Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/28/12

Reggie McKenzie believes in familiarity.

So in remaking the Raiders' organization as a first-time general manager, he reached out to several people with whom he has had a background working with, the better to move ahead with a new era.

"It was important getting some people in I knew, and trusted, and believed in," McKenzie said. "That's all part of it. You kind of prepare for a role like this, so the thought process went into it way before I made my decisions. You want guys who kind of had a feel for you so when they're coming on board they know what they're getting in to."

As promised, McKenzie let Dennis Allen hire the assistant coaches and install systems of offense and defense. Allen brought in Greg Knapp to install a West Coast style offense heavy and bootlegs and rollouts with a strong running game keyed to zone blocking.

Allen also hired Jason Tarver to execute the head coach's vision of a multiple defense which will blend zone, man-to-man and in theory will be far more unpredictable than the man-to-man schemes fronted by a natural rush favored by late owner Al Davis.

By letting the coaches install systems of football, it enabled McKenzie to rebuild an infrastructure which previously depended on Davis, who once said he didn't believe in chain of command and in fact thought inner conflict was a natural part of putting together a team.

By contrast, McKenzie brought in Joey Clinkscales from the New York Jets as director of player personnel. Clinkscales was a high school teammate of McKenzie's in Knoxville as well as at Tennessee.

Shaun Herock, who worked with McKenzie with the Green Bay Packers, was installed as director of college scouting.

Larry Marmie, McKenzie's position coach at Tennessee and a longtime friend, was brought aboard as a pro scout. McKenzie even hired his twin brother Raleigh as an area college scout.

Other new hires included Von Hutchins, a one-time training camp scouting intern in Green Bay.

Reggie McKenzie retained college scouts Zach Crockett, Calvin Branch, Mickey Marvin and David McCloughan and set about upgrading the hardware and software of the entire scouting department.

McKenzie's philosophy of handling financial matters in terms of personnel is in sharp contrast to Davis. Under Davis, the Raiders regularly ran up huge cap overages and re-signed players to huge contracts.

The McKenzie Raiders have no intention of getting heavily into the renegotiating game and won't be in the market for huge contracts for the first year or two.

"This year is what it is. It's very limited," McKenzie said. "We don't have a whole lot of space to bring in a big name guy. We don't want to continue to be in cap jail forever. The plan is to improve our outlook for the future."

Following the Green Bay blueprint, where McKenzie worked for 18 years, the Raiders will instead seek to develop their own players and find undervalued talent among players who were released by other teams and with undrafted free agents.

McKenzie has been pleased the way Allen has conducted the on-field operation heading into training camp.

"From the standpoint of the big picture, he gets it," McKenzie said. "He's always a step ahead, which is good. I like the way the players are responding. He's all over that defense, which I look. He's talking to the offense too, acting like a real head coach. You can't tell he hasn't been a head coach before."

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