Reggie McKenzie wants Oakland Raiders to be more clutch

Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie looks on before the game between the Oakland Raiders and Philadelphia Eagles at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2013 season, the Oakland Raiders were expected to be the worst team in the NFL due to a roster bereft of talent, but they managed to win four games and were significantly more competitive than expected. It wasn’t a good season in Oakland by any means, but the Raiders are trending in the right direction and were an intriguing team earlier in the year when Terrelle Pryor was electric with his strong arm and talented rushing. Pryor and the Raiders cooled since then and Pryor has a very long way to go in the readiness department, but he has such good physical tools that it’s tough not to try and believe in him for one more season. With some development and much better decision-making, Pryor could be a good quarterback in this league.

The Raiders have a big offseason ahead of them, as they will have to decide on their franchise QB, decide whether or not to keep Darren McFadden or Rashad Jennings (they could keep both, but the Raiders had better keep Jennings and let McFadden walk), re-sign their two best players who are set to hit free agency in Lamarr Houston and Jared Veldheer, and they will also have to make a big push to improve the overall health of the roster. Their defense has a severe lack of talent, particularly at corner, and they could afford to add another WR to the mix.

Critical months are ahead for the entire organization, but nobody will have more on their plate than GM Reggie McKenzie, who has plenty of critics. Some of that criticism is unfair, because McKenzie’s first job was to purge the bad contracts and he did a great job of clearing out cap space. That said, he has to do well this offseason with the space and opportunity to make savvy moves, and I think this is the offseason that will either make or break his career.

McKenzie isn’t just concerned about the offseason, though, he’s also concerned about the Raiders ability to win close games. It’s one thing to be in games, but it’s another to actually pull those games out and notch Ws.

Here’s what he said, via CSN Bay Area’s Scott Bair, “Let’s figure out how to win games, the close games, especially. Let’s take a look at that and see what happens, whether we fix it, or get it turned around, however it gets done, so we can win one or two of those close ones.”

People can try and spin things and make it sound like it’s mostly Dennis Allen’s responsibility to pull out close wins, but I think it starts at the top. In order to win close games in this league, you need to have a good passing attack and a good pass defense (or a great pass D/O that makes up for a weak pass D/O). The Raiders? They have neither, and they were completely abysmal in coverage. The talent needs to change in order for the Raiders to start doing a better job of winning those games. Without good groceries, it’s going to be awfully tough for Allen to cook delectable dishes.

Topics: Dennis Allen, Oakland Raiders, Reggie McKenzie

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  • Angel

    I give props to our CB’s. Tracy Porter AND Mike Jenkins were playing good football. Porter did beast in more than a few games. Tarver needs to work on the screen pass D a lot more and our D line needs a huge upgrade and we can be a totally different team. Not even talking about offense. Our defense without a great D line was improved, we had like 25 or so sacks from like close to 10 different dudes or something like that. We were definitely better this year

    • Joe Soriano

      I think you are FAR too kind to Jenkins and Porter, and Porter was a trainwreck with 707 yards in coverage allowed.

      • Angel

        We could have been how we were when we allowed Stafford and Johnson to move down the field 99 1/2 yards to blow a 13 point lead late in the fourth. Anything better than that I’m okay with. But for real, not bad for their first year on the team.

        • Rees Britton

          Jenkins did play pretty well, but he’s right about Porter. That guy flat out played horrible.

          • Angel

            Porter’s better than Nnamdi Asomugha ever was….

            Jk jk lol

          • Joe Soriano

            Haha, I always think that Nnamdi’s career would still be good had he chose to stay in Oakland. Grass isn’t always greener, even if the paper is.

          • Rees Britton

            I wish he would come back!

          • PJ

            They actually should! DJ needs a leader and in the right system with not so many stars he would not be expendable. That boy can still play!

  • PJ

    Porter and Jenkins both need to go with Adams, maiva and if Houston walks then good. 6 sacks in the year was his best and now he wants top dollar. Thats why RM has not signed him and Houston talks of Raiders having other plans. I have been saying it for 2 years. BUILD IN THE TRENCHES FIRST ON BOTH SIDES! Thats where championships are won. Keep our QB clean and theirs must go down and must go down hard! Thats the foundation.