Josh McDaniels is not actively attempting to bring "The Patriot Way" to the desert. While in the early process of OTAs, he's letting his players and staff create their own culture.
The Las Vegas Raiders have a collection of old and new faces that are trying to get on the right page ahead of Training Camp. This offseason has been one of headlines for the Raiders with the many trades and signings that have transpired, the most notable ones involving All-Pros Davante Adams and Chandler Jones.
Thursday morning was the first day of media access for the offseason program, and while still extremely early in the process, McDaniels is pleased with how things are coming together.
"The effort that they put in, the time that they put in, how much they demand of themselves – which I think you have to do before you can start pushing other people – it just speaks for itself," he told the media. " And then there's a lot of players that are following the right people. Excited about this group, pleased with what they're doing so far. Still got a long way to go and eager to see how that's going to turn out as we go through the rest of the spring."
McDaniels didn't just describe how pleased he is with his players, but also his staff in helping maximize the players' talents and abilities. The six-time Super Bowl champion is cognizant that it will be a full operation to continually reach great heights within the Raiders organization.
"I've been looking forward to an opportunity like this for a couple years now and I'm so blessed to have the staff that we have and the group that we have working, and the support staff that we have around me," said McDaniels. "They make my job easy. I'm just trying to keep us on schedule and on time and those kind of things, but I couldn't say enough things about the staff here.
"The strength and conditioning guys, the trainers, the equipment people that make this thing go – they do a tremendous job. Then our coaching staff is doing a great job. They're here real early, they're here late at night making sure all the information is prepared. I feel like I've learned a lot. I feel like it's slowed down for me, for sure. Doesn't mean anything at this point in time of the year, doesn't have any bearing on what's going to happen down the road, but definitely feel a comfort level now in terms of understanding what my role is and how to do it better."
Even with the new changes taking place within the building, McDaniels has been leaning on the team's established leaders such as Derek Carr, Maxx Crosby and Darren Waller for creating a team culture that is unique. While there's been rumblings of McDaniels attempting to copy the New England style he knows well, McDaniels recognized that "[i]t's hard for anybody to leave there and try to replicate everything that happens there."
The head coach has been vocal about the way things will be handled in his second head coaching stint, and is focused on being true to himself rather than chasing an old recipe of success.
"I think we have a good thing going in terms of the direction that we've started things in," said McDaniels. "The football part of it and the belief in how to win and some of the strategy and those kind of things, very much what I know. But the interpersonal interactions each day, the flow of the day, some of those other things that you could choose to copy if you wanted to – we have a lot of great people, like I said, and so being able to give them their responsibilities, they know what their roles are and let them go do their jobs is really important for me.
"It's really important for them to know that I support them and I'm just here to be a resource and try to help them if I can. If I can't, then I'm going to learn from them. It's been great in terms of just trying to put that into motion here. I think the players and coaches know it's not going to be that way."
In layman's terms:
"I'm not Bill [Belichick] and I can't be. I'm just going to try to be myself and hopefully I can be a good leader for our team."
View the best photos from the third day of the Las Vegas Raiders' OTAs at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center.