Hours after he fired head coach Hue Jackson, Raiders G.M. Reggie McKenzie said that his decision was simple: He’s running the team now, and he wants to move the team in a new direction.
“This decision centered around my wanting to bring my own guy in,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie sat next to Raiders owner Mark Davis at a press conference and said that Davis has entrusted him with putting the franchise on the right path.
“I want to bring my guy in and Mark was OK with that, period. That’s what we want,” McKenzie said. “Let’s bring a new guy in and let him have a chance to put his system in place and put his mission statement together for that locker room.”
We don’t know for sure who McKenzie’s guy is, but indications are that Packers assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss is the leading candidate. Moss and McKenzie are both former Raiders linebackers, and they’ve been in Green Bay together for the last five years.
Davis said he has known since his father, Al Davis, died three months ago that McKenzie is the right man to lead the franchise going forward, confirming reports from October that McKenzie was always in the Raiders’ plans. Davis just had to wait for the season to end to hire away an executive from another team.
What Davis didn’t seem eager to talk about was Jackson’s departure. Asked about Jackson’s contentious press conference at the end of the season, Davis said, “I don’t think I want to comment on that.”
Ultimately, McKenzie said, there’s a lot to like about the Raiders’ roster, but also a lot he needs to improve.
“You want to make sure you’ve got productive, good football players,” McKenzie said. “It’s not totally talent. I want some guys who love to play the game, that’s going to play hard, that’s going to play tough. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for some guys who want to play and want to win.”
And first McKenzie will put a coach in place, one who — unlike Jackson — is McKenzie’s guy.