FOOTBALL: Dawn of ‘new day’ for Raiders with Allen’s arrival

FOOTBALL: Raiders move to 2-1 with win over Jets

ALAMEDA – If all goes according to plan, the Raiders won’t be holding another news conference to announce the hiring of a head coach for at least a few years.
Dennis Allen was introduced as the 18th head coach of the Raiders on Monday, the seventh time in the past 10 seasons the franchise has met the media with the promise of doing great things in the future. The record shows the Raiders haven’t had a winning season in nine years.
“This is a new day for Oakland Raiders football,” Allen said. “We’re going to set our own goals and aspirations.”
Allen, 39, was targeted early by general manager Reggie McKenzie, wowing the Raiders executive in an interview in Denver on Jan. 18 and sewing up the job six days later while both were in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl.
“He understood the big picture as far as putting a plan together,” McKenzie said. “We went over everything. How you treat people, how you treat players, getting a staff together. It was all right in line with the way I was thinking.
“We had a lot of like thoughts about football, the Raiders, players and his passion. His intensity and his drive, that was just icing on the cake.”
McKenzie declined to confirm multiple reports of a four-year contract – an unprecedented length for a Raiders coach – but said: “I will tell you this. I’m committed to coach Dennis Allen and what we’re going to do within the next few years.”
Allen, the Broncos’ defensive coordinator this past season, is in the process of selecting his staff and declined to divulge the names of any candidates. The NFL Network reported that Todd Bowles, who interviewed with McKenzie for the head-coaching job, turned down an offer to be on Allen’s staff and will coach the secondary for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The only Raiders coach currently under contract is offensive coordinator Al Saunders, who was not at the news conference and no lock to remain on staff as Allen attempts to implement what he calls an “up-tempo” offense.
“We’re exploring all our avenues as far as what we’re going to do there,” Allen said.
McKenzie said after the news conference that “there’s a couple of guys he wants to keep. He’s going to see who he can get and who he can’t.”
With the Raiders coming off an 8-8 season, Allen said he didn’t feel the need for wholesale change. He said there is playoff-caliber talent currently on the roster, and that it’s his job to provide leadership and direction.
“If you’re passionate about the message you believe in, I firmly believe you can get people to follow you,” Allen said. “Our message to these players is that we’re going to look for tough, smart, hardworking committed players that want to be the best. We’re not going to settle for anything less than that.”
Some other points addressed by Allen during the 45-minute news conference:
• Carson Palmer is on board.
Allen and McKenzie both said they spoke to the quarterback, who was brought to Oakland by Hue Jackson and had a relationship with the former coach dating to his days at USC.
“Carson Palmer is extremely excited about what we have going here,” Allen said. “He’s looking forward to the future, and he’s excited about the opportunities here.”
McKenzie was noncommital about re-signing quarterback Jason Campbell, who will become a free agent.
• The Raiders will reduce penalties through repetition in practice after setting NFL records for the most penalties and penalty yards in 2011.
“The only way that you create habits is through consistency, doing the same things over and over and over,” Allen said. “If you’re committing penalties, that becomes a habit. We’ve got to change those habits.”
• Allen will not be the defensive play-caller.
“I don’t believe the head coach can do an effective job if he’s calling plays, offensively or defensively,” he said. “I will be a game manager on Sunday with a lot of input on what we do offensively, defensively and on special teams.”
• Although Allen’s background is primarily with a 4-3 defensive scheme, he said the defense employed by the Raiders will be multiple.
“We’re going to do a lot of different things on defense,” he said. “Again, we’re going to be attacking and aggressive in a bunch of different areas. I don’t really get hung up on the 4-3, 3-4 personnel. We’re going to find out what our players can do the best.”
• The offense will stress a tempo similar to the New Orleans Saints, where Allen worked as an assistant coach before joining the Broncos in 2011.
• Discipline will be emphasized.
“You coach them firm and you coach them fair, and you hold them accountable to their actions,” Allen said. “I don’t know how it was done in the past because I wasn’t here, but I do know that that’s what I believe in.”
• Middle linebacker Rolando McClain, the centerpiece of a Raiders defense that gave up 5.1 yards per carry against the run, was given a vote of confidence of sorts by both Allen and McKenzie.
“I see a very talented football player. Just like a lot of things that we’ve talked about already, we’ve got to do our best to make sure we get Rolando to play at the best of his ability on every single snap,” Allen said.

Leave your comments