Big changes with the Las Vegas Raiders! Mark Davis finally made the decision to part ways with not only head coach Josh McDaniels, but General Manager Dave Ziegler and offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi on Halloween night. While trick or treaters were looking for candy, Mark Davis was making phone calls.
Former all pro linebacker Antonio Pierce accepted the position of interim head coach and Champ Kelly is the new interim GM, according to multiple outlets. I have to admit I was ready to hit the field after the press conference.
They both spoke on the new expectations for the players as well as Raider Nation fans. Pierce’s only head coaching job was at Long Beach Polytechnic High School in California. But don’t get it twisted, In my opinion he is more than qualified for the job. Nine years in the league and two years as the Raiders linebacker coach. According to Raiders.com “Pierce is a native of Long Beach, Calif. and played for two seasons at Arizona after transferring from Mount San Antonio College.” He entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent by the Washington Redskins (Now The Commanders) and played four seasons before signing with the New York Giants as an unrestricted free agent in 2005, Raiders.com said. He played in his first Pro Bowl in 2006 and earned his Giants Super Bowl XLII championship ring in 2007.
Antonio Pierce has already made some huge changes in the roster. Benching Jimmy Garoppolo and starting rookie Aiden O’Connell. Then signing veteran Pro Bowl LB Jaylon Smith. Jaylon was a beast at Notre Dame and caused much havoc with the Dallas Cowboys. NFL.com says “He finished his Cowboys career with 68 games, 516 tackles (20 for loss), 9 sacks, 2 interceptions, 6 forced fumbles and 5 fumble recoveries (including one returned for a touchdown).”
So, how much of a difference will this make for the Las Vegas Raiders? I don’t know, but I can tell you the energy is different and it great! Growing up as a Raider fan, I have experienced being at the Coliseum with true die-hard Raider Nation fans. From Oakland to L.A. then back to the Bay… I have been committed to excellence! A new excitement is in the air, and Las Vegas Raider fans can feel it. Winning is definitely important, but playing with passion and having fun doing it is motivating.
In the words of Coach Pierce, “We are playing a kids game and getting paid millions to do it.” More than the majority of players in the NFL has been playing since Pop Warner football. It was a dream to make it into the league, and those who played as a child knew the chances of making it to the NFL was slim to none.
My grandfather use to always say, “when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” It must suck to go to work and hate being there. That’s exactly how the Raider players must have felt. So, yes I feel like this change will truly make a difference.
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