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    Will Antonio Pierce Be the Next Raiders Head Coach?

    The Las Vegas Raiders have done well under interim HC Antonio Pierce following Josh McDaniels' firing. Is it enough for him to be the team's next head coach?

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    The Las Vegas Raiders fired Josh McDaniels after Week 8 following the team’s loss to the Detroit Lions to drop to 3-5 on the season. McDaniels had signed a six-year deal in 2022 but only won nine of his 25 games as Las Vegas’ head coach.

    Following McDaniels’ firing, the Raiders promoted linebackers coach Antonio Pierce to interim HC for the remainder of the season. After his promotion, Pierce said, “This is a great opportunity for myself. I’m humbled, I’m honored, and I don’t take it lightly.”

    Now, seven games later, the interim head coach has proven that he and the Raiders should definitely not be taken lightly. Pierce and the Raiders have been on a roll, and they’re still in the hunt for the NFL playoffs following their Christmas shakeup in Kansas City.

    Las Vegas Raiders Have Been Hot Under Antonio Pierce

    Pierce and the Raiders scored, arguably, their biggest win together on Christmas Day, wearing down the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs 20-14 at Arrowhead Stadium.

    Since the change, the Raiders have taken on a new identity as a hard-nosed, lunch-pail bunch that prides on a physical brand of football — steering away from the balanced approach McDaniels tried.

    Well ahead of their win over Kansas City, the Raiders responded quickly to the coaching change. Pierce won his first two games as interim head coach against the New York Giants and New York Jets, respectively.

    NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Raiders owner Mark Davis noticed an energy change in the building and was surprised and impressed with how the team played in the first two games.

    After starting 2-0 under Pierce, the Raiders were hit with a brief roadblock. They lost three straight games to the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Minnesota Vikings.

    Nevertheless, Las Vegas was competitive in all three contests. Unfortunately, the loss against the Vikings gained attention because the Raiders lost 3-0.

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    The following week, Las Vegas played the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night and scored the game’s first 49 points. The Raiders went on to win 63-21 to move to 3-3 under Pierce.

    After the win, wide receiver Davante Adams praised his head coach.

    “AP’s a dog. When you’re in the shoes we’re in now, it helps a lot. He understands the mindset. He understands the goal we have as a team, and I think everybody has rallied around him real tight to make sure he knows that we’ve got his back.”

    Is Pierce in Line To Be Head Coach?

    There is no indication that the Raiders have made a decision on Pierce’s future with the team after the season. Before this season, his only experience as head coach was in high school for four years.

    However, his chances of taking the full reins just increased after frustrating Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and newfound Chiefs superfan and Grammy winner Taylor Swift and company.

    “I think he should be the head coach next year,” CBS Sports color commentator Tony Romo said toward the end of the Raiders’ road win.

    Fox NFL Sunday analyst Michael Strahan was another who endorsed Pierce, taking notice of the renewed energy his former Giants teammate has brought to the Raiders’ locker room.

    Pierce played linebacker for nine NFL seasons, five with the Giants and four with Washington. He was named to one Pro Bowl and won a Super Bowl with New York.

    Pierce retired after the 2009 season and started his coaching career at Long Beach Poly High School in 2014. In 2018, he moved to Arizona State to be the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator under head coach Herman Edwards.

    Pierce, who played at rival Arizona, was promoted to be the Sun Devils defensive coordinator and associate head coach in 2020. He then joined the Raiders to be the team’s linebackers coach for the 2022 season.

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    Now, Pierce has the Raiders still alive in the AFC playoff race. Las Vegas not only handed the Chiefs their sixth loss of the season, but they also got an assist from the New England Patriots thanks to their 26-23 win over the Denver Broncos, putting the Raiders in control of second in the division.

    On Pierce’s end, he’s positioned himself as the new favorite to take control of Las Vegas’ open head coaching job.

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