As the coaching carousel has been spinning out of control lately, but it looks like the search could finally be winding down for the Oakland Raiders. Although there are some “final steps” that must take place before an agreement is reached, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen is the leading candidate to become the next head coach, according to reports from ESPN’s Adam Shefter and Chris Mortenson.
This announcement comes as a surprise to many, especially considering GM Reggie McKenzie made it evident he was looking to bring in his own candidate from the beginning—like Winston Moss—an assistant head coach and linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers, who had a good working relationship with McKenzie and was recently widely reported to be the leading candidate.
Moreover, Allen has no ties with McKenzie.
“The Raiders have already told other candidates, including Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice, that they are no longer in consideration,” according to ProFootballTalk.com.
Allen, 39, was a starting defensive back at Texas A&M in the ’90?s, but never extended his professional playing career in the NFL further than a training camp appearance with the Buffalo Bills.
His coaching career commenced as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M. He then moved on to the University of Tulsa before operating as an assistant with the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.
And John Fox hired him last year in Denver.
Under the direction of Allen, Denver’s defense improved steadily over the course of the regular season and finished 24th in scoring (24.4 PPG), 22nd against the run (126.3 YPG), 20th in yards allowed (357.8 YPG) and 18th against the pass (231.5 YPG). The Broncos were also 10th in sacks (41.0) and 6th in percentage of 3rd-down conversions allowed (34 percent).
Reports indicate Allen will meet with the team executives for a second time at the 2012 Senior Bowl to proceed negotiations.
If the deal happens, Allen will become the first head coach of the franchise with a defensive background since John Madden.