Raiders’ Mark Davis says Antonio Pierce is a players’ coach but ‘has discipline’ too

New Raiders coach Antonio Pierce earned his players’ loyalty quickly as interim coach to close the 2023 campaign. By all accounts, he did so by relating to them as a former NFL player. As most know, Pierce won a Super Bowl with the Giants.

That’s the profile of a “players’ coach.” That’s a coach who wins favor with his roster by relating to them on a players’ level rather than simply relating to them as head coach.

Team owner Mark Davis told Vic Tafur of The Athletic that Pierce is more than that. Davis says Pierce is a disciplinarian as well.

“A players’ coach is a players’ coach, but (Pierce) is also someone who will discipline guys, as we saw during the season with Marcus Peters (who was released),” Davis said, “Antonio has compassion, but he also has discipline.

Antonio is more than just a players’ coach.”

The Raiders’ performance on the field under coach Pierce serves as backup to Davis’ assertion. Las Vegas committed the fewest penalties in the NFL during Pierce’s interim tenure. In two games, the Raiders weren’t called for a single flag.

A story from Pierce’s days as a high school coach is another example of his strict demeanor. According to the Fox broadcast of the Raiders’ win against the Giants, coach Pierce made his prep squad run sprints at halftime despite holding a 63-9 lead. They ended up winning 99-9.

Pierce’s disciplinary streak could be key to his success as the permanent coach in Las Vegas. For a coach to have staying power, he needs to set clear expectations for his roster as the man in charge, no matter how much he can relate to them as a player.

A social post from Raiders media provides a glimpse of Pierce’s coaching style as well, specifically how demanding he is during practice.

Whether Pierce’s coaching tactics will continue to work is an open question. But clearly, Davis believes he’s found the perfect coach to bring the brash style of play the Raiders were known for in the past along with the needed structure to thrive in today’s NFL.


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Story originally appeared on Raiders Wire