The 5 Most Important Faces in the Oakland Raiders' New Era
The Oakland Raiders finished their first training camp in the post Al Davis era. As they get ready to enter their first full regular season in the New Era, there are many people who are important in carrying the legacy that Al Davis started when he took over the Silver and Black.
Already there have been many changes in the way the Raiders do business and there are various things that will continue to change. Let's take a look at the five most important people for the Raiders' New Era.
Wide Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey
I wanted to put a player on the list and there were many to choose from, but Darrius Heyward-Bey symbolizes the transition to the New Era. DHB was your prototypical Al Davis player with his size, speed and did I mention he is fast?
Mr. Davis shocked the world when he took the raw, but fast receiver with the seventh overall pick in 2009. He was the No. 1 receiver taken in the draft and many didn't have him rated as a top five receiving prospect heading into the draft.
Nobody questioned his speed, but everyone questioned his ability to catch the ball and mocked him as the seventh overall pick. His first two years were tough as he only recorded 35 receptions for 490 yards and two touchdowns. He was plagued with drops and many still questioned his ability to be a receiver in the league.
One thing nobody can ever question about Heyward-Bey is his work ethic, dedication and his will to never give up. In 2011 he caught 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns.
He led the Raiders in receptions and receiving yards, he was the second leading receiver in the AFC West, and only one receiver drafted in 2009 had more yards than DHB.
Not only did he show improvement and his ability to be a receiver in this league, but he showed what the New Era is all about, hard work, being the best you can be and never giving up.
In the game after Al Davis passed away, he caught seven passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. He dedicated the game and the rest of the season to the man that believed in him. DHB is the face of the New Era and he'll continue to show why he is, as his career continues to blossom.
Head Coach Dennis Allen
Dennis Allen was hired to be the new head coach that will lead the Raiders into their New Era. There is no doubt that Al Davis was smiling the day he was hired.
Just like Davis used to do, Allen was hired as the youngest head coach in the NFL. He is the first defensive-minded head coach to be hired in Oakland since Mr. Davis hired John Madden to be the head coach in 1967.
Allen knows he needs to keep the "Commitment to Excellence" mantra of the Raiders, but he also knows he needs to do it his way because that is the only way he knows how to do it.
Just by listening to the players talk about his first training camp, it's obvious that Allen is bringing in discipline to this organization.
Allen is a professional that pays attention to detail and all of that will show as the Raiders enter the season. There is no better guy to lead the Raiders into the New Era than Allen.
Failure to stop the run, penalties and stupid mistakes have been a big reason why the Raiders have missed the playoffs the last few years. Those errors will be corrected by Allen starting now.
General Manager Reggie McKenzie
Reggie McKenzie is a class act and a true professional with experience in building championship teams. He will be the first General Manager with total control of the franchise in their history. He was actually drafted in 1985 by Al Davis to join the Oakland Raiders and started as a rookie.
He will be the man that will be in charge of constructing the Oakland Raiders franchise for years to come. He inherited a franchise that in his own words had a lot of "Out of Whack" contracts. He's done a fine job trying to fix the Raiders' salary issues and bringing in quality veterans with the limitations he's had.
He helped the Green Bay Packers become a top-tier franchise in the last 20 years and he plans to do the same with Oakland. The Packers had a rich history but had struggled for a few decades, and he was a key part at restoring the Packers franchise in the 90's.
For those who do not know much about him, rest assured that the Raiders are in great hands with McKenzie.
Amy Trask is the CEO of the Raiders and is the most powerful woman in the NFL. That is what made Al Davis great, he didn't see color or gender, all he saw was football intelligence and drive in a person.
Trask brings the old-school toughness that Davis built the Raider franchise on. She was on Mr. Davis's shortlist of people he trusted and she understands his vision for the team.
She will be a vital part of bringing the Raiders New Era into light but also being the bridge to the Old Era that Davis created. The Raiders will never lose their identity with Trask on the job.
For those old-timer Raider fans who lived through their glory days of three Super Bowl Titles, Trask is your go-to person in the organization.
She is the true meaning of being Raider tough and she'll have a big influence in the direction that the Raiders are heading towards in this New Era.
Owner Mark Davis
Mark Davis's whole life has been about the Silver and Black. The food that he ate, the homes that he lived in and the cars that he drove would not have been possible without this Raiders franchise. His dad created a legacy, and when he passed away, he passed it on to Mark.
Mark knows he can't pretend to be his dad and run the team how Al did it. He's not trying to make headlines or go on a spending spree to try and make his own mark in NFL history.
He's going about his business in the right way. He's hiring the right people that will take this franchise back to the glory days, and he's listening to people that will take them there.
Mark understands how his father ran the team, and he understands that nobody will ever be able to do what Al Davis did. He also understands that for him and the franchise to be successful, he has to do things his own way. The Al Davis Way is over in Oakland, and the New Era brings in the Mark Davis Way.
As he enters his first full season as the owner of the Raiders many will be watching him and the franchise. If the Raiders can turn around their fortunes it will be done with a lot of the players his dad drafted, but it will be done the Mark Davis Way.
If the Raiders rise back to the top, you'll always be thankful for Al Davis, but the man to thank is Mark. This is the New Era and this is Mark Davis's team now. I hope the Raider Nation and the rest of the world are ready because the Raiders are coming back. Just Win Baby.
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