Raiders owner Mark Davis consented to a group interview with the media about 30 minutes after his team lost for the third straight time, 38-17 to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at the Coliseum.
Davis was cordial, candid and and passionate in answering myriad questions about the state of his team, the status of head coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenize, his expectations and much more. Here’s the entire transcript:
Q: How do you beat Pittsburgh, play Atlanta tough and then have this happen?
Mark Davis: “The word regression.”
Q: Is this a rebuilding season?
A: “Not as much. I don’t know what the word would be. I know that we didn’t have the talent, at the beginning of the year, to be a Super Bowl team. I thought that we had definitely potential to get maybe in the playoffs and beat our division. Obviously, that hasn’t happened.”
Q: What’s your mood like?
A: “I’m not happy. But nobody in this room is.”
Q: Do you still feel as if your team can turn it around this season?
A: “Take it game by game, but I don’t know. I know they’re going to fight.”
Q: What do you say to the players?
A: “I didn’t say anything to ‘em. Let the coaches talk to em. I talked to Reggie (McKenzie, general manager).”
Q: What were the goals heading into the season?
A: “Finding a direction for the franchise, moving forward and seeing progress week to week would have been a happier time right now. But that’s still possible.”
Q: What kind of a challenge did you face with a first-time owner, rookie head coach, rookie general manager, salary cap issues, lack of draft picks, etc.?
A: “It’s absolutely a challenge.”
Q: Has the challenge been more daunting than you expected?
A: “No, I wouldn’t say that. I wouldn’t say that. Again, it’s just the results of the game. You win or lose. We haven’t been winning, and it hasn’t been close the last three weeks.”
Q: Did you see depth as being an issue going into the season? Salary cap issues hamstring your team?
A: “As I said, coming in I didn’t know that we had a Super Bowl team and everything, but you can’t blame it on the salary cap and all that. You have players and you coach ‘em and you play. You got to be Raiders.”
Q: Is it time to give other quarterbacks a shot other than Carson Palmer?
A: “That’s up to the coaches. That’s not my decision. I have opinions but I’m not going to speak ‘em.”
Q: Why not?
A: “Because that’s not my place. I have plenty of confidence in Carson Palmer.”
Q: The players say that they aren’t giving up on the season? Your thoughts?
A: “Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m just saying right now I’m a little disappointed with the regression. But, like I say, they’ll fight.”
Q: How frustrated are you?
A: “I couldn’t put it on a 1 to 10 (scale). I’m not happy, I’ll put it that way. But why should I be? Why should we be? Why should anyone in this room be? But they’’ll fight and fix it.”
Q: Do you talk to coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie much during the week?
A: “I talk to Reggie quite a bit, yeah.”
Q: About business?
Q: Do Reggie and Dennis get a pass this year?
A: “Like I say, I’m patient. I’m patient. But I want to see progress. I don’t want to see regression. Nobody does. And that’s why I’m unhappy today. But as far as a pass, I wouldn’t call it a pass. They’ve got contracts; they’re going to be here.”
Q: Did you say you just had surgery?
A: “Yeah, I had back surgery.”
Q: What did they do for your back?
A: “It’s been a two-year process. I had a sciatic nerve problem, a pain in my ass. And I had surgery five months ago, and it didn’t fix it. And, then, so they took pictures again, they found a big cyst-tumor right on the sciatic nerve.”
Q: Why didn’t they find it the first time?
A: “So I’m feeling a lot better.”
A: So it’s all healed?
A: “Well, not totally. January 1 I can start working out. The triplets go away then. I deliver. But again, it’s a sad day today. The last three weeks have been sad, but we’re going to fight. That’s what it is. And we’ll see what happens.”
Q: Are you involved in choosing people to light the torch?
A: “Yes, I am.”
Q: Couple people who your dad had issues with, eh?
A: “Maybe some people thought they were unresolved feelings, but (they are) very close to my mom and myself. And part of the Raider family. And once a Raider, always a Raider. I’ve had trouble with my dad at times. Once or twice. But it’s fantastic. These people are all part of our family, and love ‘em. It’s a good thing.”
Q: Who’s next?
A: “Who you think should be? I’m definitely open to suggestions.”
Q: Encouraged by fact that fans are still here?
A: “Love it. Absolutely love it, but I apologize to them as well. I’m embarrassed for ‘em. Because they live and die as Raiders fans, and I feel for ‘em, I really do. And we’re going to get it right. If it’s for anybody, it’s for them.”
Q: You heard the boos?
A: “I didn’t hear the boos, no. But I can just feel how they feel, because I feel the same way. I’m a fan. And I take responsibility for it, going to get it right.”