Raiders

Statement from Raiders owner Mark Davis

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Statement from Raiders owner Mark Davis

The following statement was delivered by Raiders owner Mark Davis to open Tuesday's press conference introducing Reggie McKenzie as the new general manager of the Oakland Raiders.

Mark Davis
"Three months ago, on Oct. 8, 2011 at 3 a.m. I received a phone call from Dr. General Hilliard that my father had passed away. It was a sad day for the Raider Nation and all the players, coaches and fans that had worn the famed Silver & Black over the past 48 years. I had two immediate goals -- one short term, one long term. My short-term goal was to make sure the season continued with as little disruption as possible and to achieve our goal of reaching the playoffs, and winning the Super Bowl. In that regard I asked John Madden to join me in a meeting with coach Jackson, where we discussed the optimum working relationship between the coach and myself.

"My short-term goal went great for about five days. Then Jason Campbell broke his right clavicle in the game. The following week we lost Darren McFadden to a foot injury, which unknowingly at the time, turned out to be a season-ending injury. At one point in the season we were 7-4 and two games ahead in the division. And then we lost four of the next five games to finish 8-8 and out of the playoffs. To say the least, it was certainly a disappointment. My long-term goal was to research and identify a general manager to lead the Raider organization into the future. I consulted with Ron Wolf to help me identify potential candidates, one of which was Reggie McKenzie.

"Unfortunately, league rules prohibited us from contacting any current employees of any other National Football League teams until the end of the regular season. So for three months I did extensive research into all the potential candidates for the job.But early on I recognized that Reggie McKenzie was the man I was looking for to lead the Raiders into the future.

"On January 1 the shackles were off and we were finally able to ask the Green Bay Packers for permission to interview Reggie McKenzie to become general manager of the Oakland Raiders. On January 2 the Green Bay Packers graciously granted that permission. I called Reggie, we spoke briefly, and made arrangements for him to fly in for an interview. We met with John Madden for about six hours and reached an agreement that Reggie would become the general manager of the Oakland Raiders.

"After the meeting I texted Reggie that my father used to say, "the greatness of the Raiders is in its future." Reggie, the future is now. Ladies and gentlemen, Reggie McKenzie."

Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice

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USATSI

Irvin, Mack given a day off from Raiders practice

ALAMEDA – Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin were out at Raiders practice Wednesday for the stretching period. Both edge rushers left one-at-a-time during the individual period, which was open to the press, headed into the main building and did not return.

There was no perceived reaction, certainly no surprise, from the coaching staff or players on the field. Irvin and new defensive coordinator John Pagano were seen joking around on the field before practice began in earnest. 

Both Irvin and Mack were given a practice off. A Raiders official called it a day off/rest-type day that was not injury related. The Silver and Black typically practice in pads or shells on Wednesday, but were in jerseys and sweats in the interest of recovery.

This day off's timing did raise an eyebrow.

Wednesday marked the first practice Irvin has missed since training camp. Mack hasn’t missed one in months.

Mack and Irvin’s downtime also came a day after beloved defensive coordinator Ken Norton’s firing.

Several defensive players were upset about Norton's firing, but Mack and Irvin especially were among those loyal to Norton. Mack and Norton developed a bond after the coach was named defensive coordinator in 2015. Norton and Irvin go way back to their days together in Seattle. Irvin credits Norton for helping him get on the right path and stay there.

Neither player was happy Norton got the axe. Irvin made his displeasure clear, tweeting “BULLS***” shortly after news of Norton’s demise broke. Mack told ESPN “I like to keep my thoughts private.” Defensive stars declined comment Wednesday or didn't appear in the locker room when the media was present. 

It isn’t immediately clear if the non-injury related day off was related to Norton’s dismissal. Head coach Jack Del Rio won’t speak to the media again until Friday. New defensive coordinator John Pagano is scheduled to speak Thursday afternoon.

Del Rio addressed the media before Wednesday’s practice, and was asked how he’ll handle players unhappy with the in-season shake-up.

“I don’t try and 'handle' them,” Del Rio said. “I think the biggest thing is to understand the relationship, respect that, give him a little space and then at the end of the day, we’re going to get on with our work. But, I’m human. It wasn’t easy for me either.”

Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

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USATSI

Del Rio: 'Nobody should feel comfortable,' following Norton firing

ALAMEDA – Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio put out a statement Tuesday explaining why he fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.

He went into greater detail Wednesday afternoon, his first time facing the media since a change was made

Specifics will be discussed further down this story. We don’t, however, want to bury the lede.

Del Rio’s main message wasn’t about Norton. It applied to all in Silver and Black. This season has not met lofty expectations. That is unacceptable.

“I know one thing,” Del Rio said. “Nobody should feel comfortable, because what I’ve been watching is not good enough.”

Del Rio didn’t absolve himself from blame. Norton got fired, but everyone has played a part in this disappointing 4-6 record.

“It’s always shared,” Del Rio said. “A change was made, obviously. We all share in it, all of us, starting with me. It’s coaches and players. It’s a team game, and we’re all in it together. And nobody is coming to help us.”

The Raiders must look inward to start a prolonged winning streak they’ve shown little evidence they can create.

The seat will be warm under players and coaches alike, even if only one change was made. Expect further shakeup on the coaching staff after the season, if vast improvements don’t come down the stretch, possibly with several position coaches being shown the door. More than a few higher profile players could be cut or allowed to leave, especially on defense.

While Del Rio has taken more heat the past month than at any other time in his Raiders tenure, expect him to be around a longer term. He was given a contract extension in February, and has significant capitol built after changing the culture in Oakland and re-teaching this team how to win. One bad year, even if this season continues heading downhill, shouldn’t erase that.

Del Rio was looking to shake things up, and Norton was the obvious move. Experienced play caller John Pagano was on staff – he was Chargers defensive coordinator from 2012-2016 – and firing the popular Pagano’s style could create some new waves and looks that any offensive Norton would make an impact in the locker room and prove this story’s opening quote, that no one should feel comfortable.

Del Rio hopes firing Norton will be a shock to the defense’s system.

“I really felt like I needed to shake things up,” Del Rio said. “We couldn’t continue doing what we’ve been doing to this point. So I made the call. The whole idea is to change what we’re doing and make sure…what I’m looking for at the end of the day is for us to play fast on defense. We weren’t playing fast enough. We weren’t playing confident enough.”