Much was made this week about Mark Davis commenting that general manager Reggie McKenzie has a new and different role with the Oakland Raiders. The quote came during a sit down with Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area at the annual owners meetings. Here is the exact quote:
“They have roles to play. At this point in time, the role Reggie plays now is a little different than the role he played with Jack (Del Rio), a little different than his role working with Dennis (Allen). It evolves. He has built the team to where we are now, and we’re in pretty good shape with the cap and everything else. Now he has a head coach who’s going to be running this thing for the next 10 years. His vision is going to be most important building what type of team we’ve got. That vision, and that direction is going to be helpful to Reggie more so than not. I think they’ll work together very well.”
Basically, what Mark Davis is saying is that Reggie McKenzie, in his job as general manager, will be responsible for acquiring players that fit Jon Gruden’s vision for the team.
If you’re thinking to yourself “Wait, that sounds like what a general manager normally does”, you’re not alone in that thought.
Much has been made out of this quote because of the fact that Gruden is being paid so much and an assumption made by many that his presence means the end of the road for McKenzie. But if we are to believe Davis’ quote, it simply means a more normal road for McKenzie rather than the dysfunctional road he had been on.
Davis is basically admitting that with Dennis Allen and Jack Del Rio, things weren’t so clear in terms of whose vision of the team was being installed. This isn’t surprising with Allen, who was in his first stint as a head coach and by all appearances, was in over his head. It’s also not all that surprising for Del Rio who didn’t seem to know what his vision for the team was aside from his clear goals of a boring offense and inept defense.
It would appear that McKenzie was being asked to do more with Del Rio and Allen than he will be asked to do with Gruden. But that isn’t a sign that McKenzie has lost clout or standing within the organization, it’s a sign that McKenzie is finally able to settle down and focus on his primary role as a general manager now that he has a head coach with a clear vision on where this team is headed.