NFL

Raiders have rediscovered 'swagger' since replacing McDaniels with Pierce, says Harmon

By Sports Desk December 08, 2023

The Las Vegas Raiders made the right decision when they fired head coach Josh McDaniels last month and have got their "swagger" back under interim coach Antonio Pierce.

That is the view of three-time Super Bowl-winning safety Duron Harmon, who hopes Pierce gets a shot at leading the team on a full-time basis next season.

The Raiders parted company with coach McDaniels and general manager David Ziegler in early November, having made a 3-5 start to McDaniels' second season with the franchise.

Pierce has overseen something of an upturn since taking the reins, with the Raiders overcoming the New York Giants – with whom Pierce won Super Bowl XLII during his playing career – and the New York Jets before losing difficult games against the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Harmon, who was with the Raiders last year, believes the team are already seeing their decision pay off, telling Stats Perform: "I think [the owner] Mark Davis did the best thing. 

"I have a lot of respect for Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler. They allowed me to go out there and play and I enjoyed my time there. But you could just tell the team wasn't responding to the coach. 

"So they did the right thing by letting him go and hiring somebody on an interim basis, like Antonio Pierce, another man who's a great leader, a leader of men who could just kind of get the juices going back throughout the locker room.

"I think they've done that. They played the Dolphins tough. They beat the Jets, they beat the Giants, I believe. 

"Then they ran into the Chiefs [last week], which is a tough test for everybody. Amik [Robertson] and Devante [Adams] came out and said that basically, they beat themselves. When you watch the tape, you could probably agree with them. 

"The idea that they have this type of confidence now, it shows that they have a head coach that is giving them that swagger that they need."

The 5-7 Raiders are outside the playoff picture in the AFC with five games to play, but Harmon does not think the prospect of a postseason run is completely unrealistic. 

"Hopefully, they can maybe get on a little run and maybe sneak into playoffs," he added.

"I have a lot of great relationships over there, and I still talk to a lot of guys over there and they can't talk highly enough about the energy shift that has been since Antonio has taken over. 

"So, I wish those guys the best of luck. I think if all goes well, hopefully, they give AP a good hard look to make him not only the interim but the head coach for the future."

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