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Oakland Raiders - Reggie McKenzie right on course

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:

  1. Salary cap hell
  2. A coaching carousel
  3. Lazy Scholarship players
  4. 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.

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Tags: Oakland Raiders Reggie McKenzie

  • mccall316

    I completely agree on all accounts. Reggie has done a great job with the crap he was dealt. I don’t know why any fan thought the Raiders would be competitive this season. He did the right thing last year during the draft by trading down and gaining another pick. Hayden and Watson may not have made the immediate impact on the field as most hoped but it sets up for future success. The whole idea of patience is to allow kids to grow. The QB situation, Flynn especially, was a disaster. McGloin seems to have turned things around to a certain degree and I hope the organization passes on a QB in the first few rounds to make room for glaring holes in other positions, defensive tackle, o-line or LB (please let it be Barr!). Overall, aside from the terrible lose to the Jets and Broncos, the Raiders have been in position in every game and that says a lot about the staff. In this day and age of now now now, I say I would much rather have 14 years of success then 1 winning season and right back in the toilet. Just win….for many years baby.

  • KloverJane

    Better be fixed this off season. Draft the best overall players. And resign our needs.

  • Angel

    For many years!!!

    Since birth, Go Raiders!

  • Angel

    Mr. Mckenzie is doing a great job and I can’t wait to see who he brings in. In free agency and the draft. It’s going to be sic!!

    Go Raiders!!

  • Silvia Arredondo

    I stronly agree and I understand the frustration. But really it needs to be fixed next year or something really is wrong.

  • Pridenpoise

    I think Reggie’s drafting is hit and miss obviously you can’t grade a draft after 13 games, with that being said I still think they made a mistake taking Hayden when they needed a pass rusher. I also think if they are picking in the top three and they can get a QB they have to take one, unless of course Clowney is on the board. As for the coaching staff I think they should be commended for the job they have done this year, and they have to be given more time, this will tell me if the Raiders have turned the corner, can Mark Davis be patient and give this staff the time to build a winner, if not it’s the same old Raiders.

  • whixa4ever

    I agree but this still sells RM short on what he has truly had to deal withh and what he has already accomplished. He has had to address not just the roster and salary cap, but the organization as a whole. He has updated 20 year old equipment, technology and infrastructure. He has had to recreate the scouting and coaching departments from scratch. RM has done more good for the whole future of the organozation in 2 years than anything that has been done in the 10 before it . RM NEEDS to stay and finish what he started.

  • Bubba W

    I don’t know how you can say he has done a great job. Anyone could have cut players and maybe some would have done it in a manner that did not take so much space but who knows. I know it has only been a hand full of games that his picks have been on the team but no one can say it is a success. Aside form Sio Moore who else is producing? The Knapp thing was a joke and cost the team a year in rebuilding. The roster churning by dropping draft picks for other teams (mainly Green bay) garbage really effected team chemistry in year one and to some extent this year. Do I have to mention the Flynn thing? But that being said he has made some good moves. No crazy long term deals with fringe talent and he can pick good players from undrafted rookies (Streater and Mcgloin). He has shown he is not to proud to scrap something when it doesn’t work (Knapp, Flynn etc.) it is refreshing to not see his ego get in the way. I think that continuity in hte coaching and GM position is paramount and they need time to institute there plan. Next off season(’15 not ’14) will be the tell tell sign of stay or go and success or not.

  • Bill Clinton

    He will be under a lot of pressure next year. He might be this year if we lose out and go 8-8,8-8,4-12,4-12. That is not going to sit well with the Nation or Mark Davis. I hope he can handle the pressure that is the N.F.L.

  • Bubba W

    I agree about Hayden. Great talent but This team needs to build from the inside out not the outside in. Last year at the twelve spot they had a great opportunity to pick up great Dlineman but went DB. I hope this next year they go with a great Dlineman in round one if available.

  • mccall316

    Well I was hoping Tyler Wilson would be able to play this year since they drafted him last year in the 4th round. I would like to see Aaron Murray!!

  • Pridenpoise

    How good would Star Lotuleilei look right now on our line.

  • Gregg Brennan

    Reggie’s had his share of both hits and misses, but the same could be said for any GM in the league. Continuity is important going forward and he deserves credit for continuing a slow, steady climb out of the pit the Raiders were in. Most importantly, Ron Wolf has vouched for Reggie and that is enough for me to give him the benefit of plenty of doubts.

  • dave from 847

    Are the ppl who write on these things employed by the GM they’re supposed to be evaluating? Yes, Reggie deserves credit for modernizing “the system” and surviving despite salary cap hell. But didn’t we get him for his supposed talent evaluation skills? Any half-way competent GM can gut the roster and get rid of bad contracts. The cream of the crop rises to the the top through draft savvy. And we have to face the reality that he just doesn’t have it. This yr’s class was a disaster (save for Sio Moore) and Reggie’s eye for QB talent, the most imp position on the team… well, we all know how it turned out so no need to rehash it here. – He will most certainly get another yr from Mark Davis, but he’s done nothing to show he knows how to work a draft board.

  • Tim Lucado

    Really dont think Reggie has done that much I mean it didn’t matter who came into that position would have had to do the same things he has done! As far as D.A goes I think he tries but he isnt a HC play calling is half and half then when the other team makes adjustments he gets lost and confused and cant do the same. Im ok if Reggie stays a few more years but Dennis Allen has to go!

  • MarkMaddenisafatloser

    Whoever agrees with this is in denial. You probably still think Raiders can make the wildcard right now too. McKenzie has done nothing to improve this team. This team mind you that was 1 play away from winning the AFC WEST under Hue Jackson. Any GM could of go that salary cap right, You act like it was some kind of genius move. Reggie McKenzie is a nobody, This guy was getting Ted Thompson coffee 2 years ago now he is running a NFL team. Mark Davis will fire him, I can’t wait for that day. McKenzie is awful.. Take a look at his draft picks… Tyler Wilson can’t even make the team and Reggies BIG move..Matt Flynn a guy that went to 3 teams now this year. Here is the REAL story why McKenzie is the Raiders GM. There was a lot of guys who HATED Al Davis, but once Al died they took advantage of Mark Davis by telling him “I used to talk football with ur dad every day” Guys like Ron Wolfe… Ron Wolfe did not want the Raiders Job cause he claimed then he was out of football but he BEGGED Davis to take McKenzie..A week after Wolfe duped Davis what did Ron Wolde do? HE WENT AND GOT A JOB WITH THE CHARGERS! He knew McKenzie was nothing but a big dumb idiot who served coffee and Wolfe did NOT want Hue back cause he knew obviously Raiders were on a track of greatness so he pretended to be “AL’s buddy” and convinced Mark to hire McKenzie…Al Davis LOVED Hue Jackson, I believe if Al was alive Hue would STILL be the Raiders HC. Al loved how Hue called him coach. Hue did what no other coach could do in a decade. He worked with Al, let Al have a few plays in the game and still succeeded… This team under McKenzie will never win more than 6 games…. McKenzie knows 0 about football. Who hires Greg Knapp to run a zone blocking scheme when u have speed like McFadden?

  • Matt Mc

    You have to be kidding me…he took a back to back 8-8 season and has now (probably) given is back to back 12 loss seasons. Oh he fixed the Cap? He did but guess what he also signed old veterans to the defense, guys on high paid short term deals. So let’s see here we will now how to restructure at CB, FS, all of the DL, OL, WR, RB and QB… Idk care how much money you have, he’s put us in a worse position moving forward. In his words he said the raiders will be rebuilt through the draft and ee agency. His draft picks haven’t panned out whatsoever and that’s not just with oakland bc if you look at his FA pick ups they are ex packer burn outs like Ross and giordano who couldn’t even start on a statistically terrible packer D but he brings them in as starters. The Flynn fiasco another example of a guy Reggie can’t get over, he seems to cling to guys he picked with HOPES that they will MAGICALLY turn it around. His coaching hires are atrocious. DA looks like a lost puppy, knapp was awful and Olsen is as bad. Tarver only gets by bc he reminds the nation of Gruden. His be patient and well were looking better (while losing) and it’s a rebuild attitude and he can take and shove it, heard that BS for 11 years now…KC turned around other teams have and in short time so whats Reggie’s excuse?! I’m over his sit back and wait BS!!! He should fire himself and if you honestly think he’s a good GM do the nation a solid and leave