You’ve got to hand it to Mark Davis for being a stand-up guy, at least.
After Oakland’s 38-17 loss to the Saints Sunday, the Raiders owner talked to the media and put the blame on his shoulders for what has turned into a terrible season.
At 3-7 the Raiders not only have no hope of winning a playoff spot again, but appear hopeless at times, especially on defense. In three consecutive losses, the Raiders have given up 42, 55 and 38 points.
“I apologize to the fans,” Davis told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m embarrassed for ‘em. Because they live and die as Raiders fans, and I feel for ‘em. … I feel the same way. I’m a fan.
“And I take responsibility for it. Gonna get it right.”
Yet what the Raiders are this year, and what they have been, is more a product of the Al Davis regime and last season’s leadership than Mark Davis.
The fact the team gave away valuable draft picks for Terrelle Pryor and Carson Palmer and could make no impact selections in the April draft; the fact the roster was stocked with overpriced, underperforming players; and the fact the Raiders were behind the rest of the NFL in schemes and organization is all a residue of the past still haunting this 2012 edition of the Raiders.
When Davis hired GM Reggie McKenzie to overhaul the entire organization was a good first step, but even McKenzie admitted when he came aboard that he wasn’t interested in quick fixes. He’s focused on long-term change.
And right now, while the long term may eventually produce a turnaround of this franchise, the short-term picture isn’t pretty – and seems to be getting uglier each week, in fact.
After Sunday’s loss, Davis talked about the team regressing.
“I’m embarrassed. I’m pissed off. I’m not happy,” he told Bay Area News Group columnist Monte Poole.
Yet don’t expect Davis to start firing people or making changes to a new organizational structure set up this year.
As Poole noted, Mark Davis hired McKenzie (from the Packers) after consultation with a braintrust of NFL veterans and former Raiders such as John Madden, Ken Herock and Ron Wolf. Then McKenzie hired Dennis Allen as head coach, and Allen set up new offensive and defensive schemes that have had mixed results.
On defense, in particular, the Raiders have been shredded this season.
But expect Davis not to make any changes. He’ll fume, he’ll say he’s embarrassed, he’ll listen to the fans and he’ll even shoulder the blame, but he’ll stay the course. He won’t fire McKenzie and bring in Jon Gruden (as so many fans seem to want).
It’s really the only smart thing to do if Davis has the long-term picture in mind.
“I’m patient,” Davis told Poole. “But I want to see progress.”