The Raiders new executive needs to be a supreme pain in the ass. So much so, that head coach Jon Gruden constantly thinks, “Why in the hell did I hire you in the first place?”
This is a prerequisite for a job that won’t have final say on personnel.
Mark Davis forced Reggie McKenzie upon to Gruden and look what happened — some awkward ass stuff. Gruden would say one thing in front of the press and McKenzie the opposite and vice versa. By all accounts, Gruden and McKenzie did like each other, however, getting your power taken away is not healthy. And that’s what happend with Big Reg. He lost coaching hiring power (taken by owner Mark Davis) and eventually lost personnel power (when Gruden came in).
It was only inevitable McKenzie would be waxed from Raider Land and he was only right to bounce early despite given the opportunity to stay until the bitter end of the 2018 season.
McKenzie went from carte blanche to gone with the wind. Gruden is where the buck stops when it comes to the Raiders roster, and by hell or high water, the new exec must be a mosquito buzzing in Gruden’s ear from the moment he gets to HQ to the moment he leaves the building.
Dissenting opinions aren’t a bad thing. And the new exec mustn’t be afraid to express their thoughts and Gruden mustn’t squash their ability to do so. Sometimes, hearing “you’re out of your f-ing mind” is a healthy thing. The worst thing that can happen to the Raiders is landing a yes person.
One of my top candidates for the gig is apparently off the market — Scot McCloughan. A respected talent evaluator and team builder, his family’s history with the team (the team offered him a role under McKenzie, but he unsurprisingly balked) would make him an ideal replacement.
“But from the standpoint of being a GM, right now, no,” McCloughan told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “I’ve been a GM twice. Did I enjoy it? Heck yeah, from the standpoint of doing the roster. But there’s a lot of politics that play into it. I don’t deal with politics. I deal with football teams. Not saying it won’t happen some juncture, but right now, no.”
That leaves a slew of other potential candidates ranging from Mike Holmgren to Bruce Allen to Eliot Wolf to pick from. Three first round picks in the upcoming draft and the opportunity to build a team is damn enticing, even if you won’t have final say.
Gruden will land an exec that is to his liking eventually. One that he trusts and selected unlike being saddled by McKenzie. And maybe, for once, the head coach and “GM” will be on the same page at pressers.
More importantly, however, the new exec isn’t afraid to call Gruden a damned fool as much as they are apt to praise the head coach.
Someone other than owner Mark Davis should be able to hold Gruden accountable.
Because, yet another Raiders rebuild demands a healthy relationship between the head honcho and the GM for it to be even remotely successful.
- The more I think about it, the more I’m apt to believe Gruden is going to draft another quarterback to grow and learn behind Derek Carr. AJ McCarron’s salary skyrockets to a cool $5 million in 2019 and that’s a lot of coin for a backup who has no dead cap ramifications.
- We’re going to see if the reported rift between Davis and agent Joel Segal is legit when it comes time to re-upping or letting Karl Joseph walk. The safety has proven he can be an impact force on the defense after riding the pine for a while.
- Jared Cook has set career highs in receptions (61), yards (825) and touchdowns (6) 14 weeks into the 2018 campaign. He appears to be a must re-sign unrestricted free agent this coming offseason. And get this, he’ll be 32 in April which makes him ripe for the Gruden roster, no?
- Guard Jon Feliciano will be an interesting one to watch. He’s proven capable of being a spot starter and key reserve and showed guts and fortitude by playing on an injured leg. He’s an unrestricted free agent who likely gets attention from teams needing a starter.