McDaniels and the Raiders Tried to Make the Most of HOF Trip

It’s not often that an NFL team has the honor of playing in the Hall of Fame Game.

Of course, for Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, the trip was nothing new, as he had grown up in the city of Canton and played for Canton McKinley High School.

McDaniels knew, however, that this was a special opportunity for the entire team, and he, his staff, and players, sought to make the most of it while they were there.

“I thought our guys went there with the right mentality,” McDaniels said in a virtual media availability on Friday. “We know we went a day early, and we went a day early for a reason. We wanted to go see the unveiling of the Marion Motley statue there in front of the Hall of Fame, which I think our guys really appreciated that and the history behind it.

“And then to be able to go through the Hall of Fame and take our time and really take in some of the history and tradition of the game, I really enjoyed watching them go through it and literally just stop and read the things that were there to be read and just learn about the game. Look, they’re all a part of it now. And so I thought our guys really got a lot out of the trip interpersonally and professionally understanding the league a little better and the great players and coaches and people who have made our game so great for so long.

“That was our hope and goal when we decided to do this. I thought the other thing that happened was I thought they were all ready to go by the time we played the game [Thursday] night. So going there two days early, you never know exactly how that’s going to go, but I didn’t think that affected our mindset and approach to the game at all. So overall, I was very pleased with what we got out of the trip and the way our guys approached it.”

McDaniels also looked to take advantage of the honor on the field as well. On the Raiders’ first offensive play of the game, quarterback Jarrett Stidham looked to go deep, which was an attempt to pay homage to 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Cliff Branch and franchise legend Al Davis.

“That was a staple,” McDaniels said. “Cliff was a fast guy — obviously made a bunch of big plays in his career; big important plays in big important games. That’s why he’s going into the Hall of Fame here [Saturday]. And I know Mr. Davis — both Mr. Davises — are big fans of the long ball. So, yes, that was an ode to the Raiders, Cliff Branch, and the way that Mr. Davis — both of them — enjoy that type of play.”

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