Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I woke up this morning with the motivation to finally get around to that Reggie McKenzie interview I’d been putting off from last week.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to the thoughts of the Raiders Jedi master GM, I’m just physically incapable of retaining my sanity while enduring the masked genius of his slow, methodical southern drawl.
A McKenzie interview is like a dog whistle for the ADD impaired.
That’s not to say the approach is without purpose. It’s been said that free agents (upon arriving in Alameda) have signed with the Raiders– just out of fear that the meeting might drag on otherwise. I once read that the Earth’s quietest room could drive you crazy in 45 minutes, is it a coincidence that Reggie’s never been allowed to talk that long? I think not.
On whether we should expect the Raiders to be active in free agency:
…we gonna always try to get better, improve
…we gonna upgrade all areas…we got some work to do
Typical GM speak
…to not only try to sign our own guys, but continue to upgrade when possible when it presents itself, we’ll be able to take advange of it…the cap should not be an issue.
…the cap should not be an issue
Uncharacteristic of Reggie he shows a bit of his hand regarding the need to fortify inside linebacker.
…we need some depth there, we lost two earlier in the season last year and we’ve got two that are free agents. We’re low in numbers right off the bat so we’re going to have to bring some guys in here.
Interesting when a GM admits a position of weakness, but my suspicion is that he’s holding back his disappointment in the players he’s trusted to man his old stomping grounds. By admitting we need depth, Reggie might as well have posted a help wanted sign, and not for a backup special teamer, we need an impact player who can control the middle. I’d rather be forced to watch old re-runs of Malcolm in the Middle than the Raiders version of Malcolm in the Middle. The position did shore up upon acquiring Perry Riley, but he’s also a free agent, and on the wrong side of 30, so sustainability is a question.
Looking at available ILB
Bills Zach Brown – One of my preferred FA’s from last off season, the Bills took a chance on the uber athletic talent and it paid off well. Brown earned a spot in the pro bowl but his value is at a high point that’ll scare off Reggie. I’d say he’s very unlikely.
Chargers Korey Toomer – Yep, that name might sound familiar, Toomer spent some time on the Raiders practice squad before his release led to the Chargers taking a chance. In San Diego, Toomer got the opportunity he never had in Oakland and it proved a great pickup for the Bolts. I’d say Toomer is in play for the Raiders because of the familiarity with newest DC John Pagano (ok, that’s not his title, but I believe that will be his role). Pagano brought out the best in Toomer, and that familiarity could prove vital in this free agent pairing.
49ers Gerald Hodges – Speed to play sideline to sideline, Hodges would be a fit in a more traditional 4-3 defense. I don’t expect Hodges to be the optimal ILB for the system Pagano is likely to feature, but spending the last 2 years in San Francisco could make the Bay Area location attractive to the 26 year old. The 2013 4th round pick out of Penn St is a former safety who could lend a hand in the tough task covering the likes of Kelce, Henry and an always looming Gronkowski playoff matchup.
Eagles Mychal Kendricks – Currently under contract in Philadelphia, the Eagles are looking to unload Kendricks. He’d count a little over 4 million against the cap, so it’s conceivable that a team could give up a late rounder for the talented player coming off his worst season. If Philly can’t find a taker, he’s a likely post June 1 cut. Kendricks has proven an effective player in the past, but he’s most comfortable in a blitz heavy scheme which might not line up well with the Raiders (whom don’t blitz excessively from the inside). Nevertheless, the former Cal product could find some comfort back in the Bay and upgrade one of the leagues worst linebacker units.
Chargers Manti Te’o – Ugh…not a fan of this one. Might as well be his imaginary girlfriend Lennay Kekua for as little as Te’o has produced in recent years. Despite that, Pagano is said to be a fan of Manti’s football IQ. I will admit, there is value in a signal caller who can get guys lined up correctly, but personally, I prefer to upgrade the position, not fill it with the one player who might possibly be worse than the stink we already have in the middle.
Of those options, I think Perry Riley is the best choice, and subsequently, most likely to fill that role again in 2017. Perry is familiar with the system, the coaches, and shouldn’t break the bank.
On to other matters
Just as I’m about to lose consciousness, I’m alerted by a foreshadowing mention of Latavius Murray’s status.
…But the finances will always play a part, you never know there’s 31 other teams who will be communicating to his representatives, we’ll see where it goes…
Translation: Murray is the 2017 version of Donald Penn. If he finds the market isn’t what he’s seeking, we’ll take him back at a discount. If he gets the check he’s looking for, it won’t be signed by Mark Davis.
On the Draft
…typically I like to stay put and take the best player that can help this organization
But we already knew this.
Carr and Mack long term deals.
Those are two great players that we want to make Raiders for quite some time so we’re looking forward to that challenge. We’re ready to face that and we’ll work hard and diligently to get that done.
Again, nothing we couldn’t safely assume.
Here’s the link if you’re having trouble falling asleep tonight.