Quotes and takeaways from Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie’s recent interview on 95.7 The Game.
Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie recently…
Wait. Let’s start that over.
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR Reggie McKenzie recently made an appearance on the flagship station of the Oakland Raiders, 95.7 The Game, to talk about the season, free agency, the draft and more. He joined Raiders sideline report J.T. The Brick, who has a show on the station.
On the recent changes to the coaching staff:
"“I think the coaching staff is going to continue to gel together, we pretty much have everyone else in place. As you said, we recently added coach Pagano, and with a very good track record that he brings, heard nothing but great things about him. We think that will be a good addition and Todd is a great young talent that we can’t wait to see him take over the helm on the offensive side. We’re excited about what’s to come, and we’re ready to continue to improve.”"
Brick asked Reggie about Khalil Mack winning Defensive Player of the Year:
"“That was great; it’s a testament to his work ethic, and the guys around him. In his mind it’s a team award, and he was excited to get it. He was very honored. I was there, and it was a proud moment for Raider Nation.”"
McKenzie talked about Aldon Smith, who is expected to be reinstated in March:
"“It’s still the same, he’s still on the suspension list, and will be revisited in March by Commissioner Goodell. We’re still waiting until he signs off on it, so nothing’s changed in that regard. He’s still on that suspension list until noted otherwise, and as far as patience being tested, it is what it is. We knew he was on the list and it’s up to the Commissioner to reinstate him, so if no one told us he was going to get reinstated… it’s all a process.”"
Reggie was non-committal on whether or not the team will re-sign Latavius Murray.
"“It’s hard to, when you’re talking about a guy that’s close to 6’3″, 230 pounds, there’s not a whole lot of similar you can get there. He’s one of those kinds that don’t come around too often when you talk about size. I’m always in position to want to sign our own players, but the finances of it will always play a part. But you never know. There are always 31 other teams out there that will be communicating to his representatives and we’ll see where it goes. We like to re-sign our players.”"
The secondary struggled in 2016, and that is something that McKenzie is obviously very aware of:
"“When you talk about current players on the roster, it’s an ongoing evaluation. Coach evaluates what they did and didn’t do from a personnel standpoint we do the same. We felt like all our players made mistakes out there and (need) to get better at certain spots, but we’re gonna always try to get better and improve the depth because any moment a guy can get hurt and miss a game or two and we have to be ready to step up with the next man. To get a guy in here, we try to do that at every position. So, that’s not just at the corner position so we’re gonna upgrade at all the positions. DJ got hurt and was out for the year, so we got some work to do.”"
And he also acknowledged inside linebacker as an area that needs to be addressed:
"“We need to some depth. We lost two early in the season and going into the season last year and then we got two that are free agents, two veteran guys that are free agents. So, we’re low on numbers just right off the bat, so we gonna have to bring some guys in here, whether it’s free agency, draft, post draft, whatever. But that’s a hole that we have to fill.”"
Lastly, but certainly not least, McKenzie officially declared that the Raiders are back:
"“Raider Nation, we’re back. We’re excited to continue to improve upon what we’ve already put out there. What we embark on this year, we’re not going to catch anybody blindsided. They’re going to see us coming, and we’re just going to let them know we’re coming, on both sides of the ball, as well as special teams. We’re going to work hard to get better each and every day, starting with the combine that’s coming up shortly. Be ready for it Raider Nation to be out there full force to support us.”"
None of what McKenzie said was terribly surprising, nor should it have been. The last thing the GM should be doing is spilling the beans on future plans in a public interview. But there are still some interesting things to take away from his answers.
The most telling part of the interview is about Latavius Murray. The finances are obviously going to come into play with his, as McKenzie pointed out. And in a weak free agent running back class, as McKenzie said, there are 31 other teams in play. So it’s certainly not out of the question — it’s probably even likely — that a bad team will offer up big bucks for Murray’s services.
Lastly, Reggie seems intent on fixing the defense. Talking about what Pagano brings to the table, and then how middle linebacker and the secondary are positions of need are an indication of that.
The entire interview can be heard here.