McKenzie shows prowess in showing Routt the door

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McKenzie shows prowess in showing Routt the door

Still wondering if Reggie McKenzie is truly running the Raiders show?Stanford Routt isn't.McKenzie releasing the high-priced cornerback less than a year after Routt re-structured his contract, and a day before he was reportedly due 5 million, was a clarion call to all over-paid, under-performing Raiders on the roster. You know, the guys derisively referred to as being "on an Al Davis scholarship."Officially, McKenzie became the first Raiders general manager since Davis on Jan. 10. Thursday, McKenzie hit his first mile marker on the job.
NEWS: Raiders release CB Stanford Routt
Consider: just about a year ago Routt was re-signed by Davis to a three-year, 31.5-million contract, with 20 million guaranteed, before being re-structured to a five-year, 54.5 million deal in training camp, with the same 20 million guaranteed. And according to rotoworld.com, Routt was due to make 5 million in base salary this season with another 5 million in a "signing bonus."Did his play warrant such money?Routt's "burn rate" this past season rose to 47.4 percent, after being among the league leaders with a 39.4 percent in 2010, and he gave up eight touchdown passes.Routt was the most penalized player in the NFL last season, drawing 17 flags, including nine in the last three games. His 17 penalties -- eight for holding, seven for pass interference, one each for illegal use of hands and personal foul -- were nearly as many as the entire Green Bay Packers defense.And yetRoutt, who also had a career-best four interceptions, was the best cornerback on the Raiders roster. By far.So why do you cut the the best player on a unit that was a stark weakness?Perhaps the Raiders have all the trust in the world in second-year corners DeMarcus Van Dyke and Chimdi Chekwa to blossom in 2012? Maybe the rumored move of Michael Huff from free safety to cornerback is more than a rumor? Or might the Raiders be in the market for a more inexpensive free agent, someone like Brent Grimes, Cortland Finnegan, Brandon Carr, Carlos Rogers or Terrell Thomas, as listed by rotoworld?New coach Dennis Allen cut his teeth as a secondary coach in New Orleans, so he might have more than an inkling as what he likes and dislikes in his cornerback play.Routt did not return texts or voicemails. Neither did McKenzie.Then again, the move was loud enough.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”