"I always look in the mirror, and the buck stops with me," Davis told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez after Sunday's 20-6 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. "Where this team is right now is my fault. We haven't been able to build a 22-man roster. We haven't been able to give this team a chance to win because the Reconstruction failed. We failed from 2014 on to have a roster right now."
The Raiders have fallen from rising darling of the NFL in 2016 to the bottom of the league. Gruden, who signed a 10-year contract this offseason, has gone about deconstructing the entire roster via trades aimed at accumulating draft picks.
The two most notable deals saw Gruden jettison star pass-rusher Khalil Mack and wideout Amari Cooper. The Mack trade has been widely criticized. However, Davis said Mack would not communicate with the Raiders brass, and the team was facing a potential Le'Veon Bell situation if it did not make a move:
"My thought was, 'Listen, he signed a five-year contract, if he's the type of guy that I think he is, he's going to honor that contract.' And he's going to come in and play for the $13 million for this year and then we'll work for him during the year and get it. Word came back through certain players that know him and talk to him and know me as well, that he wasn't going to come in. He was going to do the Le'Veon Bell (holdout). At that point, I said, 'F it. The guy hasn't talked to anybody. We've got to do something.'"
Mack and Cooper share an agent, Joel Segal.
Mack (7.0 sacks) has performed like perhaps the best pass-rusher in football since Oakland traded him to the Chicago Bears, though he's dealt with injuries that caused him to miss two straight contests. Cooper has recorded 11 receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown in two games with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Raiders sit in the bottom 10 in offense and defense, and they have been outscored by an NFL-worst 125 points.
"It's been all part of an evolution," Davis said. "But I think it's becoming clearer and clearer to Jon as well that the talent is just not here at this time.
"The drafts did not help supplement what we were doing in the free-agent market. If you look at our roster now, it's a bunch of free-agent one-year guys that are mercenaries. And they're great guys, and they're Raiders. Once a Raider, always a Raider...but we just don't have the overall talent of a 22-man roster."