Mark Davis chose Reggie McKenzie, who chose Dennis Allen, who chose his staff, who all combined to choose the schemes and players for the Raiders' 2012 season.
And somewhere along the line, I think it's safe to say, a mistake or 20 was made.
That's how you go from 8-8 last year to the current 3-8 record and four consecutive losses by a combined 90 points.
Of course, none of these men inherited a great situation -- empty draft slates, horrendous salary structure, fraying talent.
But, in the post-Al Davis era, none of the Raiders' new leaders has come close to maximizing what they have here.
So we get back to the chain of command: Davis to McKenzie to Allen to the assistants to the players to this dismal point, so far below even the bleakest expectations.
Realistically, the only tangible goal left is to figure out how this happened and where to begin the re-reclamation project.
Lucky them, I have a five-step plan, and the Raiders' head honchos can borrow or make fun of it as they will ...
Step 1: No rash decisions or firings.
You screw up any possible long-term benefits -- and I think some good foundation work has been done by McKenzie and Allen -- by trashing everything when things go poorly early.
I think Mark Davis is furious at the results so far, and he has every right to be.
But I also believe he has entrusted McKenzie to get it right, and Davis will give McKenzie at least another year to fix the operation.
It's not McKenzie's fault that the Raiders gave up a pick that could've netted Colin Kaepernick (a rumored favorite of Al D.) or Andy Dalton in the 2011 draft ... in order to acquire Richard Seymour in 2010.
I could go on and on with these short-term, shortsighted recent trades, but you get the point ...
Step 2: Decide -- QUICKLY -- if Allen remains the right coach.
So much of this depends on the coach -- more than the Raiders have ever depended on a coach.
If the Raiders are headed down the wrong road with Allen, McKenzie has to see it and react quickly.
And if this is just an early stumble before the start of better times, McKenzie needs to make a judgment on that quickly, too.
I think Allen deserves another year -- and a decent run to end 2012 would guarantee that; but if the collapse continues, McKenzie has every right to second-guess the biggest decision of his Raiders tenure.
Step 3: If Allen is the guy for 2013, he has to figure out what's going wrong with the game plans and how that will be corrected.
Something's wrong, and if offensive coordinator Greg Knapp or defensive coordinator Jason Tarver -- or both -- are weak links, Allen has to make some moves.
He came to the Raiders late in the NFL hiring cycle last winter, which hurt the process. If quick calls are made this time around, we'll see if Allen has the juice and network to land stronger coordinators.
Step 4: Hammer out a post-Carson Palmer, post-Darren McFadden plan.
The rough part for the Raiders is that McFadden and Palmer are two of their best players, and they won't be done with the trade that got them Palmer until Cincinnati gets the Raiders' second-round pick next spring.
But it's hard to see how either McFadden or Palmer -- due to age or injury or the accumulation of both -- will be anywhere near their peaks by the time the Raiders are good again.
I don't know if either has much trade value, but I do know the Raiders have to find credible replacements.
Terrelle Pryor probably isn't a strong QB candidate, but it wouldn't hurt the Raiders to see what he can do at some point this season, which Allen now seems open to.
Step 5: Complete the roster purge that started last offseason and reload the roster.
How many true "keepers" are on the Raiders' roster? Maybe 12, possibly 14, but no more. Everybody else can go, and maybe many of them should've already been cut loose.
At least McKenzie and Allen don't have to make gestures toward winning immediately; they can move on from Seymour, Tommy Kelly and maybe Rolando McClain.
And then McKenzie has to hit on his draft picks, and keep hitting, and add some wise free agents.
One or two superstars can always change everything, the way Von Miller (a high draft pick) and Peyton Manning (free-agent signing) transformed Denver.
But Denver was primed for the turnaround, because everything else was lined up.
With the Raiders, nothing seems lined up yet, and nothing at all is guaranteed, except that there will be changes and that changes are absolutely necessary.