ALAMEDA, Calif. – With the Oakland Raiders having lost five of six games, including three straight, a tough three-game stretch against the AFC West to close the season, beginning with Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and second-year coach Dennis Allen in danger of going a combined 8-24, speculation has begun on not only Allen’s future with the organization, but also that of general manager Reggie McKenzie.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has said that while he was OK with the team staying afloat last year so long as there was no regression, he wanted to see progress this season.
So how does he define progress – by won-loss records, or by the team being more competitive in said losses?
Davis spoke with Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group and broached a few topics on the future of the team.
On if he’s seen enough progress from Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie: “There’s three games to go, and they’re important games. I don’t really want to say anything more than that until after the season. But what I can tell you is we just went through the two-year deconstruction of the Raiders. We had to do it. It wasn’t fun, but it was something we had to do. And it’s basically complete. That is done. And the reconstruction is going to begin right after this season is over. That’s what we’ve got to do – we’ve got to build this team back up. And we’re in a good position – with all the dead money, the cap stuff, the upside-down contracts … they’re all gone. We’re in a strong position now with all that, because of how we’ve planned and gone through this deconstruction. And now we can go forward.”
On if he credits McKenzie and Allen for the position they’re in now, and if he goes forward with them: “I’m not going to get into any of that while the season’s going on. I can tell you that once the season’s over, Reggie will debrief all the coaches, and all that, and then Reggie will debrief me, and we’ll talk about what we’re going to do. That’s when the deconstruction turns into the reconstruction, and we see how we’re going to go ahead with everything. It’s an exciting time for us. It’s also been a tough time for the fans, it’s been a tough time for me, it’s been a tough time for everybody. But what do they say about patience? If you’re committed to something, you have to be patient with it. That’s the thing about this season – at times we’ve shown that there’s something there, and at times we’ve shown that maybe there’s not. There’s progress, if you look at it that way, because it makes the disappointment that much harder. When you’ve made some progress, patience is a harder thing to have.”
On if it’s safe to assume McKenzie retains Davis’ confidence going forward: “I’m very happy with the job he’s done so far. But I’m not even thinking about those things right now – we’ve got games to play and the evaluation continues on everything. These are division games; these are important games; at some point in time, these are the games we have to win. We’ve got to do this right. This is when it gets real.”
On if McKenzie is the right evaluator for a quarterback after missing on Matt Flynn: “All I’ll say is that, yes, the quarterback is very, very important. I’ll agree on that part. I’m not going to say anything else right now.”
Also keep in mind that Wednesday afternoon news broke that Ray Anderson was stepping down as the NFL’s vice president of football operations. Anderson talked with Davis last offseason about a potential role as team president and has attended at least one Raiders game this season.