While players and coaches have a little break away from Intermountain Health Performance Center before Training Camp, the grind hasn't stopped for Josh McDaniels.
The Raiders head coach is about to embark on a pivotal season, with ample talent at his disposal. The team added playmakers to both sides of the ball in Marcus Epps, Jakobi Meyers, Jimmy Garoppolo and draft picks Tyree Wilson and Michael Mayer, to name a few.
McDaniels recently spoke with The 33rd Team analyst and Raiders former MVP winning quarterback Rich Gannon on the current status of the team and how they can improve from 2022.
"We have a great player in Maxx Crosby and we have some other guys who did some things for us last year, but we want to try and add to our group in ways where we felt we could be more explosive," said McDaniels. "Create negative situations with the [defensive] front and create more turnovers and takeaway opportunities by getting our hands on the ball. That was a real focus for us as we went into the offseason.
"There were really good stretches where we ran the ball very well. Obviously, Josh [Jacobs] had a great year," McDaniels said reflecting on the 2022 campaign. "I thought our offensive line improved as the season wore on. We turned the ball over too much and anytime you lose the turnover margin as many times as we did during the course of the season, it's hard to overcome that too many times and end winning more of those games than you lose. So, protecting the football obviously got to be paramount for us as we go into this season."
McDaniels also went into detail about the Raiders rookie class and quarterback situation. The staff aimed to find young players who have a high football IQ, with seven of the nine draft picks having been team captains in college and several named All-Americans.
"We went into the draft trying to acquire as many tough, smart, mature, explosive players that we could. Those were the words we kept using over again," he told Gannon. "It's the kind of football team we want to build."
This year, the Silver and Black will have a new starting quarterback for the first time since 2014. It'll also be McDaniels' fifth straight season with a new starting quarterback in his offense.
He believes the quarterback room is already establishing great chemistry, with veteran leaders Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer helping out second-year UDFA Chase Garbers and 2023 fifth-round pick Aidan O'Connell. The head coach is looking forward to what camp will bring for the QBs, especially being reunited with Garoppolo for the first time since 2016.
"Our quarterbacks will ultimately be judged like the head coach will be – how many games do we win or lose," said McDaniels. "Really like Jimmy Garoppolo, I've obviously been fond of him since we drafted him in New England. He's got a lot of strengths that've obviously been on display in San Francisco for the last so many years. He's won a lot of games and has played at a high level and taken his team to important games late in the year.
"Looking forward to working with all those guys. Really feel good about what we tried to accomplish in the spring [with] what we were able to do and looking forward to Training Camp."
View photos of the Las Vegas Raiders quarterbacks heading into 2023 Training Camp.