The Raiders shut down operations Thursday following a three-day minicamp, not to meet on a football field again until they report to training camp in six weeks.
General manager Reggie McKenzie, charged with rebuilding the organization inside and out, thinks the new-look Raiders are ahead of schedule.
"I personally think we're further along than I thought we would be," McKenzie said. "I knew we were going to throw in a lot on both sides of the ball. But it was good to see things going right a lot more than wrong as far as coaches yelling and screaming, running a play over again.
"You didn't hear a lot of that. That's a good indication that the players are getting it and coaches are coaching it. Hopefully in training camp they digest it even more and we become more complete."
McKenzie has been given virtually free rein by owner Mark Davis to modernize and restructure the organization in the post-Al Davis era.
Almost no part of the building has been spared.
There is a new head coach in Dennis Allen, new coordinators in Greg Knapp (offense) and Jason Tarver (defense) and entirely new systems and philosophies of football.
McKenzie restructured the personnel department, not only in terms of new scouts, but with a major upgrade in terms of computer hardware and software. The Raiders have officially joined the 21st century, with Mark Davis authorizing substantial expenditures (McKenzie said he didn't write the checks).
"Changes are going to continue to be made through this time next year because you can't build Rome overnight," McKenzie said. "Certain things will remain status quo until we can jump on it during the offseason."
Some of McKenzie's observations as the Raiders take a break before heading into training camp:
On Allen's work as a first-time head coach:" I think, from a standpoint of big picture, he gets it. He's always a step ahead, which is good. I like the way the players are responding. And his assistant coaches. He's all over that defense, which I like. That's good. He's talking to the offense, too, he's not just all defense, but he's acting like a real head coach. You can't tell he hasn't been a head coach before."
On dealing with the legal issues of middle linebacker Rolando McClain: "Since we've been here he's been great. I'm not going to hold anything over his head about what he's done in the past. We're only concerned with what he does from here on out. Coaches preach to the players about being accountable, being disciplined on and off the field, so we'll take care of the issues as they come."
On his overall impression following the mandatory minicamp: "I think we upgraded in some depth in some areas. I am glad there are no major injuries. Those are the things you when you come into the offseason, with the newness and competitiveness, everyone wanting to show coaches what they got. You have tendency to lose one or two guys in that situation. It seems like everybody will be reporting to training camp, so that's good."
On the Raiders self-imposed limitations with the salary cap: "I can't go out and sign Drew Brees. I can't make a trade for him. This year is what it is. It's very limited ... We don't want to continue to be in cap jail forever. So yeah, the plan was to improve our outlook for the future."