Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dennis Allen hired as Raiders Coach

The Raiders' new head coach may not have any head coaching to look back on. But he is not free of experience and success. He certainly had something that impressed Reggie McKenzie, and it is likely to be the same thing that had him rising in the coaching ranks as quickly as he has.

Allen is just 39 years of age, but football is in his blood and has always been part of his life. His father Grady was a football star, playing linebacker at Texas A&M and later in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons.

Dennis was also recruited by Texas A&M and played four years at defensive back for the Aggies. While he was at Texas A&M, the team went to three straight Cotton Bowls. Allen had the game clinching interception in 1993 over Texas to punch their ticket to the Cotton Bowl.

Unlike his father, Dennis never played a down in the NFL. He was in Bills camp in 1994 but never made the team. After his playing days were over, he went back to Texas A&M as a graduate assistant working with the Aggies' secondary for four seasons. In his final three seasons as part of the Aggies' coaching staff, the team went to the Cotton Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Alamo Bowl.

He moved on after that to become the secondary coach at Tulsa University. He spent just two seasons at Tulsa before the NFL came calling, and it was the team for which his father had played — the Atlanta Falcons.

Allen served as a defensive assistant with the Falcons for four seasons. His first full season was spent under head coach Dan Reeves as the Falcons made the playoffs with a 9-6-1 record. In Allen's first season with the team, the defense rose from being ranked 24th the previous season to 8th in points allowed and from 30th to 19th in yards allowed.

continued on Thoughts From the Darkside

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bye Bye Hue!

New Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie suggested Carson Palmer will have competition for the starting job in 2012.

"Palmer will not be immune to a good player ... pushing him," said McKenzie. Former coach Hue Jackson paid the franchise QB price of a first- and second-rounder to acquire Palmer, but the new front office isn't going to treat him as such going forward. Even if the Raiders bring in a capable veteran, Palmer remains the heavy favorite to start in 2012.

We knew this was a realistic possibility once the Raiders brought in GM Reggie McKenzie, as Jackson was still fighting for more power with owner Mark Davis. Had Jackson made the playoffs and not ransacked the franchise's future for Carson Palmer, there's a good chance he'd still be in charge. Packers LBs coach Winston Moss and DBs coach Darren Perry have been mentioned as potential replacements. Fantasy-wise, the coaching change is bad news for Darren McFadden and the Oakland receivers, as Jackson maximized their talents with creative scheming and aggressive play-calling.

Source: Adam Schefter on Twitter

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Not Ready for Prime Time

There are three pieces of the Raider puzzle that need to be removed before the Silver and Black will be serious contenders.
  1. Hugh Jackson - for giving up so much for an over-the-hill Carson Palmer. Jackson is so much more bark than bite. He gives his Ra-Ra speeches, and over utilizes the passing of Al Davis for a weird, almost morbid form of a pseudo attempt to motivate his team. The man didn't even know Al Davis but for a couple of years. In the first half of the Raiders-Chargers, must-win game for the Raiders, you could see the look on Hue Jackson's face: he looked scared. He is not a head coach, he's more of an assistant or QB coach. I just hope it doesn't take the Raiders front office too long to realize he is not ready to be an NFL head coach.
  2. Carson Palmer - he should have stayed on his couch. There is a reason why the Bengals did not pursue him, or even try to trade him until Hugh Jackson foolishly mortgaged the teams immediate future by offering so much for Carson. He has been a mediocre, middle-of-the-road QB his entire career and there is no reason to believe he will be more than that with the Raiders.
  3. Stanford Routt - can you actually believe that this guy is one of the highest paid corners in the NFL? All this man does is hold, grab, rarely locates the ball, and is flagged for pass interference on a regular basis. To say that Routt is a liability is a gross understatement. If I'm in charge of Oakland Raider personnel, he would not be wearing Silver and Black next season (sorry Jamie, I know he's your boy).
I am typing this blog post about 2 minutes before halftime in the Raider-Charger game. Raiders kicked a FG to make the score 14-10 and come right back and allow a 105-yard KO return for a TD. They get the ball back, drive stalls, Janokowski kicks another FG. Score 21-13, Chargers. We will not beat San Diego with FG's because it does not appear that the Raider defense can stop Phillip Rivers. And for the life of me, I cannot understand why Antonio Gates is allowed to just run unfettered in the open field.

Halftime score: Chargers 24, Raiders 13 / Final score: Chargers 38, Raiders 26

One more thing: Seeing Darren McFadden, on the sidelines in street clothes, eating sunflower seeds, made me think, this guy is making all this money, he's very talented, but he's had a significant injury every year of his NFL career. The Raiders may want to consider possibly trading Darren while he still has value. Why? Because he is always injured, and it's usually a different injury each time. This is a clear indication that DMC may very well have an injury-plagued career, and one hit away from one of those unfortunate career-ending injuries.