All in the (Raider) Family
Captain Jack Rack 'em Levy – May 11, 2012
Captain Jack, along with several other reporters, bloggers, and general ‘smart alecks with an opinion on the Silver and Black’ have been inundating the airwaves, internet and blogosphere with their views on the post-Al Davis / new-Reggie McKenzie era regarding the General Manager role within the Raider organization.
Whether you were of the ‘pro-Al’ mindset who espoused the ‘gems’ in the draft found by the patriarch – Nnamdi Asomugha, Eugene Upshaw, Henry Lawrence, Howie Long, Ray Guy, Kenny Stabler, and Fred Biletnikoff come to mind (three Hall of Famers are in that list…two ‘should be’ HOF’ers…one perennial Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl winner who should get consideration for the HOF…and one Pro Bowler who has since ‘left for another money-lined nest’ but whose greatness will assuredly be remembered in his days as a Raider)… OR…
The ‘anti-Al’ negatrons that throw out some well-remembered and seriously putrid draft busts that will forever haunt the memories of long-time members of the Pirate clan – JaMarcus Russell anyone? Sure, but that’s so obvious as to be laughable. How about Todd Marinovich? Still an easy target you say? Hmmmmmmmmm….playing hardball I see.
Ok… I give you the household names of Raider greats Bob Buczkowski and John Clay, who were supposed to anchor the Defensive and Offensive lines, respectfully, for ten years or more in the late 80’s. How about some stalwart defensive backs that would solidify the secondary for years to come… in Patrick Bates, Derrick Gibson and Phillip “Showtime” Buchanon? Yeah, I thought so… ((Insert negative obnoxious TV show buzzing or clanging sound here…)
No matter what side of the discussion you’re on, we still need to acknowledge Al Davis was NOT the “Be All End All” reason why a Raiders’ draft was a success or failure, so for all the ‘Studs’ found, of course there would be ‘Duds’ – or in the case of JaMarcus Russell – radioactive bio-hazardous fecal matter waste that could destroy a planet…
Too harsh? Whatever…But hey!! He showed great P-p-pp-ppoo-ooo-tential!! (Slurp down more ‘Purple Drank’…)
Annnnnnyyyywwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay… the point I was trying to make was that it was Al Davis AND HIS SCOUTING STAFF that made these decisions on whom the Raiders would ultimately take in the draft. Sure, many sources have stated that Mr. Davis held sway on ‘his picks’ in rounds one and two, with the remainder of the picks being made by the scouts for the Raiders. Whatever is ultimately true, I can attest it was more than a ‘one man show’ for sure.
This week, the firing of Raiders’ head of college scouting – and employee of the organization for 33years – Jon Kingdon, along with fellow scout Bruce Kebric (31years with the Silver and Black) was announced. Additionally, scouts George Karras and Kent McCloughan (47years as a Raider player/ member of the front office) were allowed to ‘retire.’
No, the Raiders did NOT fire Webster’s father, the Sheriff in Porky’s, Mongo the horse-punching thug in Blazing Saddles or the mastermind in the early years of ABC’s Monday Night Football who declared Otis Sistrunk graduated from the ‘University of Mars.’ No, that’s ANOTHER George Karras, aka Alex.
The Raiders also did NOT fire McCloughan, who I used to confuse with Kent McCord based on his 1971 football card I had as a kid. Pretty cool I thought… go from television’s Adam-12 to Cornerback of my favorite team – talk about being a ‘two sport star’ way before Bo Jackson, right? For those that have NO CLUE what I’m talking about, at least LOOK at the 1971 Topps card #137, then watch old re-runs of the cop show… and picture yourself as a six-or-seven year old. I rest my case.
McCloughan and Karras were allowed to retire after their tours in Oakland/Los Angeles; in fact, McCloughan himself stated that he wanted to retire several years ago, but Al Davis goaded him into continued service with the organization. Yeah, I wouldn’t want Al Davis to outwork or outlast me, either, so I can understand why he stayed on a few more years.
However, it should be noted these men have been here for several DECADES, and perhaps it really was time for the Raiders to come into the ‘new era’ of football. For years, the Raiders Scouting Department was aloof from their peer NFL counterparts who shared information, tape, and other assets.
While this secrecy and standoffishness worked in the ‘60’s through the mid-‘80’s, it can be argued successfully the days of the small scouting staff heavily composed of former Raider players – i.e. ‘Raider Family’ – had outlived its usefulness. Mr. Davis almost always had a job for former players, with his intent discussed previously via my ‘Once a Raider ALWAYS a Raider’ piece. If you worked hard in ‘the family,’ you would be employed – if you needed or wanted the job.
So now Reggie McKenzie, in bringing the organization back into the fold of the ‘modern team’ many a belly-aching Raider fan has wished for years, has brought onboard our Pirate ship the likes of Joey Clinkscales (former V.P. of Scouting for the N.Y. Jets and teammate of McKenzie at Tennessee), Shaun Herock (former Scout for the Green Bay Packers and son of Ken Herock, primarily responsible along with John Madden for securing McKenzie’s job as Raiders’ G.M. in the first place), and Raleigh McKenzie (former fifteen year NFL veteran offensive lineman…and oh, twin brother to Reggie).
"FOUL!!" were the cries from the Raider-fans' peanut gallery. "UNFAIR…pure NEPOTISM!!" chimed in others.
"Whoooooooooooah!!" chimes in the Captain in my best (and previously used) Keanu Reeves impersonation. What the heck were you expecting when Reggie McKenzie stated in his introductory press conference that he would bring in ‘My Guys?’
Listen, at least Clinkscales and Herock are proven, experienced scouts responsible to their former teams in recent drafts; it’s NOT like he grabbed…say…some off-the-street-dyed-in-the-wool Raider fan from Florida who is looking for a change in jobs (although my phone is ALWAYS open and available from ANY call from 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway in Alameda…)
…and by the way, brother ‘Rallo’ is a two-time Super Bowl winning member of the ‘Skins who has been employed with Washington’s Personnel Department to boot – and NOT the best friend of Lamont Sanford nor Rerun Stubbs’ brother-in-law, either, so gimme a break (and no, I’m not going to reference Nell Harper/Carter for any ’70-80’s TV show Sitcom trifecta either…ooooooooops! Too late.)
Let’s have Reggie and HIS staff figure out the rest, ok? After all, I’d say given the less than full cupboard of draft picks the Raiders’ possessed this past draft, he did quite well. Also, if it wasn’t for ‘family thinking’ Ron Wolf – defacto Raiders’ General Manager in the ‘70’s – never would’ve brought McKenzie into Green Bay in the first place…eventually winding up as General Manager of OUR Raiders.
By the way... in advance for this Sunday, the Captain wishes a "Happy Mother's Day" to all our ladies from myself and the staff of Raider Nation Times.
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