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Reggie McKenzie Q&A

A transcript of Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie’s conference call with Bay Area media after the Raiders were awarded three compensatory selections in this year’s NFL draft:

What do you guys want? Yes. We’re not here to talk about my new picks, are we?

Q: Said you didn’t understand the formula, but is that what you expected, or did you not have any idea?

McKenzie: Let me tell you something. Whatever the formula is, I love this formula. I love it. I thought I would possibly get a three, a high one for Nnamdi, and the others, obviously, this is better than what I expected. So I’m extremely excited about the compensatory picks that the league has afforded the Raiders. Hopefully we can make due and have some good picks from this.

Q: Is a No.3 pick in your eyes a potential starter?

McKenzie: Yes. The No. 3 pick, the No. 4 pick, honestly, guys, when you set the board, you try to sete it to where you can have some possible starters through the fifth round. If you get lucky with a college free agent, seventh round, I’ve been fortunate to have some good fortune with latter picks in my 18-year career. I’m not going to just limit it to the third round. Ok, you’ve got a third so you’ve go tone opportunity to get a starter. I don’t want to go into this draft like that. I want to get some good players that we can try and get as many possible starters as possible. Whether they’re first-year starters, second or third year. I want to get to get some guys that got the potential to be starters. Don’t tie me down just to the third round.

Q: Coming into offseason, knowing you were going to get comp picks, did that any way change your approach to free agency?

McKenzie: No, it really didn’t. It really did not. I’m trying to build a team, so the more the merrier. If I see a possible free agent that we feel like, man we can do this, and this deal is pretty good. I’m going to do it in free agency, regardless of what we have in the draft. But that’s not going to minimize what I do in the draft, even if I sign an unrestricted free agent offensive lineman. That’s not going to say, I’m not going to draft one. I don’t look at it like that. I’m still looking for great backups who can become starters at every position. So I need a lot more picks than what I have now and some more free agent moves. The only thing I wish I had more of was NFL money and NFL cap. That’s what I wish I had more of.

Q: What do you do from here going forward in regards to clearing more space to add pieces to puzzle?

McKenzie: Not a whole lot this year. I think the bulk of it has been done. Now it’s just, you try to wait it out and see who the best fit for these 53 guys in the long run to make this team and then try to figure out, at this point its going to be production and talent. It’s not about money, money, money, as far as the comings and goings of players . . . the goings, mainly.

Q: Is the amount of picks you go into this draft with or is there a chance of trading existing players for picks?

McKenzie: that could be possible. I never close the door on trades. I really don’t. That door is always open, and so to answer your question, yes that could be a possibility.

Q: Overall how deep do you think this draft is and do you think at end of 3rd round could still land you a talented player?

McKenzie: I think there’s very good players in the middle rounds. So, from a standpoint of depth, I think it’s there. I don’t’ know as far as certain positions in the first two rounds it may not be as deep at certain spots, but for the most part there’s some good players throughout the draft.

Q: Throughout years at Green Bay , how many years did you spend on pro personnel, how much in college with draft, and how much doing both?

McKenzie: I did both a lot of times. My first year there, I began in pro personnel, so that was the brunt of my work. But when the scouting meetings started, I was heavily involved, in bringing guys in for visits, and from watching film in the meetings with the coaching, and putting the board together. So I was a part of that process early. I probably didn’t get started doing college scouting as far as going on the road and being a part of the pre-draft, the pre-combine scouting meetings until after about seven years. The last 10, 12 years I was part of that. The last 12 years, exactly. So that’s different. In saying that. I’ve always been involved in both. Always oversaw all the pro, from a free agent standpoint, and just the evaluation of my own team, which is I think is highly important, so it’s been a process, now. I’ve done this for quite some time but this is my show now so it’s going to be fun.

Q: Stepped in to new role this year, has it been frustrating spending with cap limitations and haven’t been able to go out sign free agents you wanted to get?

McKenzie: It’s not frustrating, it really isn’t. But you always like to have a comfort level, and to me, having cap, having cash, it gives you a comfort. So it’s teaching me how to manage money so to speak. This is good. This is good for me, learning how to deal on the fly with certain adverse situations. I think, initially now, we’re able to handle it so far. Hopefully, what I don’t want to do is allow this to get us in the end, but I always want to be in position, if we need to add a quality player, for a certain, and we feel it works out, financially, cap-wise, then sure, I want to be in position to make a move. And that’s my whole outlook, when we had to make certain cuts, we do it, with a future plan that we had. So far, it’s working accordingly.

Q: Still looking to add CB Pat Lee?

McKenzie: Yes.

Q: Said starting outside linebacker priority, speaking free agency or in draft?

McKenzie: Hey, let me tell you something. I will take it any way I can get it. If I can get it in free agency. In free agency, it has to work out contractually. If it don’t work out, I’m not tying my hands down to either/or. But still, regardless, I’m going to use the draft the best available player, and if it’s at position that we’re strong, so be it. If we think that’s the best guy, it’s the difference between adding solid starters and difference-makers. If I have a chance to get a difference-maker, we’re going to get ‘em. Whether it’s the draft, it’s hard to sign difference-makers if you don’t have money. If we have the potential to get some solid starters in free agency, still, I’m going to do it.

Q: The releases made so far, were those about production or lack of or was it about cap situation?

McKenzie: A little bit of both. When you talk about production versus a salary, in this business, once you get into the NFL, let’s fact it, guys, the contract and production, all of that goes hand in hand. If something is not matching, or it’s kind of out of whack, you’re going to have to be forced to make a decision. That’s what I was coming up to. It was not just all just either/or. If the production’s not there, but the guys’ making the minimum, then so be it, you can use this guy as the backup because of the contract. But when the thing doesn’t work out, contractually and production, you gotta be forced to evaluate. That’s after every season, we’re all up against that, gotta be evaluated. That’s where I made my decisions. It wasn’t, well, you’re costing too much money you’ve got to go, no, if the guy was highly productive and we could make it work, we’ll try to make it work, financially, but if not we’re going to have to make certain decisions and some tough decisions, which we did.’

Q: As you build, do you envision this team being stronger this year or take it 2-3 years to get your plan in place?

McKenzie: Honestly, I envision it being stronger.

Q: Tight end to position, elected to let Kevin Boss go, could you be comfortable with three TEs on roster or looking adding more?

McKenzie: I’m comfortable with it, but yes, I do want to continue to add. I’m not just going to, at any position really, just say, OK, I’m good there and I’m not going to add a guy. I’d like to add another guy there to compete.

Q: Is this a good draft for LBs as opposed to years past? A deep draft?

McKenzie: There are some good linebackers. Is it deep? I wouldn’t say that, but there are some good linebackers in this draft.

Q: How much does Peyton Manning being in Denver change the dynamics of the division, and to the extent that even in personnel evaluation and decision-making you might have an eye to that?

McKenzie: You know, the one thing I can say is I have a great admiration for Peyton. Now, do we have to put in a game plan for defending Peyton rather than Tebow? Absolutely. Guys, face it. This guy in the division, if he’s healthy and hitting on all cylinders physically, he’s going to be a good football player in our division. We’re going to have to find ways to slow him down. Yeah, I mean, the coaching staff, that’s going to be a challenge. And players that you add, do we have to make sure as far as cornerbacks are they going to have to be on their Ps and Qs on how they cover guys and timing and all that, absolutely. But are we going to be scared of him? Absolutely not.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • YoungAmerican

    McKenzie: Hey, let me tell you something. I will take it any way I can get it. If I can get it in free agency. In free agency, it has to work out contractually. If it don’t work out, I’m not tying my hands down to either/or. But still, regardless, I’m going to use the draft the best available player, and if it’s at position that we’re strong, so be it. If we think that’s the best guy, it’s the difference between adding solid starters and difference-makers. If I have a chance to get a difference-maker, we’re going to get ‘em. Whether it’s the draft, it’s hard to sign difference-makers if you don’t have money. If we have the potential to get some solid starters in free agency, still, I’m going to do it.

    ============

    This is exactly the approach he needs to take. Awesome to hear.

  • YoungAmerican

    I find the “OMFGZ REGGIE LET ROUTT, WIMBLEY AND BOSS GET AWAY AND RE-SIGNED A BUM LIKE BARNES” stuff really funny, considering the fact that just last season Al Davis let Nnamdi, Howard, and Miller “get away” and re-signed Barnes.

  • Macho Man Randy Savage

    Remember when Homer Simpson became a pro boxer cause he had a small brain and no one could knock him out? worked wonders until Mike Tyson gave him a right cross and knocked him into next year….awesome episode!

  • oldschoolraider

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    March 26th, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Ali-Frazier III on ESPN classic.

    Damn shame heavyweight boxing will never have athletes like this again
    **************************************************

    When you watch the fight try to count how many times the ref had to pull Ali’s hand off the back of Frazier’s neck.
    Any fighter in the world but Ali would have been disqualified for holding.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Young American

    It’s going to take some Raider fans time, to get over fancy off-season signings in the off-season, to winning in the regular season.

    Some don’t know any different.

  • Reggies Freckled Face

    Reports are coming in!!!!

    Raiders have just sent Darren McFadden to the Packers for their 1st round pick.

  • Twocents

    Gotta bring this up. Does anyone know what it means to be tried by a jury of ones peers?
    The original intent was that if you were charged with a crime, you were to be tried by a jury of people that knew you.
    Is that anything close to what is being done today?

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    *It’s going to take some Raider fans time, to get over fancy signings in the off-season, to winning in the regular season.

    Some don’t know any different.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Twocents Says:
    March 26th, 2012 at 5:52 pm
    Gotta bring this up. Does anyone know what it means to be tried by a jury of ones peers?
    The original intent was that if you were charged with a crime, you were to be tried by a jury of people that knew you.
    ———————————————

    jury of one’s peers n. a guaranteed right of criminal defendants, in which “peer” means an “equal.” This has been interpreted by courts to mean that the available jurors include a broad spectrum of the population, particularly of race, national origin and gender. Jury selection may include no process which excludes those of a particular race or intentionally narrows the spectrum of possible jurors. It does not mean that women are to be tried by women, Asians by Asians, or African Americans by African Americans. (See: jury)
    ——————————————–
    Twocents, you are sooooooooo, ill informed.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Twocents Says:
    March 26th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Gotta bring this up. Does anyone know what it means to be tried by a jury of ones peers?
    The original intent was that if you were charged with a crime, you were to be tried by a jury of people that knew you.
    ——————————————–
    One would hope that you’d “google” Jury by one’s peers, before you posted something so stupid.

  • Twocents

    KoolKell, you are consulting lawyers on law.
    The law is what the government says it is.
    Only lawyers that suck up to the government are allowed to make laws.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Two cents, you’re too ignorant to speak on the subject, intelligently, obviously.

  • arkraider

    Ok 2 cents ifts all f-up here. Nthing much fair about it but guess what that’s life. Our system has numerous flaws but its still better than the majority. And if you don’t like our laws there is a system in place to change them. Not perfect but better than anything else.

  • Twocents

    KoolKell, I am trying to be nice and not insult your intelligence.
    The President selects the Supreme court, a cushy job, they support whatever the ruling class decides is the law.
    The law is not as difficult as lawyers would like you to beleive. I think if you thought about you would come up with a few simple rules that would serve us all well.

  • Twocents

    Arkraider, have you investigated anarchy?

  • Twocents

    Anarchy is the art of living without rulers.

  • edward teach

    Lol @ the Stanford and Duke women’s teams playing their regional semifinal at the SaveMart Center Arena.

    Probably the closest a lot of those girls have ever been to an actual SaveMart.

  • arkraider

    I hope you never end up going through the court system in some far away country, 2 cents! It would make you miss our messed up system here. Don’t get me wrong, I hear your complaints about our corporate/industrial/government system and I agree there are many problems with the system and our government but on the other hand we got the best thing going and I prefer to spend my energy trying to change things not just tear them down.

  • arkraider

    Anarchy is a great idea until you need to build something like I dunno the bay bridge. Or even repair pot holes in our streets. If we have anarchy who’s gonna take care of stuff like that?

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    But Twocents, you can’t even manage the facts!

    Jury by one’s peers, for instance. Your redneck bumbler sticker, one line predictions of the extinctions of man, unless they vote for Ron Paul, notwithstanding.

    Understand?

  • Twocents

    Our court system is as corrupt as any in the the world.
    Serve on jury duty sometime, saying you believe in nullification will soon get you jail time.

  • Twocents

    KoolKell, I don’t understand. Please make a valid point and I will respond.

  • arkraider

    So if you want anarchy great! But I got some road repair that needs to happen in front of my house!
    So 2 cents you gonna come repair that for me or what u suggest we do about infrastructure.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Twocents have you ever been to another country?

  • Twocents

    KoolKell, Ron Paul is not predicting the extinction of man. He is merely pointing out that the coming depression is going to lower the standard of living of all Americans.

  • Twocents

    KoolKell, what country should I move to?

  • arkraider

    Sorry off on a tangent.
    Anarchy Spanarchy, back to more important things like

    Where we gonna get a linebacker from? Two cents, any ideas?

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    I’m just asking, have you travelled internationally?

  • RaiderReggie

    We need to go out and try to aquire QB Drew Stanton from the NY Jets as Palmer back-up. Stanton wants out since the Jets got Tebow.

  • Twocents

    Arkraider, I have given up trying to predict what McKenzie will do, but I think he has a plan.

  • YoungAmerican

    Stanton already got traded to the Colts.

    Billy Volek would be a very solid backup to Palmer.

  • http://www.addictedtoquack.com RaiderDuck

    YoungAmerican Says:
    March 26th, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    Stanton already got traded to the Colts.

    Billy Volek would be a very solid backup to Palmer.

    ========================================

    They had a big “Circle of Luck” post about that: Luck replaces Peyton who replaces Tebow who replaces Stanton who is now backing up Luck.

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    twocents, how does Ron Paul know there’s a depression coming? Is this like the guy who predicts the end of thew world every few months?

  • RaiderReggie

    YoungAmerican Says:
    March 26th, 2012 at 6:40 pm
    Stanton already got traded to the Colts.

    Billy Volek would be a very solid backup to Palmer.
    ___________________________________________________-Billy Volek would be a good backup.

  • Twocents

    KoolKell, your government sent me to South East Asia. I spent my own money to go to Great Britain and to the Caribbean.
    What is your point?

  • YoungAmerican

    For those of you who want a quick, interesting read about US foreign policy, especially as it relates to our economic interests abroad, I highly recommend Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins.

  • Twocents

    Sully, we are in a depression. If you knew anything about about economics you would see it. You believe the crp that your rulers tell you, good luck.

  • 8RaiderReign8

    Hello Raider Breathen,

    Tis a glorious day to be a Raider brother. Pour me some ale and kill me five game hens. A toast to the wisdom of Reggie and Al!!!!!

    Raiders forevers!!!!!!!!!

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    McKenzie: A little bit of both. When you talk about production versus a salary, in this business, once you get into the NFL, let’s fact it, guys, the contract and production, all of that goes hand in hand. If something is not matching, or it’s kind of out of whack, you’re going to have to be forced to make a decision.
    =======================================================
    I guess production does matter. You guys on here talking about how good Wimbley and Routt and those busts on defense.

    Reggie McKenzie is cleaning out the guys that didn’t contribute jack.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Twocents Says:
    March 26th, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    KoolKell, your government sent me to South East Asia. I spent my own money to go to Great Britain and to the Caribbean.
    What is your point?
    ——————————————-
    Did you see anything that suits your fancy?

  • Dakota

    Nice news on the comp picks! I thought we would only get two. Thomas Howard never crossed my mind. Very nice!

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    twocents, we’re in a depression right now? Are you on your lap top while waiting in a soup line?

  • Chris in NY

    If you’ve got a few seconds to kill, go vote for the ’76 Raiders in the semifinals of the NFL.com best team of all time “bracketology”:
    http://www.nfl.com/features/bracketology/alltimeteams

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    Twocents, first you talk of Ron Paul predicting a “coming depression”, then you say we’re already in a depression, as in present tense. Which is it? Figure it out before you get to the front of the soup line.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Twocents, you thought a jury by “one’s peers” to meant a jury of people who knew the defendant . You took that factually incorrect,, misinformation to predict the end of the world.

  • Twocents

    KoolKell, I could get along anywhere, I find good people wherever I go.
    If I could do it all over again, I would go to where the government is nowhere in sight.

  • Chris in NY

    arkraider Says:
    March 26th, 2012 at 6:21 pm
    Anarchy is a great idea until you need to build something like I dunno the bay bridge. Or even repair pot holes in our streets. If we have anarchy who’s gonna take care of stuff like that?

    ——————————–

    The thing with anarchy is that it would create more excitement and adventure and obviously freedom, but if you think people would go on living as civilized and peaceful and with good intentions you’re kidding yourself. People will, by and large, get away with what they can get away with. And in anarchy they could get away with a hell of a lot.

  • Seymour Bush

    Twocents Says:
    March 26th, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    KoolKell, I could get along anywhere, I find good people wherever I go.
    If I could do it all over again, I would go to where the government is nowhere in sight.
    ==========================================

    You can still go there today. I think the place is called Mogadishu, Somalia.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    You can always move to the mountains, off the grid.

  • Twocents

    When we compare anarchy to statism, we have to examine who benefits under statism.
    Again, anarchy is the art of living without rulers.