Bay Area, CA | Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie has done a dynamite job since taking the helm of football operations since the death of NFL icon Al Davis. So much so that McKenzie was even awarded Executive of the Year in 2016 – and deservedly so.
McKenzie’s methodical rebuild purged the roster of bad players and contracts. His “Build Through the Draft” approach landed valuable players in both early and late rounds. And McKenzie has done more than anyone else for the former perennial NFL laughingstock.
So forgive me for asking – but what’s wrong with Reggie McKenzie?
The 2016 Raiders were an offensive juggernaut, led by MVP candidate Derek Carr. This offseason McKenzie upgraded a few areas on offense that could use some improvement. Notable additions included RB Marshawn Lynch, TE Jared Cook, and WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson.
However, the 2016 squad was also known for inconsistent play at the CB position, uninspired interior LB play, and a lack of pressure from the middle of the defensive line. The defense was just a few players away.
Fast forward to the offseason. McKenzie did very little to address the defensive side of the ball other than the drafting of CB Gareon Conley – who has yet to step on the field in any capacity, and Eddie Vanderdoes, a rookie DT that has much to prove.
The primary focus of Raiders free agency was brining in even more offensive talent to an unit that I peg as Top-5 in the NFL. Focusing on this side of the ball is perplexing because the Raiders enter this season having only improved the offensive unit.
This from a GM, Head Coach, Assistant Head Coach, and Defensive Coordinator that all played/coached defense in the NFL. If “Defense Wins Championships” – I can’t wrap my head around one question:
How does the reigning NFL Executive of the Year field a team that fails to substantively address its biggest weakness and most important unit?