How would you rate McKenzie’s rebuilding efforts thus far?
While many observers wonder if second-year general manager Reggie McKenzie is operating without a net as he continues his massive makeover of the Raiders, owner Mark Davis has his back.
"Everything is going as planned," Davis told CSNCalifornia.com in an exclusive phone interview Thursday. "He's doing what he was hired to do. I'm very happy with it."
A mere 16 players currently under contract with the Raiders were on the roster on Jan. 1, 2012, the day the Raiders lost a season finale at home to San Diego and missed the playoffs. McKenzie was hired nine days later and then-coach Hue Jackson was shown the door.
I mentioned to Davis that McKenzie was performing a major facelift on the organization.
"Facelift?" Davis said. "I wouldn't put a word on it. He's just getting players. We've got to restructure things, rebuilding the (salary) cap, get some more players.
"He's doing the job. Yeah, he's my guy. I've never wavered from that. He's the only guy I've hired. Well, I traded for Carson Palmer, but (McKenzie) decided he was not part of the long-term plan, and I'm O.K. with that."
Davis, though, was not O.K. with the regression the Raiders showed in November of last season, which begs the question -- what if the Raiders actually regress record-wise in this upcoming rebuilding year from last season's mark of 4-12?
Earlier in the week McKenzie told SI.com he was not fearful of his job being on the line.
"I don't think along those lines," McKenzie said. "I just think of doing what's needed to make this team the best it can be long-term. That's my job. But fearful? No. Not at all.
"Mark knew the cap part of this was going to be a two-year deal. Mark is not his father. He is allowing me to do this, and we talk about it the process all the time. He's allowing me to do the job that needs to be done."
After all, McKenzie took on a team that was facing a $30-million salary cap hole.
This year, more than one-third of the cap will be in "dead money."
Next year? Oakland should have some $50 million to spend.
Davis also said he is still looking for a team president, of sorts, and names such as Ray Anderson, the NFL's senior vice president of football operations, Scott O'Neal, a former Madison Square Garden president, and Mike Holmgren have been linked to Oakland.
"I'm still looking to bring somebody in on that side," Davis said. "Have I found someone yet? No. It has to be the right fit."