Michael Lombardi Says Antonio Pierce “Owes a Debt of Complete Gratitude” to One Person in the Raiders’ Organization

The decision to promote Antonio Pierce to the interim head coach on the first day of November was one of the best decisions the Raiders have made as an organization in a long time.

The Raiders closed out the season under Pierce with a 5-4 record and beat all three division rivals in the process.

Pierce has earned well-deserved praise for the Raiders’ turnaround, but NFL insider Michael Lombardi said last week on the VSiN Network that there is one person in the organization that Pierce owes a debt of gratitude to for his success.

“[Antonio] Pierce came in and was able to get the wins and I think to me, winning five games, I’m not sure that team was really talented. I think the unsung hero in all this, who really Antonio Pierce owes a debt of complete gratitude to, is Pat Graham.

Pat Graham’s defense was sensational, and people might think that Antonio Pierce was involved with the defense, you know, as the linebacker coach, I’m sure, but it was Pat Graham’s defense and [Graham] did a wonderful job of fixing the defense…

They were able to play a little ‘bend but don’t break’ early in the season, but then as they got more confidence, they were able to attack. They still need corners, but Pat Graham is really the reason why Antonio Pierce was able to get over that hump. The defense played well.

Let’s face it, in Kansas City [the defense got] 14 points alone. The offense struggled. I think if they probably made a change at quarterback in the Minnesota game, the 3-0 game, we might be talking about them as a wild card seed.”

It might also be worth mentioning that some of Graham’s success in the second half of the season was probably the result of Pierce giving him more freedom to do what he wanted with the defense.

NFL Network’s Buddy Brooks talked about that dynamic in December on NFL Gameday

“Patrick Graham has been freed up to play the kind if style that he wants to play. We’ve seen this defense get better and better [in] the seven games that AP has been in charge, and a lot of that was kind of coming into fruition anyway, but Antonio Pierce has given this team a lot of confidence while still maintaining the discipline and detail that you need.”

Bottom line… Pierce and Graham work well together, and the Raiders are in a much better place as a team because of it.

twitter: @raidersbeat

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14 thoughts on “Michael Lombardi Says Antonio Pierce “Owes a Debt of Complete Gratitude” to One Person in the Raiders’ Organization

  1. Lombardi is a Fraud… if he EVER knew anything about Football it has left his feeble mind Many years ago. He spends all of his time rewriting history in an attempt to salvage his ill-gotten reputation. He also defends his know nothing sons. Among many other things he did to disrupt the Raiders while he was there was to tell Al Davis that Randy Moss could not run and traded him to his buddy from Cleveland, Bill BellyCheat for basically nothing. Lombardi was actually banned from practice by the Raider Head Coach for “Rooting against the team” there is much more if you want to know the truth about the Lombardi’s. He is a Sports bettor and not good at that either…

    1. Lmao bro went in on Lombardi. No lies told tho. And he’s sadly mistaken… Raiders could’ve won the Vikings AND Colts games and still would’ve missed the playoffs at 10-7 because PIT had tie breaker over them.

    2. Key is keeping Grahm! Get Benemy from Chiefs, get Baker Mayfield or kirk cousins, draft best qb available, then offensive line and cornerbacks!

    3. Lombardi is not a fraud. AP is only a 9 game interim coach. Not a proven winner. He only got hired because Davis didn’t want to lose Crosby or Adams. On the job training HC is unacceptable when others qualified were available.

      1. He was going to AP reguardless of Maxx Crosby said and Crot knew it Mark Davis even mentioned it that is why he only interviewed two people it was always AP came out of Mark Davis mouth he just had to wait. At some time or another every coach started as a rookie coach.

        1. Exactly bro some ppl doesn’t think before they open their mouth. he doesn’t have any experience. Really every coach was a rookie at one time.

  2. OFFENSE WIN GAMES. BUT DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS.. ONCE WE GET A MOBIL QB AND MORE RELIABLE WRS. KEEP JACOBS RB. AND FEW CORNER BACKS. 2 YEARS WE IN SUPER BOWL. YES. I BELIEVE BACK IN MY RAIDER’S…. COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE.. JUST WIN BABY

    1. More reliable WRs? Can you elaborate because a lot of teams would love to have our pass catchers? I think if you get someone who is a true burner(gadget) guy, a solid QB could do a lot of damage with our wr group.

  3. The Raiders finally made some great moves by firing J.M. and naming Antonio Pierce as head coach. Now if the Raiders want a better year of football leave the coaching staff as is and let A.P. pick his I own coaching staff if he wants to change anything. If the Raiders do this I think we’ll have a better result next season.

  4. Who gives a crap what Lombardi has to say about anything to do with the Raiders. This guy is a McDaniels boot licker who has zero credibility.

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