Confidence in Dennis Allen in question: Right or wrong?

Brian Bahr

A week ago, Dennis Allen was riding high as his football team — predicted to be one of the worst in the league — was sitting at 3-4 with a winnable home game ahead of them. Now, just a week later, Allen found himself on the wrong side of a blowout bringing his status as coach right back into question.

Just a week ago I asked the question as to whether Dennis Allen was coaching himself out of a job.

The premise was simple: at 3-4, the Raiders were exceeding just about everyone's expectations and the position as head coach of the Oakland Raiders was probably as attractive as it had been in years. With that in mind, the question was out there: Was Allen making the job too attractive? Would the team's success ultimately lead to Allen's release in favor of a more prominent coaching name who might be warming up to the idea of coaching in Oakland?

Well, it's amazing how quickly an article like that can fade from relevancy.

One day removed from a 49-13 home loss to the 4-5 Eagles, the last thing on anyone's mind is the impressive start to the season Oakland had put together.

In fact, it's almost comical to go back and look through the comments on that article to see just how silly some look just days removed from posting:

"(Defensive Coordinator Jason) Traver is the best coach we have… We need to lock him up for 5 years because other teams will try to get him after this year"

Not sure if that's the case after Sunday.

"I have no doubt that DA will be given more time with the Raiders; my only concern would be that this defense turns out to be SO good that DA or Tarver find themselves in demand for more high-profile coaching positions."

Don't think we have to worry about that.

Now look, I get the criticism I'm going to get for writing a piece one week saying he's doing well and the next saying he's doing terrible, but that's not my point, so I'm hoping the commenters will have read this far before making a judgment.

Here's my point: now is the time for Oakland to ask themselves if Allen is the right guy for the future.

He's had his high points this season, with an inspired performance by a team no one expected to be any good. Unfortunately, he's also had his low points: getting blown out at home and turning Nick Foles into Dan Marino, making us wonder just how far this team has really come.

Next season Oakland has tons of cap space — an idea that has been talked about at great length all season.

Many suggest that because of that, Allen should be given another season with a talented roster (hopefully) to see what he and Tarver can do. On the flip side, though, you'd like a head coach helping make personnel decisions for next season that is going to stick around for a while.

If Reggie McKenzie isn't sure if Allen is the guy, then I'd almost guess it's better to move on and start fresh with a new coach and a whole new roster. Now, whether Reggie feels that way or not is a whole other story.

If Allen's not the guy, though, why give him another season? Think about how much more attractive this job is as a blank slate job with tons of cap space and some impressive young players at a few positions.

If the Raiders wait a year, then they've got a bunch of guys already signed under contract — signed to fit whatever scheme next year's coach is in favor of — and the job becomes less attractive (especially if the team didn't do well enough to earn the coach another season).

Personally, I'm torn.

I think Allen has made strides in key areas — penalties for one — and has done his best with the lack of talent he has been handed.

On the flip side, though, there hasn't been a defining moment of his tenure when I thought to myself: I'm all in with Allen. In fact, it's games like yesterday that cause me to think the exact opposite: that this team hasn't changed as much as I would have hoped.

You can't expect Allen to get to the playoffs with the rosters he has been handed. But giving up 49 points at home to a backup quarterback isn't acceptable under any circumstances.

One week after cooling the seat he was sitting on, I think it's safe to assume that Allen's seat is warming again.

So coach, the ball is in your court. You got this team off to a good start, but took two steps backwards on Sunday, leaving yourself with eight games left to prove you're worth keeping.

Game on.

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