The Oakland Raiders organization currently has incredible things happening to their team, beginning with the forming of new leadership now set in place. This occurrence was truly brought about with the passing of the legendary mastermind of football Al Davis who lived, breathed and slept Raiders football.
Al Davis, was not only the owner but throughout his time with the Raiders organization he ran all the football operations. Now it’s time for the Raiders to advance, towards their next chapter. Something the Oakland franchise has never seen before.
The process began earlier this month now owner Mark Davis son of the late Al hired Reggie McKenzie as the new general manager. McKenzie was the director of player operations of the Green Bay Packers and a former Raiders player. At the same time the Raiders fired then head coach Hue Jackson.
Opening up a new era of Raiders football, Monday the Raiders officially announced their new head coach Dennis Allen. The youngest head coach hired by the Raiders since John Gruden, who was the last winning coach known to Raider Nation. The 39-year-old Allen will be the first new Raiders coach to come from the defensive side of the ball since late owner Al Davis hired linebackers coach John Madden in 1969.
In his first season as coordinator for the Broncos, Allen assisted the Denver advance from allowing a league-worst 29.4 points and 390.8 yards per game to ranking 20th in yards (357.8) and 24th in points (24.4) this season leading the team to the AFC West title.
As Raiders move ahead many cannot really foresee the true future. What’s known is the team will be working with some of the old traditions of the commitment of excellence instituted by the late Davis, but have lots of new and bright decisions that will make the Raiders a winning franchise once again.
Davis, McKenzie and Allen alike will move the Silver and Black into the new era of the great future of Raiders football.
Allen said in the press conference Monday “I don’t think radical changes are what need to be made,” Allen said of a defense that faltered in numerous games last season. “There’s a talented defense (here), and we got enough players, both on offense and defense, that we can win a championship with.”
Raider Nation been waiting for something special to happen for a decade, Could this be the answer to the future? Coach Allen, first decision came Monday as he expressed that Carson Palmer will be the starting quarterback come fall. The other meaningful indications he expressed was to discipline the team, which several other coaches prior to him have not. This past season the Raiders held a record for penalties in a season; with 163 penalties for 1,358 yards.
Under Jackson last season, he led the Raiders to 8-8 record, missing the playoffs. He is an offensive minded coach and was very productive in managing the offensive unit.
However the teams’ defense was a complete disaster, where the unit had the worst season ever. Oakland had franchise poorest in touchdown passes allowed (31), yards per carry (5.1), yards passing (4,262) and total yards (6,201), while giving up the third-most points (433) in team history. With the talent on the team on defense this should have never happen if the team was coached properly.
Raider fans maybe this is a promising thing for the team and exactly what the franchise needed to do in order move ahead. This may just become a blessing in disguise. Not to put Jackson down but this needed to happen to bring the turnaround complete of a new era of Raiders football.
In the coming weeks we all will have a better indication of what Allen’s coaching staff will look like. Who he will decide to keep on the Raiders coaching staff or who he will hire on his own.
Working with offensive coach Al Saunders in the Senior Bowl this past weekend some expected him to return. However, Breaking News, indicates that Greg Knapp was hired by Oakland as the new offensive coordinator, reported by the NFL Network Tuesday morning.
For the past two season, Knapp, was the quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans seasons. He was hired by Lane Kiffin in 2007 for the Raiders and took over as the primary play-caller when Kiffin was fired.
As for the defensive coaching staff it’s highly unknown at this time who Allen may decide on but he has full authority upon hiring the coaches he wants to bring to Oakland. He may actually grab someone who worked with him at Denver or New Orleans that may have familiarity with his system or go in different way all together.
However, Monday night ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Broncos have denied the Raiders permission to speak to linebackers coach Richard Smith for the Oakland defensive job. So where does this leave Allen in his plan.
Other, news reported another person Allen’s list is defensive backs coach Emmitt Thomas, who is talking with the Raiders about their defensive coordinator position. Thomas, 68, is a Hall of Fame cornerback who was a defensive coordinator for the Eagles, Packers and Vikings from 1995-2001.
Expect the Raiders head into the combine and free agency expect the team to have a strong staff of coaches put together no matter what direction Allen decides to go.
This is a wonderful time for this franchise to celebrate the past and welcome in the future. The Raiders may not have too many draft picks but let not be that any indication on how Oakland will improve their team in the coming months.
In the off-season could we see running back Darren McFadden of the Raiders be the “best bargaining chip” to regain the multiple draft picks lost under Al Davis and Jackson. Everything remains to be unknown at this time but really isn’t that half the pleasure of the offseason and the draft.
As for now the Raiders only have two draft picks a fifth and sixth round in April however they will receive three to four compensation picks since the loss of several free agents last fall.
“The vision for the future of the Oakland Raiders is going to be just that. It is going to be a tough, smart, disciplined and committed football team,” Allen said.
“You don’t win football games in the National Football League by talent alone. There are a lot of others things that are a part of winning, those are the things that we are going to develop and the things we will preach on a day to day basis to our players.” “Al Davis was a big part of developing our tradition and a big part of setting the foundation for what we are and what we are going to become,” Allen indicated.
The time to move forward is now and while moving ahead the Raiders are keeping their tradition of the commitment to excellence bringing in a new touch to the surface in to era of Silver and Black football. Coach Allen’s confidence will return the Oakland back to winning franchise. It may seem like a lot needs to transpire but I believe we have the right personal in place to make it happen.