When Reggie McKenzie was hired he spoke of the fact that he planned to make changes within the Raiders front office. He brought up his vision of having everyone within the organization from front office employees to players on the field having one goal in mind and that is winning a championship. He went on to say that while not all changes would be immediate he would evaluate every position and make changes where and when he saw fit. We now know that at the very least you know Reggie is a man of his word.
Shortly after Reggie was hired the first front office change came in the form of John Herrera “taking a break” from his job. What that means is only really known by people inside the Raiders organization, but don’t be surprised if he was encouraged to take that break. Lets just say it didn’t take most people long to get over that move and Reggie wasted no time in filling the void. On March 24th it was announced that Zak Gilbert was hired as director of media relations and Mike Taylor was promoted to director of public affairs. Zak worked under McKenzie in Green Bay as the chief assistant of public relations from 2001-2007. Reggie was later asked specifically about the scouting department and he said he would wait until after the draft to address that situation so that it would not disrupt this years scouting. It was a very smart move on the part of McKenzie because timing is everything when it comes to important roles such as scouting.
Again holding true to his word and just days after the draft Reggie has fired current college scouting director Jon Kingdon. There are also reports that longtime scout Bruce Kebric will not be retained either. Kingdon and Kebric have both been working in the scouting department for the Raiders for 30+ years. Anytime long tenured employees are let go it is met with a certain amount of skepticism and rightfully so, but it seems as though Reggie has been right on point with front office hires and this is no different.
It was announced today that Shaun Herock was hired to take over as director of college scouting. Shaun is the son of former player and personnel executive of the Raiders Ken Herock. Ken Herock along with Ron Wolf and John Madden was said to be an adviser for Mark Davis before hiring Reggie McKenzie as the new general manager of the Oakland Raiders. Shaun has spent the last 19 years with the Green Bay Packers and was a former colleague of McKenzie. He was most recently serving as the assistant director of college scouting with Green Bay. It was also announced that Raleigh McKenzie (twin brother of Reggie) will also join the teams scouting department. Raleigh played in the NFL for 15 years, winning two Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins and was named to the All-NFL team in 1991.
There were rumors swirling a few days ago that Joey Clinkscale was a candidate for the job given to Shaun Herock. Clinkscale, a childhood friend and college teammate of Reggie McKenzie, is someone to keep an eye on in the near future. He could still emerge as a candidate for a pro personnel job with the Raiders if he does end up leaving his current position as director of college scouting with the Jets.
While it may seem at times that Reggie McKenzie is making some knee jerk moves in the front office, it is very conceivable that he has had a very distinct and prepared plan from the beginning and is strategically making changes at the right time. It’s not at all uncommon for a general manager to surround himself with people he is familiar with, but keep in mind that each front office hire to this point has had a distinct football background and experience. Again I stress that only time will tell the story on how successful this new regime will be, but it sure seems like things are “making sense” in Oakland these days and the organization from top to bottom seems to be filling out well.