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Josh McDaniels Learns an Abject Lesson on the Uselessness of the 'Passionate Team Meeting'

By now you've no doubt seen this viral video. Where Monday Night Football cameras caught the exact moment playing for the Raiders broke his soul into a thousand pieces and scattered it to the wind.

Giphy Images.

How he's publicly admitted he came to Las Vegas to play with his pal Derek Carr and is now just trying to make the best of a situation that is out of his control. And here's how it's currently going for him:

And the offense of which he is the key part produced this statistical dog's breakfast:

  • Points scored: 7
  • Total yards: 157
  • Yards per play: 3.5
  • Pass completions, attempts: 10 for 21
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Sacks, yards: 6 for 49
  • Net passing yards: 77
  • Passer rating: 46.9
  • Total 1st downs: 12

But what to me is even more fascinating is that this abomination comes on the heels of the Raiders players and coaches agreeing to take a step that was meant to bring them all together, address their issues, air their grievances, iron out all their differences, and get their organization moving in the right direction in togetherly togetherishness: 

The dreaded Team Meeting. 

Not just any team meeting. But one that was both "passionate" and "cathartic." So basically the Quinella wager of desperate teams going nowhere. -Entering a critical stretch on the schedule, Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels yielded the floor at a team meeting on Thursday to players, allowing them to voice the frustrations that at times have bubbled over publicly during the team's 3-4 start to the season, per sources.

 Superstars Davante Adams, Maxx Crosby and Josh Jacobs were among the players who spoke up in the meeting, sources say. But players from every area of the roster took their turn, at times in a very passionate fashion, and addressed a variety of issues with nothing being off limits.

Sources familiar with the meeting say players roundly viewed it as cathartic -- a much-needed opportunity to get things off their chest and reset emotionally before the team travels to Detroit for a big Monday night game against the Lions.

So how's that emotional reset working out for you? 

After all these years in the NFL and now well into his second head coaching gig, Josh McDaniels still has a lot to learn, obviously. I wish I could remember who said it, there was some coach or MLB manager who knew what he was doing when he said he doesn't believe in holding team meetings because, "What happens if you go out and lose the next game?" Exactly. What happens to the Raiders now? What, do they hold another meeting that is even more "passionate" and "cathartic" than the last one, like some movie sequel that promises more action and higher stakes? Do they allow voiced frustrations that are even more frustrated? Bigger bubbles bubbled over? Less things left on chests? Even fewer limits? Fat lot of good that addressing issues did them when Jimmy Garoppolo was taking almost as many sacks as he completed passes. 

The Raiders just learned the hard way why you never do these things. Sure, it sounds good in theory to have an open, honenst discussion, with no regards for anyone's feelings. No egos spared. Just closing the door and hashing things out until their resolved, like adults. But I defy you to cite for me one example where that actually worked. 

That's the sort of brutal honesty that has been destroying group dynamics since ancient hunter-gatherers were sitting around campfires calling each other out for not pulling their weight at the mammoth hunt. In a business setting, it just breeds more resentment, cliqueiness, back-stabbing and general bitchiness. After I left WEEI they held a huge blowout that apparently got ugly as all hell, and by all accounts just raised the toxicity of the the work environment tenfold. Any family that's ever tried the totally open, totally honest "clear the air" discussion will tell you it's pretty much Festivus at the Costanza's. 

There's only one effective way to resolve a situation where you team, workplace or family is as dysfunctional as the Raiders seem to be. And that's for whoever is in charge to put their foot down and tell everyone this bullshit is going to end, NOW. Establish dominance. Take no prisoners. Allow no one to question your authority. Clamp down on all dissent. Threaten whenever necessary to achieve your aims. Above all else, let it be known that you are not running a democracy. That you are a dictator; and how benign a dictator you are is to be determined by the actions of your subjects. If they comply with your rules and dictates, it will do easy for them. If they test your power, they will be made examples of to the rest. An iron fist in a velvet glove. 

Sadly, it's too late for Josh McDaniels. This situation is not likely to turn around. Not even if they spend every day the rest of the season holding their little group therapy sessions. And since this is his second go-round at a head coach, it will undoubtedly be his last. Let's just hope he and Adams make it through with some shred of their sanity left.