Raiders' Josh McDaniels Creating Culture That Isn't 'Patriot Way,' Duron Harmon Says

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 13, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAR 02: Head coach, Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 2, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

In his first year at the helm, head coach Josh McDaniels isn't trying to turn the Las Vegas Raiders into the New England Patriots West.

Appearing on Good Morning Football on Wednesday, Raiders safety Duron Harmon commented on how McDaniels isn't trying to copy the Bill Belichick blueprint behind the scenes.

"He's trying to create a culture that is not the Patriot Way," Harmon said. "He's said it over and over."

Legendary coaches tend to have uneven coaching trees because their disciples leave and attempt to recreate whatever ecosystem they just left in the belief the structure is immediately transferable.

One reason the Patriot Way works in New England is players inevitably buy in when the head coach is a six-time Super Bowl champion. It also helps that Belichick is one of the greatest ever at what he does.

Attempting to copy the Belichick playbook is a little more difficult if you're, say, Matt Patricia.

Reporting for Bleacher Report in November 2020, Kalyn Kahler wrote how the Detroit Lions had become a mess behind the scenes under Patricia. And one reason was he was attempting to institute the Patriot Way in the Motor City.

While he attempted to distance himself from Belichick a bit, Joe Judge's attempt to turn the New York Giants into a version of the Patriots was similarly ineffective.

Ryan Dunleavy @rydunleavy

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Patriots?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Patriots</a> style practices were not popular, even among players who liked Judge. Only got more unpopular are injuries mounted. But <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Giants?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Giants</a> are among leaders in <a href="https://twitter.com/ManGamesLostNFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ManGamesLostNFL</a> since 2009. Not just a 2-year issue <a href="https://t.co/AetNCSgS3h">https://t.co/AetNCSgS3h</a>

There's no doubt McDaniels will attempt to cherry-pick some of what he thinks to be the best tactics Belichick deployed. His brief time as head coach of the Denver Broncos—he went 11-17 over two years—might have helped him see how much he needs to forge an identity independent from his last stop, though.

Harmon, who spent seven seasons with the Patriots, is presumably aware of that as well. He joined Patricia in Detroit for the 2020 campaign and saw how that worked out.

McDaniels will ultimately be judged on how the Raiders perform on the field. For now, it looks like he's taking the right steps to set up the franchise for success.