Highlights of McKenzie's media meeting

January 17, 2013, 3:00 pm
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ALAMEDA -- Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie met with seven reporters at the team complex Thursday to go over the team's 4-12 season and his plans for the immediate future, which includes hiring coaches to fill out Dennis Allen's coaching staff and preparing for the upcoming Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. The Raiders leave for Alabama on Saturday with practices beginning Monday and the game on Jan. 26.

Expect a full transcript later, but a few highlights of McKenzie's 42-plus minute meeting with media members, his first public comments since Nov. 30.

* McKenzie said the search for an offensive coordinator is "winding down" and acknowledged speaking with Norv Turner and Marc Trestman about the gig.

* McKenzie, on if Allen was married to zone-blocking scheme and if team learned from failure: "I don't think Dennis was married to a scheme. He saw a scheme that he was interested in, and liked what it had to offer. To me, it's not about scheme -- people get so tied up in scheme, it's how you use your players and how you execute.

* McKenzie on the salary cap issues: "Personally, I think we're year away from that. We're not in a salary cap situation like last year, but we still have issues and have some decisions that have to be made before free agency, or when free agency starts. So, we're not out of the woods, by any stretch. But, we are better off than last year.

* McKenzie, on if cutting Rolando McClain would have been a salary cap hit: "There's always acceleration with anybody you've got money tied into."

* McKenzie also said he was "confident" Darren McFadden would play the final year of his contract in Oakland in 2013. "When you talk about being productive, when you talk about offensively moving the ball, scoring points, getting some plays out of your big-play guys, you've got to find ways to let him do what he does best. We didn't. We didn't do that…when Darren is running certain plays, it's pretty doggone good, and which he had some last year. But when you talk about a scheme, he's not a lateral mover. He's not one of those guys. As soon as he can go north and south, that's when he's at his best."

* McKenzie, on what he saw in Terrelle Pryor: "What I did see was Terrelle that I was pleased with, he protected the ball in the game when you have snapping issues, even with handing off, the ball slipping, protecting when you’re being rushed, he protected the ball. That was a plus for me. To see that and to see snap count, the offensive linemen getting used to his cadence and him getting the plays out and emotions and all the little things that he has to do to make sure there were no issues with penalties before the ball is snapped. Now, obviously, you can see the plays, and when things break down, where he can kind of create and do some things. But he had a chance to make some throws and he did pretty good. I was encouraged. Hopefully the new offensive coordinator will find a way to see what he can do best during this offseason and see what he looks like in preseason games."

* McKenzie, on Carson Palmer's health: "He’s coming around. He’s doing much better. He’s healing up fine. That’s the reports I got, earlier this week, as of Monday, he’s doing fine."

* McKenzie, on if he will keep the No. 3 pick: "I won’t get into what we’ll do. I’m not tied down to anything in January. I’m sure my mind will change so many times before April. But it will be interesting to see what happens."

* McKenzie, on Mark Davis' mood at end of season: "Me and Mark we talk all the time. His concerns were as mine. How are we going to get better, mainly offensively. We talked about players, we talked about everything. Nobody is happy with a four-win season. Let’s get that straight. It was more at the end we were talking about how we were going to upgrade. We didn’t dwell on the negative if that’s what you’re asking. We’re talking about, ‘OK, what’s the plan.’ That’s where we were."

* McKenzie said right guard Mike Brisiel had "major surgery" on an ankle, while right tackle Khalif Barnes had a procedure on an arm and linebacker Miles Burris had a knee procedure.

* McKenzie, on Allen's first year as a head coach: "I thought what he did with his team to try to create a culture in that locker room, to get those players to believe we're making a change here, to try to do things the right way, and the way we practiced, the way we approached games, I thought he did a really good job, getting these players to buy into what we're doing. Talking to these players, guys are looking forward to getting back, and that's what it's all about. You want a good response to a head coach, how he's leading a team and how they're following him. And I was very pleased by the way he led the team. And I was proud the way he identified the issues and attacked them. He didn't just continue to run this offense and make it work, keep this guy, keep this guy- he evaluated it, said okay, he stood up, and said okay, we're going to make a change. And he did that. But I like the way he led this team. They way the defense played, especially at the end, it was encouraging. So, I see much better things in the future. I mean he's a rookie coach, I am a rookie GM, but for a rookie coach I like the way he led this team."

* McKenzie, on his Super Bowl pick: "Guess it's got to be…go with everyone else. I got to put my money on Tom Brady."

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