With the blessing of Raiders owner Mark Davis, new general manager Reggie McKenzie is going through the football operation with flashlights and microscopes, opening all the doors and windows, pulling up the carpet and inspecting the foundation.
It took maybe seven seconds for McKenzie to realize the dysfunctional franchise needs more than a few cosmetic touches, that a nip here and tuck there would not be enough to shed decades of internal indolence.
Even as new coach Dennis Allen was saying he didn't think "radical changes are what need to be made," the general manager was planning precisely that.
Asked at the news conference introducing Allen if he already had begun scouting his current roster, McKenzie replied, yes, he had. For emphasis, he added a second "yes." Roughly a week later, he released starting cornerback Stanford Routt.
That was radical. It was perceptive. And it was absolutely proper.
It served to announce that the Raiders are in the midst of an overhaul that almost certainly will be for the better. If he wanted to send a message to the roster, McKenzie could not have made a more astute decision than to fire a wildly overpaid employee who consistently rejected the notion of accountability.
Moreover, McKenzie unceremoniously dismissed a player who had been a personal pet of previous owner/legend Al Davis, who died in October.
Routt embodied so much of what has been wrong with the Raiders. He's a terrific athlete, but an average football player. Routt was aware of his shortcomings, as evidenced by the desperate clutching and grabbing that made him the most-penalized player on the league's most-penalized team.
More disturbing, though, Routt was a fervent self-promoter, given to reciting self-serving personal statistics while generally ignoring those exposing his liabilities.
How could these factors not rub McKenzie a former player the wrong way? Under the enabling presence of Al Davis, Routt owned and exploited his license to be disengaged.
It was known that Al Davis was doggedly subjective regarding his players. Two might perform similarly, yet one would be rewarded while the other would not. Rhyme and reason were not always part of the equation.
Do we all remember how the late owner went out of his way to discredit Rich Gannon, the team's last MVP, while defending the maddening mountain of misjudgment that was JaMarcus Russell? Though McKenzie might be new at this particular gig, he's familiar with the requirements of building a roster, and he spent enough time in Green Bay to recognize the characteristics needed to form a quality team.
Dumping Routt got the attention of every player on the roster. They're all eyes and ears, from established stars to those barely clinging to their NFL status.
Some love the decision, while others are chewing their nails.
Punter Shane Lechler and kicker Sebastian Janikowski are safe. So, too, is defensive lineman Richard Seymour, a desired presence and reportedly already on board for 2012.
Youngsters Jared Veldheer and Stefen Wisniewski almost certainly will be the anchors of the altered offensive line.
McKenzie and Allen both say they expect quarterback Carson Palmer to return and that troubled linebacker Rolando McClain, a heralded 2010 draft pick who failed to match his hype, is talented enough to warrant further inspection.
McKenzie won't stop with the roster. He'll get around to the front office, the personnel operatives and scouts. They're safe for now, because the general manager knows most of them and realizes they spent last fall evaluating collegians.
Most will accompany McKenzie to the NFL combine next week in Indianapolis, where they get one more opportunity to prove they can pass his flashlight and microscope test.