Former Raiders Exec Rips Antonio Pierce: ‘Can He Just Shut Up?’

Former Raiders Exec Rips Antonio Pierce: ‘Can He Just Shut Up?’

It’s early in Antonio Pierce’s tenure as Las Vegas Raiders head coach but he’s already facing some blowback. Pierce has been outspoken about wanting to embrace the Raiders’ tradition and that’s rubbing some people the wrong way, including former team executive Michael Lombardi.

He took Pierce to task and had some strong words for the coach.

“This guy is driving me crazy,” Lombardi said of Pierce on the February 22 episode of “The GM Shuffle podcast.” “Can he just shut up? Why won’t somebody in the Raiders tell him to shut up?”

Lombardi went even further in his bashing of Pierce.

“The ‘Raider Way’ isn’t a word,” Lombardi said. “It’s about ‘this a prototype of the player we want at this position. This is a prototype of a player we want at that position.’ That’s the Raider Way. What’s so comical is what he’s talking about is because he’s from Compton, he thinks he knows the Raider Way. It’s a joke.”

It’s important to note that Lombardi’s son Mick was the Raiders’ offensive coordinator last season before getting fired along with head coach Josh McDaniels. Lombardi was also fired by the team in 2007 so he has no reason to say nice things about the franchise. That said, any criticism he has of the team should be taken with a grain of salt.

Ryan Clark Defends Antonio Pierce

While there have been people like Michael Lombardi who have been critical of Antonio Pierce, he also has avid defenders. Former NFL safety Ryan Clark came out and defended the coach while questioning Lombardi’s intent.

“Watch the tape & study the physicality of the run game, effort of the defense,” Clark wrote in a February 28 X post. “He took an emotionally dead team & made them winners in the last 9 games. Guess you’re more interested in making sure MEN never earn their way from Compton!”

Current and former players think very highly of Pierce but he has work to do to win over the media. He’s embraced the Raiders tradition, which is always going to annoy some people but all that matters is if the people in Las Vegas are happy with him. So far, it doesn’t seem like owner Mark Davis has any regrets about hiring him.

Antonio Pierce Has a Lot to Prove

Antonio Pierce went 5-4 in his stint as the interim head coach last season so he doesn’t have a long resume to back up his talk. As Pierce said throughout the end of last season, his resume is on the grass. He’s aware that he can talk all he wants but needs to back it up with how the team plays.

Pierce is off to a good start. He turned around the Raiders last season after Josh McDaniels was fired and did well enough to earn endorsements from team captains like Maxx Crosby and Davante Adams. There are still a lot of unknowns with Pierce as he’s only been coaching in the NFL for two years. Early signs point to him being successful but the Raiders have had two winning seasons since 2002. He’s got an uphill battle to bring this team back to prominence.

 

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