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Raiders’ new leaders have plan for partnership: ‘Our vision is clear’

It’s a given the Raiders’ future success is predicated on the working relationship of their two new hires: Coach Antonio Pierce and general manager Tom Telesco.

The way the two formulate a collective vision and convey it throughout the organization will set the stage for their first season together.

“To win a championship is more than just the head coach and general manager,” Telesco said. “It takes everybody.”

It still starts with Telesco and Pierce, whose first interaction came four days ago when Telesco interviewed for the job.

It’s been a whirlwind ever since. The Raiders’ new leaders have begun evaluating the current roster, interviewing potential assistant coaches and meeting with the club’s pro and college personnel staffers.

The connection they form throughout that process will determine how successful their football team will be.

“I think it’s going to be a partnership that we can grow forward for many years,” Pierce said. “Hopefully, that comes with a lot of W’s and a lot of Raider chants. Our vision is clear.”

Telesco, who spent the last 11 seasons as the Chargers general manager, said the Raiders will be built in in their coach’s image. Telesco has the final say on personnel decisions. But he will make choices that reflect Pierce’s wants and needs.

“I think your football team takes on the identity of your head coach,” Telesco said. “And that’s what we’re going to have here.”

Pierce has a strong vision of what he wants the roster to look like. Some of the characteristics he is looking for are the same ones he drew out of a team that finished 5-4 under his watch when he was interim coach.

“Our philosophy is simple,” Pierce said. “It’s the Raider way. Pride, poise, passionate, a love for the game, and just win. It starts with our DNA: Ill intent, physicality, toughness, speed, attitude, full-blown Maxx Crosby effort. It goes to our staff with preparation and execution and putting a plan together and executing throughout the week with a smile and a purpose to get a victory on every Sunday that we show up to Allegiant Stadium.”

Telesco and Pierce’s comments are hopeful words for a Raiders franchise that has not always had synergy between the front office and coaching staff.

Jon Gruden picked Mike Mayock to be his general manager, but the two had constant friction. That led to some wild hits and misses in the draft and free agency.

Josh McDaniels and Dave Ziegler came to the Raiders as partners in 2022, but that didn’t protect them from disagreements that led to unwise decisions.

Telesco and Pierce will have their battles — that’s both natural and healthy in any sort of collaboration — but by building trust and respect, those disagreements will be easier to navigate.

The process of building that begins now.

“I’ve got a lot of learning to do right now to get up to speed with everything in the building and then to get up to speed with the whole roster,” Telesco said. “It’s just a big difference knowing them as opponents and knowing them as the GM of this team. Got a lot of work to do coming up here. But thankfully, AP is here, so that’s going to make the transition a lot smoother.”

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

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