ORLANDO, Fla. -- Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis weren't selling a Raiders miracle quick-fix two years ago at the start of this, and they sure aren't doing it now, either.

This is still about slow and at times painful progress, even though the Raiders general manager and owner entered this offseason with almost $60 million of salary-cap room.

Yes, the "reconstruction" of the Raiders was scheduled to start a little while ago, and it was theoretically going to be amazing to behold.

But the massive rebuilding project has hit a few bumps and -- surprise -- there still might be even more "deconstruction" to go.

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis smiles while speaking to general manager Reggie McKenzie on the field before the Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers
Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis smiles while speaking to general manager Reggie McKenzie on the field before the Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers game at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff) ( JOSE CARLOS FAJARDO )

Monday, despite their hit-and-miss early free agent period, McKenzie and Davis sounded optimistic about the work they've done, but they also were buckled down for a lot more grueling days -- or years -- to come.

"It didn't go 100 percent, but I got some things answered, put it that way," McKenzie said, referring to the Raiders' losing Jared Veldheer and Lamarr Houston and signing several established veterans in free agency this month.

"Getting the addition of some key position players, depth, leadership ... some of those things went well.

"I don't like losing my own players, but it happened. So I moved on."

During an earlier break at the NFL annual meetings here, Davis redirected most football questions to his G.M. and generally said things were going "pretty well."

But when I asked Davis which players he can count as long-term foundation pieces for the Raiders' rebuild, Davis conceded that he couldn't immediately think of many.

"That's a good question," Davis said. "I'd have to think about that ...

"Foundation guys -- guys that are what people would look at and say, 'That's a Raider.' I don't know. It would be hard to say.

"(Fullback) Marcel Reece is a leader of this team; he's a captain of this team. But we'll see. I'll have to answer that later for you."

Here are some other topics McKenzie and Davis addressed Monday, all of which hit on a theme of realistic goals and moderate expectations:

  • Asked about Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, whose time in Philadelphia seems to be nearing an end, McKenzie declined to comment but didn't seem to rule out interest.

    "I'm not going to tell you," McKenzie said with a grin.

    Does a player who makes as much money as Jackson -- and with his occasionally cantankerous personality -- fit with McKenzie's model for the Raiders?

    "As long as he's a really good player that we think is really going to elevate our team," McKenzie said.

    McKenzie has stressed team chemistry during his tenure but suggested that Jackson's reputation as a malcontent isn't a deal-killer all by itself.

  • Davis denied a report that he made the final decision on voiding the free-agent contract for offensive lineman Rodger Saffold after medical concerns were raised but said he had a thought about the situation.

    "My opinion was that he was an injured player, and I didn't know whether that was the best thing for us to do at that time," Davis said.

  • McKenzie said the Raiders didn't use the franchise tag to keep either Veldheer or Houston because he believed he could sign both to long-term deals.

    "Guys, I didn't let Veldheer go -- I really wanted to keep him," McKenzie said. "But it was his decision to go ...

    "He indicated to us he wanted to be here. So we would pay whatever the market was, that's what we told him."

    Instead, Veldheer signed with Arizona.

    McKenzie indicated a similar process happened with Houston, who signed with Chicago.

  • The Raiders signed short-term deals with pass rushers Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley, defensive lineman Antonio Smith, cornerback Tarell Brown and tackle Austin Howard -- all in their late-20s or early 30s.

    "You look at the tape, when you mention age, if they looked like they should be retiring soon, I wouldn't have brought them in," McKenzie said.

    Is the idea to use these players as a multiseason bridge as the Raiders' draft picks develop?

    "That's the plan," McKenzie said.

  • When I asked McKenzie the same question about the Raiders' foundation players, he also didn't name many beyond Reece.

    "We're growing into that; some of these receivers are starting to grow, we've got a young receiving corps," McKenzie said. "We've got a very young tight end corps ...

    "I think some of the offensive linemen, like (Stefen) Wisniewski is one of those foundation pieces."

  • The acquisition of Matt Schaub "absolutely" doesn't mean the Raiders are ruling out selecting a quarterback with the No. 5 pick in the draft, McKenzie said.

    "We're going to get the best player, if it happens to be a quarterback, so be it," McKenzie said. "We're not going to reach around and draft by position."

    It's the Raiders' new realism and push toward even more patience.

    It's realistic. But it is definitely going to take a lot of time, more time probably than even they expected.

    Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.

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    Raiders owner Mark Davis, left, knows his team and the A's both can't win Oakland's stadium tug-of-war. PAGE 3