After an embarrassing defeat in London to the Miami Dolphins and an 0-4 start to the season the Oakland Raiders
fired head coach Dennis Allen. Dating back to last year the Raiders have lost 12 of their last 13 games and showed
little progress on the field. Clearly it’s the coaches fault the Raiders are underachieving. He’s the one not executing
the plays, missing blocks, dropping passes, missing tackles, and giving up big plays right?
Wrong! Coaches don’t do those things. They strategize, organize, and give the players structure and an opportunity
to succeed. I won’t go so far as to say Dennis Allen is the next Bill Belichick, but he can only do so much. The
organization hasn’t exactly stocked the roster with talent. Aging running backs (Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden),
mediocre receivers (Denarius Moore, Rod Streater), and past their prime defensive backs (Charles Woodson) is not
a formula for success in the NFL. You can’t make vintage wine without sour grapes if you know what I’m saying.
The problem is leadership at the executive level and unrealistic expectations. Mark Davis has been given the
responsibility of returning the Silver and Black to prominence, but it’s hard to step out of the shadow of Al Davis, the most
innovative and influential man in the history of the NFL. Everyone expects instant results and are unwilling to let the process
run its course. Bad decisions are compounded with more bad decisions.
Because the organization is so impatient the Raiders are constantly in a rebuilding phase. The message is never clear or
confident, the direction is never firmly established, and players don’t get a chance to develop. The Raiders have had 7
coaches since Chucky left town in 2002 and to be honest the job is not that attractive for up and coming coaches. Dennis
Allen was not their first choice the last time around even though he tried to make the most out of a bad situation.
The good news is worst to first is not all that uncommon in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs went from 2-14 to a playoff
team in one season and statistics show half the teams that made the playoffs last year won’t make it this year. The bad
news is we’re talking about the Raiders and they refuse to get out of their own way. Too many times the pick Jamarcus
Russell, Robert Gallery, and Darius Heyward-Bey instead of Adrian Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Clay Matthews. Only
time will tell, but I think we’ll be well into the next decade before the Raiders make the playoffs again. Your thoughts?