Dennis Allen has been swinging a large axe these days. Just ask Rolando McClain who was kicked out of practice on Wednesday and subsequently suspended for two games.
Ron Bartell was the first to get sat down in the game. He gave up a couple big catches and was out of position on a 33-yard run in the first half. One of those catches was a 44-yard touchdown pass to Josh Gordon in which he was beaten badly.
Dennis Allen made the decision just before halftime to take Bartell after he gave up that big catch. He was replaced by Phillip Adams. The decision yielded positive results for the Raiders fairly quickly. Adams had pulled down an interception late in the second quarter which kept the Browns from scoring and gave the Raiders one more shot to score before halftime-failed 61-yard field goal attempt.
Denarius Moore was next up to get the boot. He has been dropping passes and running bad routes for weeks now. Those miscues continued in this game and following a dropped pass late in the third quarter, he was benched. That result too yielded near instant results. Three plays later, Palmer hit Rod Streater on a 64-yard touchdown catch and run.
There is no question this team is bad. And Allen and the Raiders have nothing to lose benching starters or anyone else if they are not playing well.
Allen called the move to bench Bartell a "Coach's decision". He said similar of Moore.
"Yeah, took [Denarius Moore] out there at the end," said Allen. "Dropped a couple balls, and you know, we got to make plays when you've got opportunities. Both those guys... it wasn't from a lack of effort, but we've gotta make plays when we've got an opportunity."
"We decided to play some of those younger guys. Denarius had a couple of opportunities to make plays and wasn't able to make them. We decided to play some of those younger players and see what they can do."
That is a rather damning statement considering Densarius isn't exactly a veteran. He is a second year player and would certainly fall into the category of a "younger guy". However, as he did as a rookie, he is now seeing rookies Rod Streater and Juron Criner take snaps from him.
Hard to say what this means for Bartell or Moore in the near future or the rest of the season. Hopefully it will result in either or both of them fixing their problems knowing there is a metal bench waiting for them if they don't.