Josh McDaniels’ first season coaching the Raiders is looking awfully similar to the way the end of his tenure in Denver went more a decade ago — loss after loss.
McDaniels will be looking for his first victory with the Raiders when he goes up against his former team, the Denver Broncos, on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium (KLAS-8, 1:25 p.m.).
The Raiders have lost their three games by a total of 13 points; the 0-3 start gives McDaniels a 5-20 record as coach since winning his first six games in 2009 with the Broncos.
“We’ve been in three close games,” McDaniels said. “You’re not in three close games against three good teams without playing well in stretches of each one of those games.”
It just hasn’t been good enough in what looks like a familiar pattern from his tenure in Denver (2009-10). In one stretch under McDaniels, the Broncos lost 10 of 11 games.
McDaniels was fired during his second season in the aftermath of a video scandal, a player’s suicide and a 5-17 run that followed his 6-0 start. McDaniels heads into Sunday’s showdown against Denver having not won a game as an NFL head coach in 4,341 days.
“I’ve said this many times: They gave me a great opportunity at a young age, and I’m thankful for that and learned a lot of lessons from that,” he said.
Denver also has a first-year coach in Nathaniel Hackett, who has been under fire for questionable in-game management decisions that contributed to a Week 1 loss at Seattle and offensive struggles the past two weeks.
The Broncos are second-to-last in the league in scoring, averaging just 14.3 points. It’s taking time for quarterback Russell Wilson and his new teammates to acclimate to a new system.
“Sometimes it happens quicker, sometimes it takes a little longer,” Hackett said. “In the end, as long as we’re continually learning from the different things and the guys are growing within the system, I think it’s going to be good.”
Wilson’s trip to Las Vegas will reunite him with a familiar foe in Chandler Jones, the Raiders’ edge rusher. The two had physical meetings in the NFC West, when Jones played for Arizona and Wilson led Seattle’s offense.
Jones’ 16 1/2 career sacks of Wilson are the second most for any player against a single quarterback since 2000. Only Cameron Jordan has more with 23 sacks against Matt Ryan.
Jones is still seeking his first sack since signing a three-year, $51 million contract with the Raiders this offseason.
Meanwhile, Hackett, was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay, so he knows Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams pretty well.
“He’s a guy I’ve been with for the past three years. He’s an amazing human being, somebody that’s very dear to my heart,” Hackett said. “But at the same time, we’ve got to stop him.”
Hackett said that while his defense has played great – yielding an average of 12 points – Adams is a “great, great challenge for all. And it’s not just going to be one guy, it’s going to take the whole team to know where he is and how to stop him.”
But Adams has been somewhat quiet over the past two weeks. After catching 10 passes for 141 yards in the opener, Adams has just seven catches for 48 yards the last two weeks for his least productive two-game stretch since his second season in Green Bay in 2015.
That’s not what people expected when the Raiders traded first- and second-round picks to the Packers for Adams this offseason, reuniting him with his college quarterback, Derek Carr.
“They didn’t see this together when they played before in college,” McDaniels said of the coverage focused on Adams. “That’s not what happened. So, they’re getting these different things and some of which Davante is more used to because he’s been played a little bit more like that. Now it’s the two of them getting used to it together.
“We have a responsibility to help those two guys continue to be productive as well. So, we’re all in it together.”