The Raiders are just three weeks into their first season with Josh McDaniels, and to say things aren't going well would be an understatement. The Raiders are currently the NFL's only 0-3 team and if they can't beat the Broncos on Sunday, they'll fall to 0-4.
McDaniels would probably love to beat Denver for two reasons: Not only would it give him his first win as Raiders coach, but it would also give him a win over the team that once fired him.
Back in 2009, McDaniels was hired to coach the Broncos, and if you believe one former player who was in Denver at the time, the coaching stint was a total disaster. With Denver and Las Vegas facing each other this week, former Broncos offensive lineman Tyler Polumbus decided to stoke the flames of the rivalry by pointing out why everyone in Denver hated playing for McDaniels.
One of McDaniels' first big moves as Broncos coach came in April 2009 when he traded Jay Cutler away to the Bears. At the time, it appeared McDaniels might have been slightly overconfident about his ability to succeed with any quarterback.
"After trading away the young nucleus of our offense including Jay Cutler, Josh said to the entire team 'Fellas don't worry about the QB situation, I can turn a HS QB into an All Pro,'" Polumbus wrote on Twitter.
It's possible McDaniels' confidence was high because he had just helped lead the Patriots to an 11-5 record in 2008 even though Tom Brady was out for nearly the entire season (Brady was injured in the first quarter of the first game and Matt Cassel ended up being the starter for the rest of the season).
Besides being overconfident about his system, Polumbus also pointed out that McDaniels treated the players like kids.
"After completing training camp with fully padded two a days as often as was legal, he hyped up a special reward after practice," Polumbus wrote. "It was an ice cream truck and a t-shirt that said 'Ironman.' Our reward was ice cream….thanks for the creamsicle."
Polumbus then pointed out that McDaniels started each day by ripping everyone on the team, which doesn't seem like a great way to build team chemistry.
"Every single day began with a 10 minute bad football reel from the day before where he would DOG cuss you and your coach for any bad play from practice 24 hours ago," Polumbus wrote on Twitter. "Set the tone for a real positive day in front of entire team."
Polumbus also shared a wild story about an assistant coach who wanted nothing to do with McDaniels.
"After the season, I had an exit interview with my coach," Polumbus wrote. "He spent 10 minutes telling me everything I sucked at but he looked so depressed and miserable that when he was done I didn't care what he said about my play, I was concerned for him."
So how does this story end?
“Coach are you alright”. Response.. “That’s a hard man to work for”. Me..”So are you coming back?” Coach..”Hell no.” Me..”you getting fired or leaving?” Coach..”I don’t care but I’m getting the hell out of here”— Tyler Polumbus (@Tyler_Polumbus) September 29, 2022
Polumbus has clearly been waiting quite some time to get all of this off his chest.
Polumbus spent his entire 2009 season with the Broncos and ended up starting eight games for them on the offensive line. In 2010, he was cut by McDaniels just before the start of the season.
Although Polumbus did share his least favorite things about McDaniels, he did add that the former Broncos coach knows football "as well as anyone," but that he didn't know how to handle people. McDaniels was fired by the Broncos in 2010, just 12 games into his second season.
For his part, McDaniels admitted earlier this year that he wasn't exactly a people-person while he was in Denver.
"When I went to Denver, I knew a little bit of football," McDaniels said back on Jan. 31, via Boston.com. "I didn't really know people and how important that aspect of this process and maintaining the culture and building the team was. I failed, and I didn't succeed at it. Looking at that experience has been one of the best things in my life in terms of my overall growth as a person, as a coach."
McDaniels might have grown as a person, but Raiders fans probably aren't going to care about that growth if he doesn't start winning games.