After a successful offseason acquiring talent and promising draft picks, many people wouldn't expect that Raiders would be sitting at 2-5 nearing the midway point of the season.
But General Manager Dave Ziegler, who's leading the operation for the Silver and Black for the first time this season, noted that while frustrations can be justified, he's not pressing the panic button.
"We're 2-5. As a fan of the team, your expectations are high every year," Ziegler said while addressing the media Wednesday morning in Sarasota, Florida. "When you start the year, you want your team to get off to a fast start. You want your team to compete in the playoffs. You want your team to win the Super Bowl. And so, the frustration from the fan base is totally warranted, and I can appreciate their passion. And for me and for Josh [McDaniels] and for the organization, there's nothing more than we want than to win football games and to see this fan base get what they deserve, which is a consistent winner. The frustration is warranted.
"I'd say, we're seven games in to a new regime, a new organization, a new way of doing things," continued Ziegler. "And for us up to this point, it hasn't gone as quick as we would have liked it to go. But we're not wavering in our approach and we're going to stick with our plan, improve it as we go along. We're confident that the results will come."
Ziegler's confidence in the team is assured. He and Josh McDaniels come from a winning tradition with the New England Patriots, with success coming in the form of multiple Super Bowl trophies. The duo brought in some key players from their run in New England – including Brandon Bolden, Jakob Johnson and Duron Harmon – to help establish the culture in the locker room.
They also sought out a couple of veteran stars in Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers and Chandler Jones from the Arizona Cardinals. Not to mention hitting on offensive linemen Dylan Parham and Thayer Munford Jr. in the 2022 NFL Draft, both of whom have started games this season.
Ziegler has been adamant about putting pieces around Derek Carr, who signed a multi-year extension in April. Carr has thrown for over 1,600 passing yards and nine touchdowns this season, including reaching the 200 career passing touchdown mark.
"He competes very hard, and I think he's done a lot of good things," Ziegler said of Carr. "I think he's improved as the season went on. We have to help the quarterback too. We have to be able to get open. Like we talked about, we have to have good protection.
"Whether it's him or another player, they all need to continue to work to improve, but I think Derek's done a good job. I think he's done a good job leading the team. I think he's done a good job managing the game, and like I said, with him and every other player, we want to see continued improvement."
Despite the team's current record, the general manager has been "impressed" with the job McDaniels has been doing in his first season leading the Raiders. He praised the head coach's ability to coach up and help improve players – naming Divine Deablo, Tre’von Moehrig, Andre James and Josh Jacobs as a few.
"I would say, when you're 2-5, you really get tested. Your leadership really gets tested. Your approach really gets tested, and I've just been really impressed with how Josh has handled that," Ziegler said of McDaniels. "His consistency with the team, his messaging with the team, his attitude. He continues to teach. I see players continue to improve under not only Josh's watch, but the rest of the coaching staff's watch. I think the game management has been good. And I think he's had a good plan every week. We have to execute the plan."
"I think the one thing, again, I'll mention because I think it's really important is, I've seen a lot of players improve here under him and his coaches' watch," Ziegler added. "And again, the results are the results, we're 2-5. So, none of us have done a good enough job, myself included. We're going to continue to put pressure on ourselves to get those results, and we'll see where it's all at when we get to the end of the season."
The Raiders hit the practice field in Florida as they prepare for their Week 9 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.