Teams over the past decade have been known to throw money like confetti at any hyped prospect or free-agent, but recently a Green and Gold philosophy has inhabited an organization known to shred money like Nixon thugs – that team being the silver and black, the Oakland Raiders, under the guidance of one Reggie McKenzie.
Under former Packers Director of Pro Personnel Mckenzie, the team has abandoned the futile recklessness of former owner/general manager, Al Davis.
From former head coach Tom Cable knocking out assistants to senior executive John Herrera calling sportswriter Mike Silver a pot-smoker and challenging media members to a fight, the Raiders have been cursed, to say the least.
It must be one of those gypsy curses.
JaMarcus Russell comes to mind as the biggest blunder in Davis’s reign. Instead of following then-head coach Lane Kiffin’s advice, Davis undercut his talented coach for a rocket-armed man-child with a penchant for stuffing his face with Devil-Dogs.
They eventually passed on the record-breaking wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Compounding the problem, Davis dragged his Oakland fans through a divorce more messy than a Kardashian’s.
Holding an unneeded press conference, Davis began by lambasting Kiffin, praising the failure of Russell, and ultimately torpedoing any prospect of interest for any player in the league to join his circus.
Unless they wanted to be overpaid.
Tommy Kelly, Javon Walker and Carson Palmer are all pieces who have come and gone with atrocious sums of money, leaving devastating craters from their presence. Kelly was an unmotivated mess, Walker had mentally and physically checked out, and Palmer … well … did not care in the first place.
Ask the Bengals ….
With head coach Hue Jackson being handpicked by Davis in 2011, and substituting the future for a bleak shot at the playoffs, the Raiders threw a first round pick for quarterback Palmer in 2011.
Davis had finally found stability in Bengals castoffs, but the kind that last for as long as a paper airplane in flight.
Passing away Oct. 8, 2011, as deviantly as he lived, Davis never realized the costly roll of the dice he put his team through.
Choking at the end of the season, the Raiders squandered their chance at the dance against the San Diego Chargers, 38-26.
Now the ominous cloud of indecision they had caught finally rained on the team. No Al, no playoffs and no future.
A change was in order.
Ever wonder what kind of experience it must have been working under the dominating force of Davis and subsequently carrying his legacy?
Try being his son, Mark Davis.
Besides the horrible atrocities done to his own hair, beneath the lid contains a great passion to fix a team consistently drowning under its own rancor and with the assignment of Mckenzie the ability to reverse course is not far off.
Namely with quarterback Matt Flynn - another product of the Green Bay Packers system.
There has not been a competent quarterback in the Oakland area since Rich Gannon swept up the MVP in 2002, but now with Flynn known for his stable demeanor and execution, the Raiders finally have the franchise’s future set.
Under Packers’ GM Ted Thompson, McKenzie learned patience through the draft while cutting ties to destructive forces within the franchise.
Linebacker Ronaldo McClain was a perfect example of the Davis regime, by his constant insubordination to McKenzie’s coach Dennis Allen.
Instead of coddling the talent of McClain, (as Davis had been famous to do) the axe fell quickly and the shockwave effect has righted the wayward ship.
Another trait passed on from Thompson included the art of the draft. Rather than reach or overvalue talent, McKenzie traded his spot in the draft from the third overall pick, (to former Packers offensive coordinator-turned-Dolphins-Head-Coach, Joe Philbin) to the 12th overall pick and for talented defensive back, D.J. Hayden.
Wielding picks and refocusing attention toward team fundamentals has done wonders for the Green and Gold, and from the looks of it the Raiders might return to their legendary owners mantra.
“Just Win Baby.”