Raiders owner speaks his mind on state of team


Raiders owner Mark Davis realizes his team is in the midst of a complete makeover and that it’s going to take time. Just the same, he isn’t accepting the fact that the Raiders can’t make some noise before the roots take hold.
Davis said in an exclusive with Bay Area News Group on Monday that he is adamant that the Raiders build a foundation that is going to help the Raiders be a perennial Super Bowl-caliber team.
Doing so entails building through the NFL draft, Davis said, and using free agency as a means to fill in the gaps, not as some sort of panacea.
Davis points to the 49ers as a model for the way he envisions general manager Reggie McKenzie constructing the Raiders.
“You have to have a very solid team and then you can plug one or two guys in,” Davis said. “I hate to use the example of the team across the bay, but they’re in a position now where they have such a good core that they’re able to just pick up a guy here or a guy there.
“They’re able to bring in a Nnamdi Asomugha or somebody that could possibly help them. If he doesn’t (work out), it doesn’t really destroy their chemistry badly because they’re not counting on Nnamdi to do anything (great), but to augment them.”
The core of the 49ers roster comprises players selected in the draft, with free-agent signees such as defensive lineman Justin Smith, strong safety Donte Whitner and wide receiver Mario Manningham bolstering the lineup.
The 49ers have twice as many picks as the Raiders in this year’s draft, which begins next Thursday.
The Raiders own the rights to the No. 3 pick. However, they are without second- and fifth-round selections as a result of trades for quarterback Carson Palmer and linebacker Aaron Curry in 2011.
McKenzie has said from the day he was hired in 2012 that he covets draft picks and views them as the key to building a successful team.
The other key to a Raiders turnaround, Davis said, lays in their ability to get their salary cap to the point where they have enough money to re-sign their own players and a handful of free agents each season.
To that end, McKenzie used last offseason and this offseason to purge what he deemed “out-of-whack” contracts.
That process is complete, though at considerable expense. Severing ties with the likes of Stanford Routt, Kamerion Wimbley, Palmer, Richard Seymour, Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Rolando McClain forced the Raiders to account for almost $50 million of their $123 million salary cap this season on players no longer on the roster.
“It’s something that was necessary,” Davis said. “It was clearly evident. We needed to do some more restructuring. All the way down to the brass bolts. But there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
When the Raiders emerge from their funk remains to be seen. They last made the playoffs in 2002, when they advanced to the Super Bowl. They haven’t won more than eight games in a season the past 10 years.
Davis said he wasn’t expecting the Raiders to win the Super Bowl last season, the first for McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen. He also isn’t sure how much longer it’s going to take for Raiders to get to the point where they are a Super Bowl contender.
“My philosophy is, making the playoffs is great and all that, it’s great for the fans and everything, but winning the Super Bowl is the only goal,” Davis said. “Otherwise, I’ve said it all my life, if you don’t win the Super Bowl, then you’re just like one of the other 30 teams.”
The Raiders won the last of their three Super Bowls in the 1983 season. Davis said he is hell-bent upon bringing more Super Bowl titles to Oakland in the coming years.
“In my lifetime, we’ve had three successful seasons,” Davis said. “That’s the absolute truth. That’s the way I live my life. That’s the way we live our lives. What we’re trying to build is a team that is going to go after Super Bowls. It can’t just be a one-shot deal.”
Davis said he is content with McKenzie and Allen and that he intends to be patient enough to let them see through the process of rebuilding the Raiders.
“The process of building a foundation is going to take place this year, next year, the following year,” Davis said. “It’s not just going to be a quick fix, ‘OK, hey, we’re back and this is great.’ It’s going to take awhile.”
And that’s what Davis expected when he hired McKenzie as the team’s first full-fledged general manager. McKenzie, in turn, hired Allen to succeed Hue Jackson.
“I hired Reggie knowing what the process was going to be,” Davis said. “I have no problem with where it’s going so far on the player personnel side. That’s where his expertise is. … Who knows? We could be really competitive this year. I’m not writing the season off.”


Steve Corkran


    Couple of weeks ago, all the talk was of someone trading up to get Geno Smith.

    Now the talk is someone trading up to get an OT.

    Hard to say what kind of market there is or will be for the #3 pick.

    Would be extremely surprised to see Reggie make any deal until the RAIDS are on the clock.

  • SnBG

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Top 10 = Joeckel, Fisher, Jordan, Floyd, Milliner, Smith, Lotulelei, Mingo, Werner & Ansah

    Next 10 = Moore, Jones, Warmack, Cooper, Austin, Allen, Patterson, Rhodes, Johnson & Richardson

    I agree with John Madden – not you. “We need a whole barrel of guys”

    I’d take any of those 2nd tier dudes and think that player would be an immediate starter & impact player for us
    Ah misunderstood your post. Hard to debate Madden.I hear you on the top 20 but I like my odds better with the top 10 in the first and a top ten in the second. If I understand your post. We have a third rd pick, correct? What’s the point of going past that. Not sure those 4 and beyond guys stay with the team long.

  • Return2Greatness

    For all you Davis, Mckenzie and Allen haters,(that also call yourself fans) coaching is a psychological game that starts from the top. First of all Davis has stepped back to allow his GM and coaching staff work for him. This holds his staff accountable and apply a certain degree of pressure to produce, or get out. Leverage establish.
    Second, Mckenzie has purged the roster of over payed players who have forgotten how to play for passion. Most of these players were very talented, but because of having the wrong mind set, become more of a cancer than a cog to the blue print. Mckenzie has also signed players to one year deals, essentially saying if you don’t produce, we don’t want you next year. For lack of a better word, A degree of fear has been infused. Leverage establish.
    Finally, the wild card, Denis Allen. It’s hard to say what he’s capable of simply because he’s not proven. I liked the direction he was moving last year, having the fewest penalties through the first 4 games of the season in ten years. Disciplined football is championship football. My concern is the consistency of playing at this caliber. Given the time, can Allen turn this franchise who has long forgotten how to win into the champions they want to be? You can kemo the cancer but can you keep it from coming back? Unknown variable established. Leverage, questionable, with upside 🙂
    Be pacient Raiders fans, we are, at the very least, moving in the right direction…

  • SnBG

    Post 1356, excellent. Well said and logical. Got to give DA some time. If it doesn’t work out in 3 more yrs then we can make a change. I give Reg/Da a by for the first yr because of the mess they took over.

  • raiderinparadise

    MATT FLYNN time?

  • Flynn is not that good we will be lucky to win 4 games

  • Priesttj12

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    April 16th, 2013 at 10:00 am
    Am I the only blogger that skips every comment by Dr Bob?

  • madmax99

    I just don’t feel good about Dennis Allen.