Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie talked to a few local writers Saturday night before a dinner honoring Charles Woodson as the club’s Commitment to Excellence award winner. McKenzie said the Raiders pursued defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and talked about some of the nine free agents the Raiders acquired during the week. A transcription:
Q: You went into free agency with a lot of money to spend, a lot of cap room, came back with a lot of players. There’s a perception among fans, `Why didn’t we get Suh? Why didn’t we get Murray?’ How do you feel about the people you brought in?
McKenzie: We feel really good . We had a plan. Every year, you go after a lot of guys, and you don’t get ’em all. Our intent was to go out hard and heavy after each one of these guys, and we were able to land a whole bunch of guys that we really liked. We feel really good about the players that we’ve added to our roster.
Q: You said you wanted starter-type players, looks like you’ve got four or five of those . . .
McKenzie: That was the plan. That was the plan. That’s what we want to do. They come in to compete, and mesh with what we have here, adapt themselves to the new coaching staff and we’ll get it going.
Q: Didn’t get a receiver, was there guys out there that you wanted, was it just the way the market fell?
McKenzie: That’s just the way it played out. We pursued some guys, and it’s still decision by others, they have to make their decision. So you get some, and you don’t (get some).
Q: Were you in on Suh, or was that done so quickly you didn’t have a chance?
McKenzie: Not to elaborate, but yes, we were. We went after him.
Q: Lot of talk about Greg Hardy the past couple of days, a competitive environment, but is he eliminate from realm of possibility coming in here?
McKenzie: At this point, we don’t have any intention of doing anything with him. His situation is a delicate one. It’s ongoing with the league also. Anything we do is with information, with all the players, information gathering.
Q: You still have more free agency, still the draft to go, but there was a thought that you’d get playmakers for Derek Carr. You got guys to block, but in terms of playmakers, not so much. Are you confident there will be more guys coming in in that realm?
McKenzie: Yes, we are.
Q: How is Sio Moore’s health?
McKenzie: Right now he’s rehabbing and the rehab has gone well. The rehab has gone well. He got up here rehabbing and he’s going to his rehab place and we’re confident from the reports that we’ve got that he’s doing real well.
Q: Have four guys that have been starting linebackers, do you see that as competition and depth?
McKenzie: Absolutely. You just want to add as many good players as you can. The coaches will figure that out.
Q: A perception from the outside about Nate Allen. You must have thought you saw something others did not by giving him a multi-year deal when last year it was only a one-year offer. What do you see that impressed you.
McKenzie: He’s a good football player. He can play both safety positions. From what we see on tape, in terms of range, instincts and overall athletic ability, he has what our coaching staff wants to use. That was a major factor. They’re going to use him the right way and we’re excited to have him on board.
Q: Had Wiz at center, chose to go with Rodney Hudson. What was it you liked?
McKenzie: Evaluating him, we just thought he was a really good football player. Pass protecting, run-blocking, staying on his feet, he was just a good football player and we jumped at the opportunity to have him.
Q: You’re bringing in guys younger than last year. That was the plan?
McKenzie: Yeah, we wanted to get some guys that are in their prime and will give us a few years. We felt like the leadership that we have now, we can just add to the roster to get better. Last year was more, we let a lot of guys go early, feel like we didn’t have the leadership. We got some guys who had played some years, and they provided a lot to your young players last year. Hopefully, we can grow from that, and continue. We’ll continue to add some young players. That’s what we wanted to do this year, get some youth, some starter-type guys and try to win some ballgames.
Q: Got to talk to six guys on conference calls. Everybody is excited when they first get to a new team, but they were all like-minded that this is different, something is going on here. Did you get the vibe from those guys as well, that they think something is going on here?
McKenzie: No question. It was legitimate. The guys feel, they know, the players know, the coaches know. I think they’re feeding each other. The whole building is feeling it.
Q: Do you think in some of the instances with guys yuo didn’t get, if you got them in the building it could have been different but it never got that far?
McKenzie: Any time you can get a guy in the building, it always helps from a recruiting standpoint. But the way this thing works now, it’s hard to get to that point.
Q: Is the energy you speak of coming from Jack?
McKenzie: Yeah. Not just from him but the entire coaching staff. There’s a vibe, a good vite.
Q: Charles Woodson talked about all the coaches who have played, and that makes a big difference, do you see that?
McKenzie: Yeah, of course, a lot of those guys, especially when they can turn it over and be good teachers. Being able to be a good teacher and having that background in the game, no question.
Q: Four QBs under contract. Do you think that number will be trimmed by one?
McKenzie: At some point.
Q: Disappointing it didn’t work out with Nick Roach?
McKenzie: Yeah. Those things are so delicate. He tried his best during the season to get back and it didn’t work out for him. He couldn’t pass the test and struggled. We thought it was best for him for us to part ways.