The Raiders are having an abjectly awful 2018. They managed to get their third win of the season Sunday in a surprising victory over the Steelers, but that hasn’t made up for how dreadful they’ve been. Good players have been traded away, the offense and defense has struggled, and the losses are piling up.
When a team loses this much it usually means changes are on the way. And considering Jon Gruden just got hired as coach on a massive 10-year contract and has been given full control over the team, that left only one person to be scapegoated for a disappointing year.
That’s why Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was fired on Monday. This was a long time coming, but the Raiders had apparently wanted to give McKenzie the chance to finish the season. Now, however, it sounds like he’s out and Gruden will get a chance to influence who the team’s new GM is.
McKenzie was fired because Gruden wanted someone that would go along with his line of thinking. Full control of a team goes beyond a roster. It also has to involve scouting and decision making. As such, McKenzie had to go so Gruden could get like minded people in his organization. Unfortunately, this feels like it’s going to be spun as McKenzie’s team failed to get enough wins due to roster construction and he had to be fired as a result.
McKenzie built a team that made the playoffs only two seasons ago. He pulled a team that had been a joke for over a decade out of the muck and his reward was to have a power hungry coach given power over him, trade away players like Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack, players he drafted, and then see his tenure end when the remaining team couldn’t win enough.
McKenzie still has a good reputation across the league and shouldn’t have a problem finding another job, but it will be interesting to see who Gruden and the Raiders choose to replace him. And how they rebuild what’s left in Oakland in the years leading up to their move to Las Vegas.