There has been a lot of speculation about the status of Dennis Allen. The fans lost their patience a long time ago about anything having to do with the Oakland Raiders and struggling so it is no surprise that many in the Nation are ready for a new coach. However, that same impatience has not spread to the Raiders locker room yet.
Dennis has been talked of fondly around NFL circles who believe he has accomplished more than the current roster was thought capable of, though it is hard to feel that way for the fans after this 1-6 stretch. Nobody can deny that Oakland has played at a competitive disadvantage after two years of slashing and burning the Raiders roster though. It has left them with almost as much dead money as money spent on players currently with the team.
Tarver challenges D to finish strong, earn return
There are a lot of players on one year contracts for the Raiders, here is the chance to finish strong and earn their next contract.
Jim Trotter of SI.com and Peter King's The MMQB has never been shy to speak his mind about the Raiders, especially not when it comes to the Davis family. His latest Silver and Black related column calls for patience and consistency from this long cursed franchise when it comes to the lead man of the team. Raiders safety Charles Woodson and middle linebacker Nick Roach both agree.
“Dennis doesn’t have everything he needs at this point,” said Woodson. “Really, he deserves that shot to come back. It’s not fair to criticize him now. These last couple of years they’ve been making changes around here to put themselves in a position to move forward, and next year they’re going to be able to do a lot of things as far as bringing guys in to make the Oakland Raiders a formidable team.”
Fair or not, Dennis Allen is definitely receiving a large amount of criticism from the fan base. That is what happens when a defensive head coach's team gives up the most ever points in franchise history to a division rival. It might not be fair to put that all on Allen, but it is certainly understandable.
“I understand nobody has patience in this league, and I understand the frustration of the fans.” Woodson continued, “But with the changes that’ll be made, he’ll have what he needs to make this team what he believes it can be. He deserves that shot.”
Woodson has been in this league for a long time, he has a Super Bowl Ring and is almost assuredly a first ballot hall of famer. He also is at the end of his career and has been known for being very candid of late with regard to this team.
Charles has reiterated several times that he would like to return to the Raiders for another year, and that he wants to do so with winning in mind. If he didn't truly believe in the direction that Dennis Allen has been taking then he would either not be interested in continuing to play for Oakland, or he would not be giving a vote of confidence to a coach he didn't want to play for.
The other strong support for Dennis Allen came from another defensive leader on this team -- Nick Roach. Roach is in the first year of the four-year deal he signed this off-season. He is directly affected by the choices this team will make, and he is speaking out about what he feels is the right decision.
“I didn’t know anything about DA when I got here,” said Roach when asked about Allen. “But just seeing how he has handled this progression, I honestly do believe he’s the right guy for the job. He’s realistic, but at the same time he expects the most out of us, which any good coach would. He knows our potential; it’s just a matter of being together enough and building around the core so that everybody is on the same page. I can’t imagine a change being very productive.”
Saying he "can't imagine a change being very productive” is worth noting. This team is likely on the verge of another 4-12 season, though Nick wasn't a part of last year's squad, and he still has enough confidence in the direction of the team to not even consider that things would be better without Dennis leading the ball club.
The difference between the way that Roach spoke and the way that Woodson did is the difference between where they are in their careers. Charles has earned his right to say whatever he wants when interviewed be damned the consequences, but Nick still has to toe the line because no matter what happens next he will still be the MLB.
It is hard to look at what has transpired on this team and feel good about where they are. There are reasons for this unrest beyond just the years of failure, it is the fundamental mistakes that are happening all across the field. These things are attributed directly to the coaches, but how much of the decisions that were made are from a lack of confidence in the current roster?
The biggest question remains whether this is the right coach to build this team around now that money will be coming in. If they are to keep Allen, they need to be right because building the team to a coaches scheme and then firing that coach often just puts the franchise backwards in the long run. Can Dennis Allen be successful with the full amount of cap space available to him? That's a question Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis will have to answer.
If Oakland decides to move on from Allen then they need to make sure not to make the same mistakes with the new hire. That means not hiring a rookie head coach again, because the team and the fans can not handle more rookie mistakes. If they move on they need an experienced coach to take over, and there is no guarantee that an experienced coach will be interested in working in Oakland yet.
If the only choices are young wild card coaches like the hiring of DA then it may very well be better to hang tight with Dennis for another year. Consistency matters and so does showing the patience. Firing yet another coach before a third year could be a gamble that backfires. The lack of patience with DA could keep away the more experienced coaches who could look at the decision as an indictment of the franchise.
It is a tough decision for Reggie to make despite the obvious flaws in the past two seasons of DA as coach. I am glad that I am not the one responsible for having to make that choice. The fan in me wants heads to roll, but there is still the part of me that questions whether that is really the right choice for the long traumatized organization. The part questioning whether it is the right decision just got a little louder after Nick and Charles have put their two cents in.