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ALAMEDA -- Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie wrapped up Thursday’s pre-draft press conference with a statement.
It was equal parts promise and declaration, stemming from a belief that the Raiders will be more competitive in 2014.
The team was able to be active in free agency, and McKenzie believes the draft will help make the Raiders strong enough to handle a difficult schedule.
“The foundation has been laid,” McKenzie said. “We’re working toward progress, continuous progress. There’s progress that began, really, the foundation since I got here and working to get things, the culture right, the chemistry. This offseason it’s starting to come to fruition. We brought in some players to compete, to make us better. When you bring in some good players, it fosters competition. Competition makes us better. This year, we will be better.”
In other words, 4-12 won’t fly anymore. Last season, McKenzie said progress would be assessed with an eyeball test. This season, they will be judged in the win column. The Raiders power structure must improve to be retained, an edict danced around but not directly articulated by owner Mark Davis.
The Raiders have gone from a deconstruction period to a reconstruction phase, with proper salary-cap standing. They’ve signed several free agents to improve the roster, and hope to get a few draft picks that make an immediate impact and further strengthen the team.
“The process has been going since I got here,” McKenzie said. “We had to do some things. It’s been well documented, what we had to go through. What we were able to do starting this offseason is exciting.”