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GM McKenize speaks about status of Raiders

Raiders first-year general manager Reggie McKenzie spent a little more than 30 minutes with the media Thursday, fresh from watching his players and coaches over three days at a mandatory mini camp.
McKenzie talked about a wide range of things, including the performance of head coach Dennis Allen and his staff, quarterback Terrelle Pryor’s progress, signing strong safety Tyvon Branch to a long-term contract, running back Darren McFadden’s health and the Raiders salary-cap situation.
Here is the entire transcript:

How do you think things went at minicamp and OTAs?
“I think we upgraded some depth in some areas. I am glad that there were no major injuries. Those are the kinds of things when you come into the offseason, the newness and the competitiveness, everyone wanting to show the coaches what they got, you have a tendency to lose one or two guys in that situation. It seems like everybody will be reporting to training camp so that’s good.”
“From a talent standpoint, I liked the tempo of the practices. I thought there was a lot of great communication between the coaches and the players. It seemed like there were a lot of great responses – players responding to what was being coached and being asked of them. That all looked good. I thought Carson Palmer had a great camp. Those quarterbacks need to get on the same page with those receivers and get the system under their belt. Trying to do both at the same time is not easy. Everybody thinks you just toss it to the open guy, but there is a lot that goes into it. Listening to the coaches, working on steps and release, it seemed like they were taking everything to heart.

How much different will roster look at training camp than it does now?
“Hopefully we can get some continuity and if everybody stays healthy, hopefully it’s not a lot different. Especially as far as starters are concerned. But there is going to be some competition, people are going to get pushed, but to stay that people who started at this minicamp are going to be the starters Week 1, I couldn’t tell you that. Hopefully, the competition raises the level of the current starter and if not then the player pushing them wins the job. To me, it’s all about playing the best man. I don’t want to predict, but I do like some of the backup guys pushing these guys.”

Q: Is team further along than you thought with implementing new system and all?
A: I personally think we’re further along than I thought we would. I knew they were going to throw in a lot on both sides of the ball. But it was good to see things going right a whole lot more than wrong as far as coaches yelling and screaming, running a play over and over again. Every day you didn’t hear a lot of that. That’s a good indication that players are getting it and coaches are coaching it. But hopefully training camp they digest it even more and we become more complete. It’s still year one. I don’t think we’re looking for a situation where players are going to act like they’ve been here for five years in one system, playing with each other and they know each other like the back of their hand. I don’t see that but I do see guys working very well together and getting it right. I feel good about it.

Q: What was done equipment-wise to get team into the present day?
A: When I say equipment you’re talking from an infrastructure on the personnel side and even for the coaches. We updated software and the film watching package and also hardware and computers. We’re re-doing the structure of rooms and monitors, stuff like that. When I talk equipment that’s what I mean.

Q: Millions spent?
A: I couldn’t tell you. I didn’t write the check. It wasn’t that. Buying some of that stuff is not … it didn’t’ get out of hand. None of that.

Q: To accomplish what? Make the job easier? (regarding upgrading equipment)
A: It made it more conducive. It was needed. It was to definitely improve not only the team concept of what we’re trying to get done, but the efficiency in getting it done and trying to get it done right.
It aided in that. Yes, it was needed.

Q: Are you comfortable with the Rolando McClain situation, both that you want him here and also you think he’ll be able to play next year?
A: Yes I’m comfortable with that.

Q: Was that hard to come by? You mentioned character early on.
A: You know, since we’ve been here he’s been great. I’m not going to hold anything over his head about what he’s done in the past. We’re only concerned with what he does from here on out. Coaches preach to the players about being accountable, being disciplined on and off the field, so we’ll take care of the issues as they come.

Q: You guys sat down and talked?
A: I haven’t. The head coach has spoken with him.

Q: Do you have to worry though that legally he could potentially not even be available to you?
A: Oh yeah. That’s part of our deal is just sitting and waiting for that process to kind of take its course. Absolutely. The only thing we can do is sit and wait.

Q: You’ve added a few guys as free agents but there’s also a lot of “big names” out there. Guys you have brought in, have anything to do with the fact you only have so much money to play on free agency?
A: That played a part, yep.

Q: What kind of cap situation are the Raiders in at this moment?
A: Are we in at this moment? I can’t go out and sign Drew Brees. I can’t make a trade for him. This year is what it is. It’s very limited. I don’t know the exact number of where we are but we don’t have a whole lot of cap space to kind of bring in a big name guy.

Q: Are you in much better cap space for next season now than you were coming in?
A: Yes. We don’t want to continue to be in cap jail forever. So yeah, the plan was to improve our outlook for the future.

Q: You still have your first-round pick next year so you can trade that for Drew Brees.
A: No we’re OK. We’re OK.

Has there been any progress with getting long-term deal with Branch?
“Other than it’s been good communication. Nobody’s slamming the phone on each other so that’s positive.”

What’s been your overall impressions of Pryor?
“You know, that’s one thing that jumps out. The guy wants to be good. And he wants to do well, he wants to play. So his effort and how he’s going about his business has been great. Now, he’s improved with his technique and his fundamentals and all the little idiosyncrasies of what they want from a quarterback, he’s improved since April when they first got him on the field. So they’ve seen some progress there. Now it’s going to be up to him to dive into that playbook and know it when he comes back and so he don’t have to think plays, technique work, and you know, it’s a whole going through his style of quarterback. His history has not been as indepth as the other guys so he’s learning the whole gamut. I’m ecstatic on how he’s going about his business here. But time will tell when we put him in preseason games. See how he does.”

You think it’s important to get the team offsite for camp?
“I kinda like that. The last 18 years I’ve been onsite, you know, in Green Bay we didn’t go anywhere, we stayed right there on the same field we practiced on during the season. But I do think there’s something to going offsite, getting away from the city, where your families are, it can be a lot more distracting than not. But the pros of it is you have everything right there without moving. If you have that facility, I think you have to take advantage of it. [Un] Like these teams that have the facilities to do that like Green Bay. If you got it you have to look at the big picture. I think staying home outweighs, as far as Green Bay is concerned, outweighs going offsite.”

Q: What does Green Bay have that you don’t have in terms of a training camp facility?
McKenzie: The thing is, the game stadium, parking lot, practice field, indoor offices, it’s all right there. We don’t have that. So trying to have training camp here is not going to work. Because you would like, of course, the hotel situation and driving back and forth. I’ve seen the Napa setup, I like it. It’s too easy as far as staying all in one place and walking out on to the practice field. The set up here, the logistics and the way everything is structured with the building and fields is not conducive to training camp here.

Q: Without a first or second-round pick, no trouble signing draft picks?
McKenzie: No, we do not. We feel good about everybody showing up at training camp.

Q: What do you think about your rookie class?
McKenzie: Most, they are what we thought, which is good. Some better. Maybe a couple that needs more practice, like all rookies. But we feel good about it. We didn’t feel like anyone was out of place, which is a good thing. But we like our rookie class.

Q: Anyone who has outshined everyone, more than what you thought.
McKenzie: Yes. I’m not going to tell you.

Q: Looking for big back with loss of Bush?
McKenzie: We don’t have that big back, but we’ve got a couple of backs that are playing fullback for us that can be that guy. We feel good about the versatility of Marcel, and all our fullbacks have the ability to run it. Schmitt can run it, short yardage. We got some guys that can, I’m kind of anxious to see them in preseason. But like I said, we’ll continue to beat down the doors and see if we can bring guys in. We won’t stop that until it’s time to play our Monday night game in September. We’ll continue. Nothing is on the horizon, though.

Q: Coaches hard at it and need to recharge, same goes for you?
McKenzie: Yes. Yes. I’ll be working a little while those coaches are relaxing a little bit. They’ve been going at it, so it’s been very good, the work that they’ve put in. But yes, they need to recharge a little bit.

Q; What have you learned about Dennis the past few months as a coach?
McKenzie: I think, from a standpoint of big picture, he gets it. He’s always a step ahead, which is good. I like the way the players are responding. And his assistant coaches. He’s all over that defense, which I like. That’s good. He’s talking to the offense, too, he’s not just all defense, but he’s acting like a real head coach. You can’t tell he hasn’t been a head coach before.

Q: Looking for teachers?
McKenzie: yes. Can’t teach, can’t coach.

Q: Can you describe your approach to the changes you made with the infrastructure?
A: “I wanted to make sure that we had football guys. When I say football guys, guys who have been around football. Scouts don’t have to have played in the NFL or coached in the NFL, but I do like guys who like football and been around it, whether they played in high school or they were involved in college some kind of way. When you interview them and talk to them, or intern them, you can tell they understand the game. When they talk it or when they write it, when you’re watching tape, they can give you stuff back. So, the guys that we got in here can do that. It was important to get a group that meshed together. I wanted to put in my system, so it was important to get somebody who understood what I wanted. A lot of that, when you’re talking about reorganizing and restructuring, in a way, those are some of the things that I looked at. And putting people in the right place, be it area scouts or pro scouting, trying to figure out which area. You put people in the right place and give them a chance to do what they do.”

Q: Was it important to bring in guys that you have a history with?
A: “Getting people that I know? And trust? And believe in? Absolutely. That’s all part of it. You kind of prepare for a possible role like this, so the thought process went into it way before I made the decision. Yeah, you want guys who kind of have a feel for you so that when they’re coming onboard they know what they’re getting into.”

Had you talked to Raleigh for years about getting into scouting?
“You know what? We talked about that, along with a million other things that twin brothers of 49 years would talk about. We talked about it initially when he did an internship with the Redskins. He liked it. That’s all I needed to know. And I was involved in getting him that internship. And he’d been to the combine about three times. So he understood what it was all about. Yeah, we talked about it.”

Has the newness of this whole situation worn off yet or is every day something new, positive or negative? Because since 1963 this organization has had one name, one face …. and now you’re that guy.
“The newness has started to dwindle, but every day is something, and I think that’s going to be for a little while, at least into the season because what you just said, things have been done a certain way for so long. It’s just the way it is. Still stuff with the building, trying to adjust. To me, changes are going to continue to be made through this time next year because you can’t build Rome overnight, so certain things will stay status quo until we can jump on it during the offseason. But yes, it’s starting to sink in, but there’s still stuff that goes on daily that needs to be addressed.”

When Huff talks about being excited to play on a real defense – you played on a defense for the Raiders that was pretty good with Al having a heavy hand in it, and he always hired offensive-minded coaches. How much of a change was needed to have a defensive-minded coach and a defensive coordinator being allowed to do what he wanted to do?
“It was important for me – I’m a defensive-minded person. But going out to specifically say I’m going to hire a defensive coach, was not the case, but going out wanting to make sure I interviewed defensive coaches and hopefully liking one, I really wanted that. Because I really, truly believe defense wins championships. But, you know, to Huff’s quote, I do think we’ve got some real defensive coaches, a real coordinator. I’m glad he feels that way that we got some good coaches and we got a good defense. I’m kind of anxious to see it play itself out in games, but more importantly I’m anxious to see how the players respond and play within that scheme.”

Q: What training camp battles are you most looking forward to?
A: I’m looking at the linebacker position, because we added so many numbers. I want to see who jumps out and makes plays. I want to see some of these young receivers in live action, see how they jump out. As well as some of these young offensive linemen. With these DBs, I want to see what shakes itself out, out of the whole. Especially the cornerback group, see what shakes out there. I’m kind of looking forward to these positional competitions. Even the tight end position. Those guys are all competing their tails off, you know? I think all those guys will show well. All five of them, really. Kind of excited to see, just from the competitive standpoint, who steps out.

Q: Cornerbacks, you think the two young guys have a chance to beat out the vets, it still in play?
A: Yeah. That’s still in play. Absolutely. Absolutely. Nobody got it locked down. Not at all.

Q: Comforting to see McFadden get through this without any relapse from his foot injury?
A: Yup, absolutely. I mean, across the board, nothing that was major. You see some of these guys throughout the league, they’re going to be out midseason, out for the season. I mean, that’s one thing you kind of dont want to happen.

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Steve Corkran

  • RaiderRockstar

    Michael Griffin deal a blueprint for Dashon Goldson

    Posted by Darin Gantt on June 20, 2012, 5:24 PM EDT

    For a pair of franchise-tagged safeties with comparable resumes, Dashon Goldson and Michael Griffin have handled things differently this offseason.

    But Griffin’s five-year, $35 million deal with the Titans could provide a useful framework in the 49ers’ talks with Goldson, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.

    Unlike Goldson, Griffin went ahead and signed his $6.212 million tender, and reported to the offseason program. Goldson has stayed away from all the 49ers workouts as he awaits his payday.

    Maiocco notes that a year ago, Goldson was looking for something in the $8 million a year range of San Diego’s Eric Weddle. Since then, Goldson made his first Pro Bowl and changed agents, so it’s hard to imagine those demands have lessened.

    However, the two sides apparently continue to talk, prior to the July 16 deadline to reach a long-term deal.

    Across the bay, Raiders safety Tyvon Branch has signed his franchise tender and has been participating with his team while his negotiations continue. He doesn’t have the Pro Bowl on his resume, but is an ascending player who will demand a contract in the same neighborhood of Griffin’s as well.

  • Silverandblack666

    Nice read RR thank you.

    The only problem with that is Tyvon Branch is not as good as Dashon Goldson and Michael Griffin IMO.

  • Silverandblack666

    “Becarful 666, remember that Jeffrey Dahmer had to ecscape from Sully’s apartment.’

    LOL yeah that’s good one!

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    666 is the new king of this blog. Bow down everyone.

  • Silverandblack666

    You know you were talking to me Sandusky44 so pipe down or I will expose more of your dysfunctions to everyone here.

  • RaiderRockstar

    is Tyvon Branch even worth the six-year, $39 million contract [$16 million guaranteed] that Al Davis gave Gibril Wilson a few years back ??

    $6.5 million per year is pretty steep imo

  • Just Fire Baby

    JLH went to Sweeney HS, as did a man named Elmo Wright, who is believed to be the first guy to dance in the end zone in a pro football game.

    Not sure what is in the water there, but them dudes love to dance!!!

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    No, I wasn’t talking to you. I never addressed you. There WAS NO CONNECTION! Then you assumed I was talking about you. It’s because you’re so full of yourself. You’re such a little diva you always think everyone’s talking about you. Act like a man.

  • Silverandblack666

    First you cal me Asian

    Then you say I am fat

    Then you say I cant fight

    Now you say I am the blog king

    You see a pattern here all of these thoughts are in your mind contrived by you who are a deranged lunatic.

    Yes they are amusing to all of us who know you are a failed script writer on the verge of suicide. But in reality no one here would ever believe anything you write.

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    Higgins and Elmo Wright like to stay ready to get ready, Vegas. It’s their life’s motto.

  • TxRaider210

    RR, I think Tyvon should be in the 5 mil/yr range, maybe 4 years..similar to Brisiel’s contract imo

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    666, I wasn’t even talking to you! Do you think every comment is about you? Stop acting like a little girl.

  • Silverandblack666

    Now Sandusky44 is screaming at me…he will have his day in court!

    You are probably a sex offender you should be castrated and not allowed to reproduce….even with your cousin!

  • Silverandblack666

    Whats sucks is that about 4 or 5 of us were having a great conversation about politics and football until you came in here with your agenda and lack of self esteem.

  • http://raiders.com Seymour Bush

    Yes they are amusing to all of us who know you are a failed script writer on the verge of suicide. But in reality no one here would ever believe anything you write.
    ====================================

    I don’t know, that one story MR was peddling about an idealistic young gay guy from Sacto who moved to Oakland to be near his favorite sports team only to have the team move to LA where he followed them there and turned a ton of the fan base into gown and makeup wearing trannies. Until the foul evil owner realized what was going on and moved them AGAIN to get away from him. That was believable.

  • Just Fire Baby

    So my Gradkowski tales had everyone fleeing for the hills I see.

    And I was just getting started, lol

    I was about to break out his list of NFL records he holds (he actually does hold a few)

  • Just Fire Baby

    he has a lot in common with JFB!

    SF Giants fan that loves to visit the Niagra Falls, lol

    **************************

    We both tackle about the same as well!!!!

  • Silverandblack666

    “I don’t know, that one story MR was peddling about an idealistic young gay guy from Sacto who moved to Oakland to be near his favorite sports team only to have the team move to LA where he followed them there and turned a ton of the fan base into gown and makeup wearing trannies. Until the foul evil owner realized what was going on and moved them AGAIN to get away from him. That was believable.”

    Ok I will give you that…..could be true.

    But what about the mentally ill Chargers fan who was jacking it in San Diego?

  • DutchRaider77

    @Just Fire Baby

    Here is some ammo!

    http://twitter.com/bgradkowski5

  • Silverandblack666

    JFB you like the Giants?

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    God do you ever shut up?

  • Just Fire Baby

    I do.

    Raiders, Warriors……Giants.

    How could you not like Will the Thrill over freaking Canseco and McGwire?

    Ricky and Hendu were cool for the A’s, and the Eck.

    But the Nuechler was the man and I always rooted for the Gigantes.

  • Silverandblack666

    “God do you ever shut up?”

    Now you know exactly how everyone here feels when you show up!

  • Just Fire Baby

    Plus, when you are a seamhead like myself, National League baseball is just much more enjoyable to watch.

    Baseball is slow paced enough, at least some double switches and pitching changes keeps you thinking.

    DH = beer-league baseball

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    666, I wasn’t talking to you. There you go again.

  • Silverandblack666

    “I do.

    Raiders, Warriors……Giants.”

    I was at an A’s game a couple of weeks ago and it was cool to see all the Raider fans there, I wore a Raider shirt and was giving high fives all the Raider fans.

    There are 54 days until our first game!!!

  • Just Fire Baby

    Why did the A’s release Manny?

    AFter all that, he was hitting .300 in the minors, and I am sure he would have hit .300 in the pro’s.

    A’s have been playing great the last 3 weeks, so why wouldn’t they want a legit bat in the lineup post All-Star break and maybe make a run at one of the two Wild Card berths.

    I swear it is like the chick from Major League is running that team.

  • Silverandblack666

    “666, I wasn’t talking to you. There you go again.”

    Again now you know EXACTLY how everyone here feels when you rudely but into our conversations.

    Sucks when the shoe is on the other foot doesn’t it!

    You could learn a lesson here if your little brain can comprehend what just happened.

  • Silverandblack666

    My paddle is getting warm you can keep coming back for more spankings as long as you like!

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    My paddle’s getting warm!!!

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    666, what time is your “meeting” today?

  • Intrepid

    666 and the sullen1 are going at it on both posts. Now that’s funny.

  • http://raiders.com Seymour Bush

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    June 20th, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Why did the A’s release Manny?
    ==================================

    I don’t think he was hitting in the minors. In fact I thought he was hitting like .220 in triple A.

  • mack-madden

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    June 20th, 2012 at 3:19 pm
    Why did the A’s release Manny?

    AFter all that, he was hitting .300 in the minors, and I am sure he would have hit .300 in the pro’s.

    A’s have been playing great the last 3 weeks, so why wouldn’t they want a legit bat in the lineup post All-Star break and maybe make a run at one of the two Wild Card berths.

    I swear it is like the chick from Major League is running that team.

    $$$$$$$$$$

    he was not hitting for power.

    he was not hitting for extra bases.

    that said, i would have brought him up to the show to see how he performed under the spotlight of MLB

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    666, I was at that A’s game. I was one of the people that slapped high fives with you.

  • Silverandblack666

    “666 and the sullen1 are going at it on both posts. Now that’s funny.”

    Its an epic battle and I am winning on both posts. His ass must be sore he sure like to get spanked!

  • Silverandblack666

    “666, I was at that A’s game. I was one of the people that slapped high fives with you.”

    OK who were they playing that day?

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    A’s just signed Manny for preseason ticket sales, then dump him before he had a chance to heat up and thus put pressure on them to re-sign him to a bigger contract? Possible.

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    It’s an epic battle and I’m winning on both fronts. My paddle’s just getting warm. I’m staying ready to get read. It’s my life’s motto. I picked it up from the great philosopher SugaFree, the rapper from Pomona who’s been butchering DJ Quik’s beats for over a decade.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Preseason ticket sales?

    Why would anyone pre-buy an A’s ticket , when you can show up 10 minutes AFTER the first pitch and sit just about anywhere you want?

  • Just Fire Baby

    He was hitting .302 on the minors, but only a .349 slugging (that is a Luis Polonia type number).

    Still, .300 is .300, and he had almost an RBI per game played.

  • Silverandblack666

    The A’s signed Manny to DH for them the second half of the season so they could make a playoff run.

    He was injured after he served his suspension and was sent to the minors and was never able to get healthy or get his game up to par so he could come back. They cut him shortly thereafter.

  • http://www.raiderettes.com Sullivan44

    Hence the idea of trying to raise preseason ticket sales, JFB. Sign a big name. They were staying ready to get ready. You understand, pimpin’.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Not sure why you bring in a HOF player and than base his potential promotion on what he does in the minors.

    Did we care what Jerry Rice or Rod Wood did in the preseason?

    Big-boy players like Manny deserve the benefit of the doubt, and you bat him cleanup and see what happens.

  • DutchRaider77

    New Post by Becker!

  • Intrepid
  • Intrepid
  • Nnamdi21
  • Nnamdi21
  • Nnamdi21