Friday afternoon saw the Oakland Raiders officially announce an agreement with Reggie McKenzie to become the team's next general manager. Al Davis had acted as the team's de factor general manager prior to his death this past year. Upon his passing, Hue Jackson filled some of the power vacuum in personnel and was reportedly instrumental in pushing through the trade for Carson Palmer.
Now, however, the Oakland Raiders enter a new era with an actual general manager for the first time really since Bruce Allen was the top executive from 1996 to 2003. McKenzie has a lot of work in front of him but he joins a franchise with a lot of talent already available. The one question mark is how Hue Jackson will fit into the new power structure. There are numerous question marks in that regard, but for now, the Raiders have gone to the right franchise for assistance. The Packers have put together a strong front office that has enabled them to become a now perennial contender. Aaron Rodgers has been a key piece of the puzzle, but the Packers have done great work in surrounding him with necessary talent.
McKenzie has been working for the Packers as Director of Football Operations since May 27, 2008. Prior to that he was director of pro personnel, beginning in 1997. He joined the Packers as pro personnel assistant in 1994. Before entering the Packers front office, McKenzie spent seven seasons playing as a linebacker in the NFL for the LA Raiders ('85-'88), Cardinals ('89-90) and 49ers ('92).
Packers.com provided a rundown of McKenzie's role with the team as football operations director:
A former player, coach and now personnel executive, McKenzie oversees Green Bay's scouting efforts of all professional football leagues, including the NFL, CFL and Arena Football League, as well as all other pro leagues and international players. He also plays an integral role in judging the Packers' current players and evaluating potential free agents across the league. McKenzie is heavily involved in all of the team's moves on a daily basis, including all tryouts and transactions.
During the season, McKenzie provides advance scouting reports on upcoming opponents, working closely with Head Coach Mike McCarthy and his staff. He also contributes to the scouting of college prospects, making school visits in both the fall and spring, and works in conjunction with General Manager Ted Thompson in preparation for the annual draft.
He'll be involved in some of these roles as general manager, but in reality his new role is as much about administration and keeping all the pieces of the puzzle in order. He'll be the face of the organization when it comes to making deals with free agents and trades with other clubs.
Hue Jackson likely has some measure of cache with the club, but McKenzie will want to at the very least sit down with Jackson to get on the same page. I would be shocked to see a change at head coach, but with a new GM, anything is possible. It could very well depend on how their initial meetings go. For now though, McKenzie will sort that out and begin the process of getting ready for free agency and the 2012 NFL Draft.
Oakland Raiders fans are already psyched about the move. Over at Silver & Black Pride, 96% of poll respondents think the move is at least a "solid" choice, with 50% doing backflips.