After they defeated the New York Giants on Sunday, Davante Adams was hanging on his every word in the locker room.
More importantly so was every other member of the Las Vegas Raiders.
It seems the team has felt rejuvenated by interim head coach Antonio Pierce presence after firing head coach Josh McDaniels.
Pierce was a linebacker for the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, winning a Super Bowl with New York in 2007. After retiring the 2006 Pro Bowler became an ESPN NFL analyst. He soon became an assistant coach for Arizona State. He became a part of McDaniels’ staff in 2022.
The Raiders locker room was a mess under McDaniels. McDaniels’ long meetings and his blaming of players for his inept play calling led to many team leaders voicing concern to owner, Mark Davis.
Davis choose to go with Pierce who had the voice and respect of the players in the locker room. It was evident in their performance against the Giants with the offense scoring 30 points for the first time all season and the defense registering 8 sacks and 2 interceptions.
Pierce does have a serious chance at getting the permanent head coaching job. In 2021, Rich Bisaccia led the Raiders to a 7-5 record and the playoffs, after taking over for Jon Gruden. Despite player encouragement, Davis went with McDaniels who went 9-16. Last season, Steve Wilks took over in Carolina going 6-6.
Instead of going with Wilks, the Panthers hired Frank Reich.
The Panthers are now 1-8.
Davis needs to look deep with the locker room’s positive reactions to Pierce and strongly consider him for head coach.
He doesn’t have to look hard.
After the victory over the Giants, the locker room was filled with a cigar celebration for a new day and opportunity for the both the team and Pierce.