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Davis Knows What He Wants in a GM, but Can He Get It?

Mark Davis knows what he wants as he searches for a new General Manager for the Las Vegas Raiders, but can he get it?

Having fired General Manager Mike Mayock, who most observers believe basically was a hire made by now-departed Coach Jon Gruden, owner Mark Davis of the Las Vegas Raiders is looking for a new GM.

Even before Mayock, whose tenure as Raiders general manager ended with a 25-24 record after Saturday night’s 26-19 Wild Card playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, was fired on Monday there were reports that Davis was looking to interview general manager candidates.

“The #Raiders have put in a request to interview #Patriots defensive assistant Jerod Mayo, source said. Their search begins. And that’s not all. They also requested de facto GM Dave Ziegler. Expect the #Raiders to put in a request for #Colts executive Ed Dodds, as well,” Adam Shefter of ESPN posted on Twitter earlier in the day.

A few hours later, the Raiders announced the firing of Mayock.

The thing is, Davis knows exactly what he wants in a general manager, but there is no way he can find it.

Amazingly, the Raiders have had only seven general managers in their history, which dates to the founding of the American Football League in 1960.

Chet Soda was the first GM for the Raiders that year and they went 6-10. Paul Hastings took over in 1961 and things got worse with a 2-12 record before Wes Fry was the boss in 1963 and the Silver and Black bottomed out with a 1-13 mark.

Skipping years ahead, Hue Jackson was the Raiders coach and general manager in 2011 when the Raiders were 8-8, and Reggie McKenzie took over from 2012-18 when the Oakland Raiders made the playoffs only in 2016 but were 40-72 overall before Mayock came on board after being a draft analyst for the NFL Network.

Of course, from 1963-2010 the Raiders were run by Al Davis, Mark’s father.

Al Davis became a coach and general manager of the Raiders team that was 9-33 in its first three seasons at the age of 33 in 1963, and turned the team around with a 10-4 record and made the Silver and Black a powerhouse in pro football for years to come.

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Davis, who led the Raiders to a 23-16-3 record in three seasons, became AFL Commissioner in 1966 during the Pro Football War against the National Football League and Commissioner Pete Rozelle and had the NFL on its knees before several AFL owners went behind Davis’ back and made an agreement with Rozelle and the NFL.

Returning to the Raiders as managing general partner, Davis never coached again but oversaw the Raiders as they claimed victories in Super Bowls XI, XV, and XVIII, in addition to losses in Super Bowl II and Super Bowl XXXVII.

“I always wanted to take an organization and make it the best in sports,” said Davis, who grew up in Brooklyn. “I admired the New York Yankees of George Weiss for their power, intimidation, fear, and big people.

“I admired the Brooklyn Dodgers under Branch Rickey for their speed and player development. I felt there was no reason the two approaches couldn’t be combined into one powerful organization.”

Al Davis, the only person in NFL history to be a player personnel assistant, assistant coach, head coach, general manager, league commissioner, principal owner, and chief executive officer of an NFL team, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame 1992 and passed away in on Oct. 8, 2011.

So Mark Davis knows what he wants, but it’s out of his reach.

Regardless, the Raiders will have to make decisions quickly with the NFL Draft right around the corner on April 28-30. The Silver and Black have the No. 22 pick in the first round and seven picks overall.

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