It’s not official, but it appears Green Bay executive Reggie McKenzie will be hired as the new general manager of the Oakland Raiders. McKenzie is the first new decision maker in Oakland after the October death of owner Al Davis.
Here are some initial thoughts:
It’s no surprise. McKenzie emerged as the leading candidate shortly after Davis’ death. He clearly impressed the Raiders in his Wednesday interview. While they were expected to look at several other candidates, it was McKenzie all the way.
What about Hue Jackson? ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that how much power McKenzie will have will be determined. But remember McKenzie was in a good situation in Green Bay and he would have had other opportunities in the future. He would have likely taken this only if the Raiders gave him significant say in the organization.
Where will it leave Jackson? He had been the primary decision maker since October and there have been whispers that perhaps a new general manager would want to bring in his own coach. The fact that the Raiders moved quickly to hire McKenzie may stoke that talk. Will Jackson be replaced? The odds are against it, but crazier things have happened.
McKenzie has Raider blood. He was a Raider linebacker from 1985-1988. Davis selected him in the 10th round of the draft nearly 27 years ago. Davis never knew he was choosing his replacement.
Former Davis associates Ron Wolf and Ken Herock have some influence with Mark Davis. Herock and Wolf recommended McKenzie to Davis and they were clearly listened to.
Are the Raiders going to become Green Bay West? It’s not the worst thing that could happen to the franchise. There has been talk that McKenzie could bring the Ron Wolf's son, Eliot, with him.
Does this mean Darren Perry and Winston Moss, two Green Bay assistants, could be in the mix? They were mentioned as head coaching candidates last year. Maybe one of them emerges as a defensive coordinator candidate or as a head coach if a change is made. Green Bay’s key free agents are tight end Jermichael Finley, running back Ryan Grant and quarterback Matt Flynn. None of those players fill an immediate need for the Raiders.
When will he be able to start the job? Under league rules, McKenzie can’t be hired until after the Packers’ season. That may not be until February. However, the Packers can let McKenzie move on. I bet they will. He has been a good soldier and it’s not like they need him for next week’s game plan.
I’ve known McKenzie for several years. He is a friendly, quiet and laid back guy. Don’t expect him to be a swash buckler. He is a football man who will put in his work. He will not a be a headlines maker and he won’t make moves just to make moves. He will bring stability to the franchise and will do what it takes to improve the team.