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Reggie McKenzie Is Just Getting Warmed Up

Reggie McKenzie got the Raiders GM gig by promising something Mark Davis thought the franchise badly needed – change.

The firing of Hue Jackson was a warning shot. The surprise release of Stanford Routt was only the prelude to what is coming next.

Currently McKenzie is in Indianapolis with one eye on the field and the other on the scouting department. More than likely once the Raiders are done with their evaluation process McKenzie will go about assembling his own scouting department. But that too is just another appetizer for the main meal.

McKenzie’s house cleaning is wide sweeping and will leave no corner of the franchise unchecked. As the new sheriff in town told Jerry McDonald yesterday, more changes are coming.

“We’re looking at some things. A lot of agents are in town, so we’re looking to sit down with some of these guys and work some things out. Without being specific, there are things we’ve got to get done and we’re in the process of doing that now. So yes, we can expect some things to happen.’’

In other words, McKenzie will be giving the agents he speaks with two options for their clients – take a pay cut or take a hike. The out-of-whack contract demolition process is in full swing what with the Raiders well over the salary cap and free agency on the way.

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve heard plenty of names floated out there that could become casualties in the on-going salary dump. Tommy Kelly, Kamerion Wimbley, Aaron Curry and Michael Huff have all been mentioned. While that is just speculation and nothing more there is something else at work other than the numbers game.

You’ll notice every name mentioned is that of a defensive player. One of McKenzie’s first orders of business was to evaluate his roster. By hiring a defensive minded head coach in Dennis Allen and then parting ways with the team’s top corner it is clear that the biggest changes are occurring on one side of the ball.

You’ll also notice that the only coaches that were retained in the process were offensive what with Al Saunders, Kelly Skipper and Steve Wisniewski remaining on board.

The writing is on the wall and it is very obvious where the focus has shifted to in the East Bay. No longer is offense a top priority. Just about every man that plays defense for the silver and black not named Richard Seymour should feel unsafe about returning next season. Don’t be too surprised if that extends to free agents like Tyvon Branch too.

There is no doubt that Branch is part of the solution and not the problem. However his problem is that he’s a free agent due a raise. McKenzie could value Branch but might not have the coin to get into a bidding war. Plus you can’t underestimate McKenzie’s clear desire to construct a team in his image.

All the changes made thus far have been done so in order to give McKenzie a roster and coaching staff he’s personally selected. With an underperforming and overpaid defense currently on the books there is every reason to think drastic moves are on the way. The Raiders need draft picks. The Raiders need cap space. Plenty of cost cutting is coming even if that means spending more in the short term to save cash in the long run. That’s just the cost of undoing Al Davis’ business.

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Tags: Aaron Curry Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Al Saunders Dennis Allen Hue Jackson Kamerion Wimbley Kelly Skipper Mark Davis Michael Huff Reggie McKenzie Richard Seymour Stanford Routt Steve Wisniewski Tommy Kelly Tyvon Branch

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