Last week, owner Mark Davis and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in their new front office tandem after an unprecedented 2021 season. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler quickly got to work evaluating the roster and establishing a staff. While there are still pieces to be placed, here is what the two have accomplished since finding a home in Las Vegas.
The Front Office Gets Another Fresh Face
The Raiders had nine candidates in contention for the general manager position. After interviewing many big names, Mark Davis hired former New England Patriots Director of Player Personnel Dave Ziegler.
Despite finding his ideal guy, Mark Davis couldn’t shake the feeling that one of the other candidates belongs in Las Vegas as well. On Wednesday, Davis made that official and welcomed Champ Kelly onto the staff. Kelly will serve as the Raiders’ assistant general manager.
Previously, Las Vegas had not had an assistant general manager. Kelly’s interview left such a lasting impression on Davis that he found a way to welcome him to the Silver and Black by creating an assistant GM position.
Kelly’s resume includes seven seasons with the Chicago Bears, where he served as the Assistant Director of Player Personnel after spending two seasons as Chicago’s Director of Pro Scouting. His experience also includes time working for the Denver Broncos, working as an NFL contract advisor, and taking on the role of GM for a United Indoor Football team.
Kelly comes with high praise from former supervisors and players, most notably Khalil Mack. Mack, a former Raider himself, was outspoken about wanting Kelly to become Chicago’s next GM. Now, Kelly will be a staple in the front office that drafted Mack.
Filling in the Pieces
McDaniels and Ziegler addressed the media for the first time on Monday. Both parties stated they were just beginning to dive into the world of creating their own staff. McDaniels said he would do his due diligence by looking into the coaches already on staff and making his decisions from there.
Some of those decisions came on Wednesday, as McDaniels made his first hire at quarterbacks coach. Derek Carr’s new right-hand man will be Bo Hardegree. Hardegree is familiar with both McDaniels and Ziegler as he has worked with them both in Denver and New England.
Hardegree joins the Raiders fresh off his first season as a quality control and quarterbacks coach for the Patriots. He worked closely with rookie QB Mac Jones in 2021, propelling him to a potential Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
McDaniels has also decided to retain Raiders wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett. Bennett has served as the Raiders’ wide receivers coach for the last four seasons after serving as the Green Bay Packers’ offensive coordinator.
Bennett has overseen the development of Pro Bowl wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and Bryan Edwards. The former NFL running back turned coach has also shown extreme success with veteran wide receivers, leading former Raider Nelson Agholor to a career year during his only season in Las Vegas.
Stay tuned as McDaniels continues to put together a staff fit for a Super Bowl title.
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