Oakland Raiders: 5 Moves Front Office Needs to Make This Offseason
His son, Mark, brought in Reggie McKenzie, who fired coach Hue Jackson and hired former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. But that was just the beginning.
McKenzie made a number of moves this offseason. First, he released players such as Stanford Routt and Kameron Wimbley, much needed moves since the Raiders were so far over the salary cap.
Next, he went on a flurry of contract restructures, from Carson Palmer to Michael Huff to Richard Seymour.
Then, he signed economically signed several cornerbacks and Mike Brisiel, and traded for running back Mike Goodson.
But there is much to be done—both to the roster and in the front office, as Al Davis' passing means the entire organization will undergo a transition.
Sign Cadillac Williams to Back Up Darren McFadden
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Oakland should sign power runner Cadillac Williams.
Second-year tailback Taiwan Jones isn't quite ready, and newly acquired Mike Goodson is an unknown. Additionally, if McFadden does stay healthy, both Jones and Goodson rely more on their quickness than power.
Williams brings a much-needed punch-it-up-the-gut ability, à la Bush. The former Auburn standout has rushed for a stable 3.8 yards per carry over his career and is unexpected to re-sign in St. Louis, where he spent a year backing up Steven Jackson. Furthermore, Williams is readily accepting of the third-down back role.
All good reasons for Reggie McKenzie to bring the power running back to Oakland.
Strengthen an Improving Offensive Line
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The offensive line has been a major problem for the Oakland Raiders during their current playoff draught. You could say the issues began when center Barret Robbins disappeared several days before the 2003 Super Bowl.
Last year, the Raiders improved. But the unit is still of concern for the team.
Reggie McKenzie has made some moves to address the line, signing guard Mike Brisiel to fill the gap of losing center Samson Satele. Stefen Wisniewski slides over to center and should be able to perform; but if he can't, the Raiders need a back-up plan.
This offseason, the new regime must strengthen a serious weakness on the Raiders squad.
Avoid a Repetition of Last Year by Backing Up the QB
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While the most tumultuous occurrence for the Raiders organization last year was the passing of Al Davis, the on-field change at quarterback was quite eventful.
Losing Jason Campbell to injury was certainly a major downer, but the silver lining came in the form of acquiring Carson Palmer. Whether the Raiders gave up too much for Palmer, the former Pro Bowler is without question an answer at the position.
Campbell, however, fled to Chicago, leaving the back-up gig wide open. Last year's reserve, Kyle Boller, proved his inability to step in for an injured starter with a three-interception performance against Kansas City—in one half.
What if Palmer goes down this year? Second-year pro Terrelle Pryor isn't ready to fill in, nor is Rhett Bomar.
How about Palmer's former back-up, Matt Leinart?
The former Heisman Trophy winner would be free of the pressure in Arizona that doomed him. He'd also be back with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who watched Leinart go 10-of-13 for 57 yards and a touchdown in his one start with Houston.
Switch from Speed to Smart Scouting
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With Al Davis no longer controlling everything about the Raiders, organizational shifts are certainly in the works under Reggie McKenzie.
The team needs to change a major part of player development—its scouting.
The late Davis was known for his affinity of speed, picking the fastest 40-yard dash runner in each of the past four seasons.
While receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford have shown flashes, the Raiders recently cut cornerback Chris Johnson this offseason and cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke is still an unknown.
Most Raiders fans can agree that speed is not the answer in the draft, and McKenzie cannot use his own self-proclaimed draft prowess alone. He needs the help of a new-age scouting team rather than the old school past.
Dump Rolando McClain Before It's Too Late
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Once considered a potential star on a Raiders defense badly in need of one, Rolando McClain has failed to live up to expectations. The middle linebacker misses tackles and can't keep his hands on interceptions.
People also forget that McClain achieved so much at Alabama while playing behind future NFL lineman Marcell Dareus and Terrence Cody. His play was helped tremendously by not having many players reach his level of defense.
Another issue is McClain's off-field choices.
Last season, McClain went home to Alabama for his grandfather's funeral but was arrested three days before a game against the Miami Dolphins, an eventual 34-14 loss. This distracted coach Hue Jackson, who was much-maligned for focusing on McClain and the incident rather than game planning.
McClain's contract runs for $970,000 this season, but he's set to make $4 million in 2013 and $5.85 million in 2014. He's just not worth that dollar amount. The front office needs to either field offers to trade him or cut McClain.