Raiders news: Josh McDaniels hints at a combine harvester

Josh McDaniels was never going to spill all the beans at Combine NFL. No NFL head coach ever does. Plus, it’s the season of lies now as teams dive deep into prospects in preparation for April. NFL Draft.

But what the Las Vegas Raiders head coach did was give some clues this week in Indianapolis. First and foremost, he dropped the biggest penny on quarterback Derek Carr, saying the caller will “absolutely” be the Raiders’ Week 1 starter. This made the Twitter verse speak with what he later said in front of the podium in Indianapolis:

And therein lies the kicker with McDaniels, general manager Dave Zielger or any other coach or staff member: no one is providing specifics in late February/early March. But if you listen carefully, you can string together a few clues and get a general idea of ​​the way forward.


Drafting Best Player Available (BPA) vs. Need. McDaniels, unsurprisingly, is following the same path his renowned former New England boss — Patriots boss Bill Belichick — charted on the East Coast. Writing for need is a wild ride for Belichick and McDaniels.

“We’re going to try to improve the squad, and I think when you start playing in a position of need you tend to start ignoring players who really could be better players. So I think the right thing to do in almost any situation is to sign players who improve your football team as much as possible,” McDaniels explained. “So whatever the position, we hope that will improve the Raiders significantly. And over time, if we build a force, that’s fine. Then we have to find a way to try to add to a Weak point. If he fits perfectly where we needed him and he’s the best player, then too bad and we’ll try to take him too.

The combine gives teams much-needed in-person time with prospects. NFL teams invest draft picks and coins in college players and in order to get the best return on investment, getting to know the person a team is investing assets in is an integral part of the process.

“You never want to draft a player that you really don’t feel like you know,” McDaniels said. “Having the opportunity to meet them, even if it’s a short window here in Indy, at least it starts the conversation. You just want to know as much as you can. It’s like a job interview – you interview them, they get to know you, you want to have a familiarity, you want to have a solid knowledge of their background.

Combine performance is great, but the tape doesn’t lie. McDaniels has seen his fair share of combo shows that wow those inside Indy while igniting social media when the music videos and tweets/posts hit the feed. It’s easy to be swayed by performance at the combine, but for the Raiders head coach, will the test numbers match the tape?

“Probably more than I can remember where you see a guy doing something really special,” McDaniels said when asked if he could name any standout performers at Indy. “But off the top of my head, I’m very careful to overstate what I see in these workouts. I usually rely more on what I see on the tape than what I just do while training for 20-25 minutes. I think you may get a little caught up in this. There will always be players who test very well, but what you want are players who test well and that fits the movie. That’s what makes you feel good. »

North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson had an official 40-yard sprint time of 4.36 at the NFL Combine last week in Indianapolis. Watson’s test speed matches his game speed.
Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

Players who fit McDaniels’ philosophy are similar to what Jon Gruden was looking for. Call Gruden a run-of-the-mill coach who was out of touch and overwhelmed – and rightly so – but what the former Raiders head coach and chief of personnel wanted from players who wear the Silver & Black was a passion for the game and the business to improve. McDaniels cravings are very reminiscent of the coach who came before him.

“We’re looking for players who fit our general philosophy, which is – we want guys who work hard and love football and are willing to do whatever it takes to improve,” McDaniels said. “These players are all young; they all need to improve. To do this you will need to be willing to put in the time and effort, sweat equity required in the National Football League to eventually get to the point where you are truly a consistent contributor on a good football team.

McDaniels spoke to Belichick before hiring Patriots coaches. But Mick Lombardi was a must. Lombardi will double as McDaniels’ offensive coordinator in Vegas, but it will be the latter who calls the plays. But don’t overlook Lombardi’s addition as an “in name only” rental.

“Mick is a very smart young coach. Works very hard, he has coached several attacking positions. He knows our system well,” McDaniels said. “I have complete confidence in him as a teacher, his ability to communicate with players and staff, and he’s a tireless worker. There’s nothing I’ve given Mick to do but he didn’t do any better than I thought he would. Just a huge plus for me.

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