2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Raiders GM says vindication comes with playoffs

By JOSH DUBOW - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-18 19:20

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - Reggie McKenzie heard all the preseason predictions from the pundits that had his Oakland Raiders pegged as one of the worst teams in the NFL.

After a tight road loss at Indianapolis and a home win over Jacksonville to start the season, the Raiders general manager is not ready to crow about his team's success.

``Vindication? No. Not at all,'' he said Wednesday. ``It's way too early. Vindication is when we're in the playoffs. Then it's a whole new season. That's my goal. ... Our goal is to try and win as many games as we can and get to the playoffs.''

McKenzie touched on many subjects in a 30-minute interview with local beat reporters, with much of the focus being on the quarterbacks after Terrelle Pryor beat out Matt Flynn for the starting job in training camp.

Flynn held the top spot for most of the offseason and training camp after McKenzie traded two draft picks to Seattle and committed $6.5 million in guaranteed money to acquire a quarterback he spent four years with in Green Bay.

McKenzie had traded away last year's starter, Carson Palmer, and did not have confidence in Pryor to be the starter at the time of the deal in April.

But Pryor exceeded expectations in the preseason and Flynn struggled with a sore elbow, leading to the decision to go with late owner Al Davis' final draft pick over the player hand-picked by the new regime.

``He's made leaps and bounds from last year, from the time I spent with him,'' McKenzie said. ``He's done a good job.''

Pryor has done well so far. He posted the eighth 200-yard passing, 100-yard rushing game since the 1970 merger in the 21-17 loss at Indianapolis and then posted a 19-9 win in the home opener over Jacksonville.

McKenzie said Pryor is only getting better as his confidence and playing time increases.

McKenzie has spent much of his first two years on the job tearing down the team as part of a massive rebuilding job. Only 14 players on the active roster were with the organization when McKenzie was hired in January 2011.

McKenzie has cut ties with many of the high-profile players he inherited, letting go of former first-round picks Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Rolando McClain and players acquired for first-rounders in Carson Palmer and Richard Seymour.

Those moves have led to the Raiders carrying over $50 million of ``dead money'' on their salary cap, meaning about 40 percent of their cap is going to players no longer in the organization.

``It's not about driving off players who were here and bringing in our own guys,'' McKenzie said. ``It's trying to put together a good nucleus and core group of guys and then funnel other players in that can help complement them and put together the best team. And whoever plays will be whoever the coach thinks gives us the best chance to win. And that's what it's all about.''

McKenzie has vowed to build through the draft but that is still a work in progress. The 16 players he has picked in his first two drafts have combined for one start this season and only 278 total snaps on offense and defense.

McKenzie's first draft class was hamstrung by having no picks until the 95th overall and only defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi was active from that group of six last Sunday.

The 2013 class has been more productive with first-rounder D.J. Hayden getting playing time as a nickel cornerback, third-round linebacker Sio Moore starting one game, sixth-round tight end Mychal Rivera emerging as a receiving threat and seventh-round receiver Brice Butler getting significant time.

But McKenzie said it's too early to judge those picks.

He has made judgments on some of the current players, signing extensions with kicker Sebastian Janikowski, fullback Marcel Reece and long snapper Jon Condo to keep them off the open market next year.

He has also had talks with defensive end Lamarr Houston and left tackle Jared Veldheer about long-term deals and hopes to be able to lock up some of his potential free agents before they hit the market.

``We're working diligently to keep our own,'' he said. ``If we can lock some guys up that's going to be key for us. That's how I want to build this thing.''

McKenzie will finally get to build the team his way next offseason when he will have plenty of salary cap room and all of his top draft choices at his disposal.

The goal this year is to build a foundation for future success as the Raiders try to end a 10-year playoff drought.

``I think we're moving in that direction, we really are,'' he said. ``Next year, from an offseason standpoint, we're going to be in line like the other teams. What I'm saying there is the cap won't be an issue. I won't be way out here while everybody else is able to play the free-agency game. The first three picks? You got `em. That's 2014. This year, we were able to get some pieces that we feel can help us. Hopefully, we can build on that every week and turn some of these games into some victories.''

NOTES: McKenzie said no decision has been made by the NFL about whether to move the Oct. 6 game against San Diego because of a possible conflict with the Oakland Athletics in the playoffs.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:12p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) said he is not dealing with any pain in his back but is taking things one day at a time. Newton said he [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 02:02p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) left practice early Thursday, Dec. 18, because he is receiving a scheduled day of rest. Manning was not limping when he was walking to the locker room.

LeSean McCoyDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Chris PolkDec 18 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Chris Polk appears to have become the team's goal-line back of late, and two of the three snaps he played in Week 15 led to short [ More ]

Cam NewtonDec 18 01:22p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) had an increased set of repetitions in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and it looks like he's on track to play in Week 16 [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 12:52p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Andre JohnsonDec 18 12:52p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (concussion) has cleared the leagues concussion protocol and will play in the team's Week 16 game.

Julio JonesDec 18 12:12p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Case KeenumDec 18 10:03a

Houston Texans QB Case Keenum is expected to start in Week 16.

Philip RiversDec 18 09:22a

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) is battling a back injury that is more severe than the team has acknowledged, according to a league source. Rivers' back injury [ More ]

LeSean McCoyDec 18 01:03a

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy opened practice on the sidelines Wednesday, Dec. 17, while RB Chris Polk opened with first-team reps. After practice McCoy did not seem too concerned. [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanDec 18 01:03a

The Denver Broncos are hopeful RB Ronnie Hillman (foot) will be able to return for the Week 16 game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, Dec. 22, or for the [ More ]

Drew StantonDec 17 07:33p

Arizona Cardinals QB Drew Stanton (knee) said this injury is different from any other he's ever had, and he said it's too soon to know if he could return [ More ]

Carlos HydeDec 17 07:03p

San Francisco 49ers RBs Frank Gore (concussion) and Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not take part in practice Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Jay CutlerDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

Jimmy ClausenDec 17 06:43p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will be benched in favor of QB Jimmy Clausen in Week 16 against the Detroit Lions, according to a source.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group