty Images

Tyler Allgeier

Tyler Allgeier was selected in the fifth round of the NFL draft last year by the Falcons. With a draft selection that late, and Cordaralle Patterson already on the roster, his expectations were understandably small. However, Patterson suffered some injuries this season, which gave a ton of playing time to Allgeier. He did not waste a second.

Allgeier never really got the credit he deserved for what was a fantastic rookie season. He finished his rookie season with 210 attempts, which came out to an astounding 1,035 yards, good enough for nearly five yards per carry. Allgeier put together an impressive rookie season, and has a bright future ahead of him.

Tyson Campbell

Tyson Cambell had an up-and-down rookie season. He was impressive at times, but was rocky at others. Campbell used his first off-season to work on his game. That paid off in major ways in 2022.

Campbell finished the season as the sixth-best overall cornerback, and the sixth-best coverage grade by Pro Football Focus. He earned an 81.9 overall grade, and an 81.5 coverage grade. Campbell really came on as the season has came to an end, and was been a large part of the reason the Jaguars got so far this season.

Jaelan Phillips

Jaelen Phillips is the third, and final, young guy on this list. Phillips didn’t do much of anything in his rookie season, bringing low expectations into his sophomore campaign.

Phillips would go on to have an excellent second season, as he finished the season graded as the sixth best edge defender by Pro Football Focus. In his second season, Phillips lodged nine sacks, and a very impressive 44 hurries. Phillips made some stark improvement and finished the season as one of the most underrated NFL players.

The Sacramento Kings are Back, Baby

Sacramento Kings stars De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis
Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The last time the Sacramento Kings made the playoffs was the 2005-06 season. That was 16 years ago. The Kings haven’t finished a season remotely close to .500 in that same timespan. Sacramento has had Demarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Isaiah Thomas, De’Aaron Fox as key players during that time frame, and yet has failed to make a significant impact on the NBA landscape. Don’t even get yourself started on their missed draft picks. You’ll drive yourself mad.

The Haliburton/Sabonis Trade: Another Sacramento Kings failure?

One draft pick that didn’t flop was Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton is one of the most exciting young players across the league. With Haliburton and Fox, and a solid group of role players around them, for the first time in a very, very long time, the future looked bright in California’s capital.

Then, in a trade that rocked the NBA landscape, the Kings shipped him off to Indiana at last year’s trade deadline. The Kings sent Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to the Pacers in exchange for Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb, Justin Holiday and a 2027 second round pick.

The trade at the time was seen as horrid for the Kings, which is in part justified. Sacramento was 20-35 at the time of the trade. Trading a young star for a proven veteran isn’t necesarily the type of a trade a team of that caliber should make. Fortunately, it’s been a bit better than that.

Off-season Upgrades

Sacramento didn’t make any major moves this offseason, but the ones they did make were very important. The Kings lost Donte DiVincenzo, but that was the only real loss they had.

The Kings were fortunate enough to land the fourth overall pick, and they used that to select Keegan Murray, a small forward out of Iowa. Murray didn’t have as much potential, but he was undoubtedly the most NBA-ready pick in the draft, with a very well-rounded skillset. Since the trade sent Sacramento into win-now territory, this trade makes sense.

Sac also swung a trade for Kevin Huerter. Huerter was acquired for Maurice Harkless, Justin Holiday, and a second round pick. That trade turned out to be a steal, with Huerter being a crucial cog in the Kings’ offense. Finally, the Kings signed Malik Monk, reuniting him with his college teammate De’Aaron Fox.

The Evolution of a Playoff Team

At the time of the Sabonis trade, the Sacramento Kings seemed to be a bad team with no direction. Kind of sounds like the Kings for the past 16 years, huh?

Well, Monte McNair and Mike Brown have completely turned things around. The Kings are six games above .500 for the first time since… who knows when? They have two All-Star caliber players in Sabonis and Fox. Sacramento is one game out of the third seed, and looks like a true playoff contender. The Kings are one of the most entertaining stories in the league, and have built themselves a very bright future.

Light the beam!

Damar Hamlin: The Sports World Comes Together

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin
Photo Credit: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

During the Monday night affair between the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills, the NFL was struck with one of its greatest tragedies in recent memory. Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac event while making a seemingly routine tackle, and after getting up, immediately collapsed onto the field.

What ensued was a moment of absolute and utter chaos. CPR and defibrillators were both used on the field, in the eye of everyone in the stadium. An emergency unit filled with strong individuals carried out their duties well, and Hamlin was able to reach the hospital quickly enough to keep him alive.

Often times the labels humans assign to their counterparts are covered in negative connotations. Most humans don’t have faith in others, and would be quick to expect others to disappoint them. While Hamlin’s incident is surely tragic, it’s also served as a great reminder that humans can, indeed, be good sometimes.

Fan and League-Wide Support for Damar Hamlin

Tuesday and Wednesday night, a combination of fans has gotten together at the Bengals’ stadium to hold a candlelight vigil, in honor of Hamlin.

This is just one small example of the outcry of support from across the league. For example, all 32 NFL teams have changed their logos on Twitter to a “Pray for Damar” message. In similar news, at many stadiums around the league, messages of support for Hamlin can be seen.

The following cities and teams made an effort to show support for Hamlin: 49ers, Dolphins, Broncos, Ravens, Patriots, Jaguars, Saints, and the Raiders. Here’s an example, from U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota:

Even a local natural wonder like Niagara Falls lit up blue on Tuesday night in support of Hamlin. Even outside of the football world, teams have been paying their respects.

Outside of Football

Donovan Mitchell scored 71 points on Monday. The most points scored by a player in a single NBA game, since Kobe scored 82. Mitchell didn’t get much recognition for that — which is unfortunate yet understandable. When he did talk to the media; however, the first thing he shared was his support for Hamlin.

The Buffalo Sabres came into their game on Tuesday wearing shirts that read; “Love for 3”. Rookie sensation Tage Thompson would then score three goals, with his third coming in the third minute of overtime. A moral and symbolic victory for the city.

Damar Hamlin’s Charity

In 2020, Hamlin started a charity, the Chasing M’s Foundation, aimed at purchasing toys for children in his hometown in Pennsylvania. This charity wasn’t too well-known, but it had raised a bit of money.

In the first few hours immediately after Hamlin’s injury, as the public learned about his charity, donations came pouring in. After those first several hours, over $4 million was raised.

Editors Note: As of editing this article, Hamlin’s charity has exceeded $7 million, including a donation of over $25k from the Indianapolis Colts and owner Jim Irsay.

Ultimately, many do carry the view that the world is an evil place, and that humans will do evil things to each other. Given the course of human history, you’d be hard-pressed to claim that argument as incorrect. In the wake of this tragedy, we were reminded that humans can be great, too.

People want their flowers when they’re here. One of the greatest achievements one can have is to see how valued, loved, and respected they are by other people. Damar Hamlin is the example of a great man. We can only hope that he pulls through this and gets to see his flowers.

Derek Carr Benched: What’s Next for the Raiders?

Early on Wednesday, some surprising news was released coming out of Las Vegas. There has been speculation that the Raiders may rest Derek Carr for the rest of the season, in order to preserve his health for a possible trade. That made sense, and when Vegas’s betting line increased in favor of the 49ers by three this morning, that speculation seemed to have some merit.

Then, we found out the Raiders had indeed benched Carr for the team’s remaining two games. This was pretty surprising news, as the Raiders have had plenty of unsuccessful seasons with Carr at the helm, yet have never resorted to benching him. Afterwards, it was learned that Carr would be away from the team, in an effort to refrain from distractions. The only thing this news did was to ignite more speculation.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr
Photo Credit: Gaelen Morse/Getty Images

Dynamics in the Raiders’ Organization Regarding Derek Carr

The aforementioned first report on the situation came from Raiders’ insider Vic Tafur. Tafur mentioned that Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler, the head coach and GM, met for two nights discussing on what should be done with Carr as the season concludes.

A couple hours later, Tafur released a full story via The Athletic. In this, Tafur sheds some light on what could have went down behind the scenes:

“Ziegler and McDaniels met for two nights to discuss Carr’s status, and my read is that on Tuesday night, they were leaning toward keeping Carr as the starter. They have, after all, been preaching the importance of winning and are still technically alive for the playoffs… Carr is a team captain and very respected by teammates in the locker room, and teammates may not think making him a scapegoat is fair or honorable. I think that is when Davis stepped in and decided that it was time for a change.”

The Athletic’s Vic Tafur

In this piece, Tafur is insinuating that McDaniels and Ziegler agreed on keeping Carr as the starter. With both holding Carr in a high regard, it’s not too surprising. Owner Mark Davis stepping up and making the final decision; however, is. Davis usually isn’t too assertive when it comes to football decisions, except he was here.

What Does the Future Hold?

This is a complicated question. As Tafur mentioned, Carr is very well respected in the locker room. This move could very well cause players to think he’s being scapegoated. A move like this can easily cause dysfunction in a locker room. Yet, it seems like this offseason may include a lot of change. It may not matter anyways.

For now, the only other quarterbacks the Raiders currently have are Jared Stidham and Chase Garbers. Neither are exciting prospects. At least Stidham will have the chance to prove himself. The quarterback market isn’t too impressive this offseason. If the Raiders can package Derek Carr with their first round draft pick, they could move up high enough to pick one of the top quarterbacks.

This is a massive decision, and it will likely have a ripple-effect throughout the next couple of seasons. This move screams “rebuild”. The Raiders should be looked at as a team to watch out for in the 2023 NFL draft.