I realize the idea of a foundation on this team being set is considered outrageous to some as the roster is going through a major upheaval, but ultimately for the first time since I can remember there is a certain direction this franchise appears to be headed and it's definitely not set, but it's in the works.
When I think of foundation being started I think of Stefan Wisniewski, Menelik Watson, Matt McCants, Nick Roach (whom I would prefer they sign a true MLB and have Roach take over Burnett's spot), Sio Moore, Tyvon Branch, DJ Hayden, Mychal Rivera, Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, and Marcel Reece. Obviously you can add Jared Veldheer and Lamarr Houston if they re-sign. That's 13 players with four of them having played for the previous regime. Considering the lack of decent veteran minimum free agents in 2012 and 2013 it wasn't likely that Reggie was going to score many free agent or draft picks. especially with 2013's weak draft class which was hit or miss. Some teams picked up some decent talent while others had mass failures. Every team had failures, only the Raiders and Texans were quick enough to admit it.
Reggie McKenzie upon taking over the team was faced with two problems: one he had an 8-8 paper tiger that was going to playing in a tougher division with Peyton Manning in Denver; and two he knew he would have to cut several players on the defense including his best pass rusher and be forced to start a patchwork defense with free agent scraps because he couldn't afford to pay anyone.
There may be a lack of players, but for once there's a foundation being set that is going to be around for years. There's a fundamental part of the system already in place and that's called having a plan and having the money to do something about it. Now the team just has to select the right free agents and make smart decisions in the draft and have the possibility of really starting to progress to the point that the team is a considered a solid team from top to bottom.
It's a 5 year at minimum process. For most Raiders fans the idea of having to wait 5 years for success was and has been hard to idea to process after losing for several years under Al despite back to back 8-8 seasons in the worst division in the NFL when Reggie and Dennis Allen took over.
Year three is going to be about growth. Mark Davis wants to win, but he's also smart and knows this isn't a make or break year for the franchise. There are no more excuses anymore but there's also the common sense that this team isn't on the same playing field in terms of quality of athletes across the board on their roster compared to the rest of the AFC West and the fact they get to play the NFC West. Five or more wins has to be expected and I'm certain he's probably thinking more along the lines of 7 or 8 but will be fine with the team playing hard, competing, and not allowing teams to break records for the Raiders defensive futility
The base of the foundation is being set already. Now Reggie is going to have $64 million to really add some solid players to this roster and who can be here for the next 4 years while Reggie drafts players to eventually replace these free agents.Now it's up to the 2014 free agent draft class and NFL draft to see what the future of this team is going to be like. The one thing I can tell already is that there's a system in place with the coaching staff and special teams. Now players need to be added and eventually there will be some great success.
My hope is for Reggie to focus on the trenches in free agency and allow the Raiders to run the ball and stop the run, two key components in winning in the NFL. Obviously they'll have to stop the pass and be able to play play-action, but ultimately with a coach like Tony Sparano I see a big time offensive line being created in Oakland which will really make for a solid foundation for the next 5 years at the minimum.
Does anyone disagree that there's a foundation in the works? I'm not saying the foundation is set by any means, I'm just curious if anyone agrees with this article or wants to blast it?
Any comments are appreciated.