Q: What are your thoughts on [QB Terrelle] Pryor, Coach [Dennis] Allen’s job, [defensive coordinator Jason] Tarver, any of those things through the first couple of games?
McKenzie: It’s always early when you talk about two games, but the bottom line is it’s going in the right direction. I think Coach Allen’s got these guys focusing, playing hard. And same with Tarver working the defense. And Pryor, he’s, in my mind, has made leaps and bounds from last year from the time I’ve spent with him. He’s done a good job.
Q: Was there a play, was there a game, a sequence where it became evident that [Pryor] was the best option for quarterback?
McKenzie: Not really a play or anything. It’s more his progress. The guy just comes in, goes to work. From the summer, to the beginning of training camp through each and every preseason game, he’s just gotten better and better. I think he’s getting more confident and that comes with playing. Just let him play.
Q: Do you feel a guy like Pryor just reenergizes the fan base? They just get so excited to see him play.
McKenzie: I think he energizes more than just the fan base. He energizes his teammates. Anybody that’s watching, everybody likes to see big plays and he’s a big play guy. So yes, the fan base, I’m definitely sure they love to see him play.
Q: There was so little expected from a national perspective on the Raiders and this year, No. 32, No. 31…In two games can you feel even a tiny twinge of vindication?
McKenzie: Vindication? No, not at all. It’s way too early. Vindication is we’re in the playoffs. I want to get to the playoffs. Then it’s another whole new season. That’s my goal. Regardless of what media or other teams think; it doesn’t matter. Our goal is to win. Try to win as many games as we can and try to get to the playoffs. Of course, we understand all the factors that factor in. We’re not going in blind. We had to [zero] in on a quarterback and other positions, but we feel that we’re going in the right direction and that’s key.
Q: Has [Charles] Woodson brought everything you could have hoped for?
McKenzie: Yes, he really did. And probably more.
Q: Just credibility-wise? DA [Dennis Allen] keeps saying, ‘Yeah he’s a leader, but we want him to play.’ That play he made the other day…
McKenzie: Charles is a football player. That’s what he is. He’s not going to be cautious, play like he’s waiting for the next week or waiting for the next…When he dresses up, when he laces his shoes, he’s out there to play. That’s just him. He’s what you want in a football player. He exudes that swaggers he has and all his teammates feel it. Hopefully they can absorb something from it and take a little piece.