Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock has acknowledged that it's time for the team to end their playoff drought. Mayock is entering his third season as the Raiders' general manager and he and head coach Jon Gruden are determined to find a way to get the team to the playoffs for the first time during their tenure.
"Jon [Gruden] and I will both tell you that we feel like we need to be a playoff team this year, and I don't think there's any doubt about that," Mayock said on Wednesday in his first meeting with reporters since the NFL draft, per ESPN.
"You guys are all going to put that in your headlines, and I understand it, but that's what the expectation is. We think we've done the infrastructure work necessary to put us in position, and we've got to take care of business."
Raiders owner Mark Davis loved the attitude but noted that he will be impressed only when the Raiders actually make the playoffs. "It's always nice to hear somebody say that," Davis said, "but let's go out and do it.
I'd be much more impressed if they did it."
Mayock says the Raiders have been affected by the pandemic
Some of Mayock's draft choices over the past two years have been extremely questionable and those players haven't developed the way the team had hoped they would.
"The lack of training camp, I'm not sure if people really understand -- all 32 teams dealt with it, so I'm not complaining, please don't take it that way -- but it's just a different developmental path for the young guys, right?" Mayock said.
"We didn't see any of the quickness, energy, disruption and explosion last year that we're seeing this year," Mayock said. "It's really cool to see this year. It's cool to see the light go on, and a lot of that is not having any offseason program [last year], being confused, playing slow.
"I was frustrated because I felt like, in our system, on both sides of the ball, it's tough on young guys. The volume is tough, especially on offense. It's tough. So no offseason camp was brutal. COVID, managing COVID was hard."
Mayock is"fired up" that the things are slowly getting back to normal. "I'm fired up, and it's part of A) being back to normal, but B) more just the accumulation of three years," Mayock said.
"My dad used to say, 'Don't worry about whether or not the horse is blind -- just load the freaking truck.' That's where we are. We've assembled 53 players. We think we're going to be a pretty good football team. We're not hiding from expectations."