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Raiders mailbag: Questions about Pierce, O’Connell, Harbaugh

Updated November 3, 2023 - 7:08 pm

A change came to the Raiders in a major way this week when coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler were fired. In their place are coach Antonio Pierce and GM Camp Kelly on an interim basis. Offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi also was fired and replaced by quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree. On the field, rookie Aidan O’Connell is now the starting quarterback, replacing Jimmy Garoppolo.

It’s understandable, then, that Raiders fans have plenty of questions.

Here is a sampling of what arrived in this week’s mailbag.

Raiderette T. (@Renee_1393): Do you think if Antonio Pierce can get the Raiders six wins, he has a true shot at the head coach position?

Vincent Bonsignore: In talking to Raiders owner Mark Davis, he is open-minded about where things will lead.

By NFL rules, the Raiders have to open their head coach and general manager positions to an extensive search, so no matter what happens in the next three months, there will be other candidates who can state their case.

bcz24 (@bcz24): Do you think Mark Davis will consider hiring a president of football operations? Will Tom Brady be involved with the GM/coaching search?

VB: In talking to people in the NFL, some are advising Davis to do just that, then let that person lead the search for the head coach. The key would be finding someone with practical experience building successful football organizations.

LVRaiders4life (@LVRaiders4lif3): Do you think we will see Jimmy Garoppolo start again this season, or is this an Aidan O’Connell offense?

VB: This is O’Connell’s job to lose, so his play will dictate whether it swings back to Garoppolo. Injuries can also play a role. But for now the Raiders are giving O’Connell a chance to establish himself as the starter.

O (@_OE_1): Should they get Jim Harbaugh as coach?

VB: Based on history — and certainly with what’s going on at Michigan — expect Harbaugh’s name to be bandied about as the next coach. He is the type of proven winner the Raiders should be looking at.

DREW (@a_venturaaaaa): How confident are you in Antonio Pierce leading the Raiders?

VB: What’s fascinating is the great unknown of all this. There is nothing to point to that suggests Pierce will or won’t be successful, so trying to predict what will happen is difficult.

Steph Fan (@steph_fanSC30): How’s Jimmy Garoppolo feeling after getting benched?

VB: He seemed in a good space in a brief visit this week. Also, he never looked completely healthy this season, especially after suffering a back injury three weeks ago. Being moved to backup could give his body a chance to heal, and if things circle back to him, perhaps he will be better off physically to take advantage.

Brent Shepherd (@BrentsBistro): When players talk about walking around on eggshells, was McDaniels just walking around muttering and yelling all the time?

VB: It felt as if it got to a point recently in which everyone was feeling an incredible amount of pressure to get things right and that someone would pay the ultimate price if it didn’t get turned around. That isn’t the best environment to work in, and that probably was felt across the building. And depending on how certain people react to that — McDaniels included — that reaction could create even more pressure and negativity. Hence, people were walking around on eggshells.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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