The Oakland Raiders have not made the playoffs since 2002 and lost eight of their final nine games last season.
General manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen are heading into their third season together running the franchise and have spent most of the last two seasons tearing apart an expensive, old, flawed roster that was in serious need of an overhaul.
However, owner Mark Davis says the Raiders need to be better and the time for excuses is over.
“There are no built-in excuses anymore,” Davis said to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Those excuses had been a roster that was significantly hampered by dead money left over from the release of several veteran players over the past couple seasons. Moving on from the likes of Richard Seymour, Carson Palmer, Rolando McClain and others chewed up an incredibly large portion of the Raiders salary cap last season.
However, the Raiders aren’t under the weight of those expired contracts any longer. The team is loaded with cap space this offseason and is in a position to spend in free agency.
Davis said he feels the team has been deconstructed correctly, but still isn’t sure some of the pieces they have added will become key contributors going forward.
“The deconstruction part has been done very well. I am just not sure that we put pieces in place,” Davis said.
“…even though we’ve been deconstructing, that didn’t mean we couldn’t have been adding players over these last two years that could be part of the foundation of this franchise. And I am not so sure that we’ve done that yet.”
Oakland is positioned well to find some of those foundation players this offseason. They hold the fifth pick in the draft and have the assets available to be aggressive in free agency. The 2014 season could be a chance for the Raiders to begin to turn their fortunes around. If it’s not, McKenzie and Allen may not get another chance in 2015.