Much has been made of Reggie McKenzie during the Raiders difficult 2013 season, the General Manager sacked with the burden of restructuring one of the most broken franchises in the NFL in terms of both the salary cap and overall talent has been taking more and more heat. Despite shedding $70 million in cap for 2014 and bringing in hungry, underrated (albeit less talented) players to stay as competitive as possible before injuries decimated the roster has been questioned for a variety of issues since the Raiders have began to pile up losses. In a season where the theme was rebuilding and patience I am here to tell you why I think Reggie is right on track.
When Reggie McKenzie took over for the Oakland Raiders as their General Manager he inherited the following:
- Salary cap hell
- A coaching carousel
- Lazy Scholarship players
- No winning seasons in 9 years
As he nears the end of his second season running the show, lets look at how he has handled them.
Salary Cap Hell
ProFootballTalk wrote on December 1st, that for the 2014 season, the Raiders currently have 32 players under contract and an estimated $70 million in cap space. That doesn’t sound like hell to me.
A Coaching Carousel
Reggie brought in his guy Dennis Allen and it’s been a mixed bag. But with the luxury coming next year of the cap space noted above, I can’t imagine Reggie making a change. Not until he gives Dennis a chance to play with a stacked roster. When Allen takes the sideline next year, it will be the first time the Raiders had the same Head Coach for three full seasons since Jon Gruden. Only four Head Coaches in Raiders history have roamed the sidelines for four or more consecutive years: John Madden, Tom Flores, Art Shell and Jon Gruden.
Lazy Scholarship Players
The Raiders lacked guys who cared about football and were just cashing checks. These were the same guys who were busting the Raiders salary cap. Thanks to the old first round contracts and Al’s generosity. I think it’s the one thing we all agree on, is that the Raiders now have guys who will give their all, whistle to whistle.
No Winning Seasons in 9 years
Add in the two under Reggie and it is now 11 years. When Reggie took over, the Raiders were coming off back to back 8-8 seasons. I thought we would get some up to date coaching on Defense and the sky was the limit. We did, but the results are not there and this is what most of the Raider Nation is frustrated with.
While Reggie has had his misses: the Knapp retread was a disaster. McFadden has continued to disappoint and the QB’s have been mistake prone. He also has had his hits: Fixed the salary cap. Purged the roster of mishaps, brought in professionals and has begun to add Head Coaching continuity. All in all, I’d say Reggie is right on course. The 2014 season is setting up to be one of no excuses. And quite possibly the first Raiders winning season in 12 years.