The Raiders began the season much as one might expect for a brand new regime on its maiden voyage. They came out the gates 1-5. Then they had a hard-fought close loss to a great Falcons team and two nice wins over the hapless Jaguars and Chiefs. That's when things went sour.
They have now lost four straight games while giving up huge play after huge play and surrendering a lot of points. This November is one that really sticks in Reggie McKenzie's craw.
"This November was just, I mean, it's a bad November." Said McKenzie in a closed door meeting Friday. "Now, you kind of knew, in September, beginning of the season, going to struggle a little bit. But the November part of the season has not been good at all. And that cannot continue to happen. And it's our job to fix it, starting with me. Player-wise, and the coaches trying to get the situations fixed."
Don't expect any firings to happen during this season, however. That's not how McKenzie does business.
"I don't like to discuss anything during the season." Said McKenzie. "It's my job to evaluate this team, and that's done on a weekly basis, so at the end of this thing I have my evaluation of not only coach Allen but every player and my thoughts of every coach. But that's a season evaluation."
"I want to know everybody who is on the short list, long list. That's just the way it goes guys. This is my football team. It's not a dictatorship by any means but it's my football team and I'm responsible. We have a great line of communication so that's not going to be an issue guys, at all. It really isn't. It's my job to evaluate the situation and I'm going to get that done. We're going to do it the right way. I can't build a team without effectively evaluating what's going on. You have to do it the right way, week to week. That's why the month of November ... we have five weeks to correct that. I'll be doing some evaluations in those five weeks."
There is little doubt that those evaluations will center around the two coordinators. McKenzie is very disappointed in the defense and Jason Tarver may be held responsible for that. But his disappointment also extends to the offense and Greg Knapp's playcalling.
"I don't care what kind of scheme it is. Either it's a good run call or a bad run call. It comes down to those type of things instead of just scheme."
McKenzie is certainly not alone in his frustrations. That goes without saying. We heard from Mark Davis following the Raiders loss to the Saints at home two weeks ago. That was not a chance encounter. He made a point to step into the locker room to speak with the media and air his frustrations.
In that interview, Davis mentioned that he and McKenzie speak a lot. He said that McKenzie has complete authority in football matters but that he has his opinions and expresses them in their discussions. McKenzie echoed those sentiments Friday.
"Mark and I talk all the time. The bottom line is we want to see progress. That November month nobody was pleased with. Nobody. He and I discussed that quite a bit trying to put the finger on it. But we want to see better play. We have five games to do it."
So, it would seem there isn't a single coach or player who is not under intense scrutiny these final five weeks. This team absolutely must show some improvement and turn things back in the right direction or there will almost certainly be some sweeping changes.
At this point, there are already a few players who look to be on the way out. Rolando McClain was the latest to go. The coaches are now on notice as well.