The Raiders are only three weeks into their first season under Josh McDaniels, and to say things aren’t looking good would be an understatement. The Raiders are currently the only 0-3 team in the NFL and if they can’t beat the Broncos on Sunday, they will fall to 0-4.
McDaniels would probably like to beat Denver for two reasons: Not only would it give him his first win as Raiders coach, but it would also give him a win over the team that once fired him.
In 2009, McDaniels was hired to coach the Broncos, and if you believe a former player who was in Denver at the time, the coaching job was a total disaster. With Denver and Las Vegas head to head this week, former Broncos offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus decided to fan the flames of rivalry by pointing out why everyone in Denver hated playing for McDaniels.
One of McDaniels’ first big moves as Broncos coach came in April 2009 when he traded Jay Cutler to the Bears. At the time, it looked like McDaniels was perhaps a little overconfident about his ability to be successful with any quarterback.
“After trading the young core of our offense including Jay Cutler, Josh told the entire team ‘Guys don’t worry about the QB situation, I can turn an HS QB into an All Pro,'” wrote Polumbus on Twitter.
It’s possible McDaniels’ confidence was high because he had just helped the Patriots to an 11-5 record in 2008, even though Tom Brady was out for most of the season (Brady was injured in the first quarter of the first game and Matt Cassel finished starting for the rest of the season).
Besides being overconfident in his system, Polumbus also pointed out that McDaniels treated players like children.
“After finishing training camp with two days fully padded as often as legal, he offered a special post-practice reward,” Polumbus said. wrote. “It was an ice cream truck and a t-shirt that said ‘Ironman’. Our reward was ice cream…thanks for the ice cream.”
Polumbus then pointed out that McDaniels started each day by tearing everyone up on the team, which doesn’t seem like a great way to build team chemistry.
“Each day started with a bad 10-minute football reel of the day before where he insulted you and your coach for any bad play in practice 24 hours ago,” Polumbus said. wrote on Twitter. “Set the tone for a really positive day in front of the whole team.”
Polumbus also shared a crazy story about an assistant coach who wanted nothing to do with McDaniels.
“After the season I had an exit interview with my coach,” Polumbus wrote. “He spent 10 minutes telling me how bad I was, but he looked so depressed and miserable that when he was done I didn’t care what he said about my game, I I was worried about him.”
So how does this story end?
Polumbus clearly waited a while to get rid of all of this.
Polumbus spent his entire 2009 season with the Broncos and ended up starting eight games for them on the offensive line. In 2010 he was cut by McDaniels just before the start of the season.
Although Polumbus shared his least favorite things about McDaniels, he added that the former Broncos coach knows football “as well as anyone” but doesn’t know how to handle people. McDaniels was fired by the Broncos in 2010, just 12 games into his second season.
For his part, McDaniels admitted earlier this year that he wasn’t exactly a people person while in Denver.
“When I went to Denver, I knew a little about football,” McDaniels said Jan. 31 via Boston.com. “I didn’t really know the people and how important that aspect of that process, maintaining the culture and building the team was. I failed and I didn’t succeed. Watching that experience was one of the best things in my life in terms of overall growth as a person, as a coach.”
McDaniels may have grown as a person, but Raiders fans probably won’t care about that growth if he doesn’t start winning games.