Reggie McKenzie is not messing around. Neither is Mark Davis, that’s why he hired McKenzie. Since McKenzie’s arrival the only thing constant has been change and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Not with a long list of overpaid and underperforming players still collecting checks in Oakland.
Yesterday’s abrupt release of Stanford Routt said it all.
Yes, Raider Nation, we’re looking at another rebuilding process. Get your winter rations ready because we could be weathering another chilling season of football.
McKenzie and Mark Davis are out to undo the financial damage caused by Al Davis. Yes, Al was a football mind unlike any other and he did have this franchise headed in the right direction. Problem is Al Davis also had a burning desire to win his way. Ironic when you consider that iconic motto of ‘Just win, baby’. In reality it should read ‘Just win the Al Davis way, baby’.
Davis still had a sharp eye for talent. Nobody else in the football world saw a shutdown corner in a safety at Cal-Berkley named Nnamdi Asomugha. Davis did. Nobody else was willing to give Michael Bush a paid year of rehab just to kick the tires on a Heisman candidate turned project. David did.
Davis also did plenty of babying for his pet projects. Nobody else would have insisted on JaMarcus Russell being forced into a role he was nowhere near prepared for. Davis did. Nobody else would have rewarded numerous defensive players with handsome raises despite some very underwhelming performances. Davis did.
Al Davis was many things to football and was everything to the Oakland Raiders. For better or worse, things were done the Davis way. When the Davis method worked it was maverick genius and football poetry. When the Davis method fell flat, it was a football hell reserved for Lions fans and supporters of Ryan Leaf.
As of yesterday, not a single player on the Oakland roster should feel safe. Reggie McKenzie has made it clear that there will be no more pet projects. If you’re clocking major scratch yet aren’t performing at a level relative to your pay then your time could be limited, Kamerion Wimbley. If you’re living off your draft status and not your actual performance then your days in the East Bay could be done, Rolando McClain.
Yes, Raider Nation, McKenzie is hitting the ‘Reset’ button. Doesn’t matter if you were about to beat the game. Doesn’t matter if you just got an extra man. The scholarship game is over, for better or for worse.
In the long term the forthcoming moves will be vital and necessary in order for the Oakland Raiders to be viable contenders in the NFL once again. In the short term it will be more of the constant rebuild and overhaul process.
Mark Davis knew what was necessary to get his franchise out of the red. If that means making the roster black and blue in order to resurrect the silver and black then so be it. This is a business and rebuilding is that cost of doing so. It won’t be pleasant. It won’t be enjoyable. But it was needed.