Silver and Black are moving away from old habits that have gotten them nowhere
Gary Montgomery, BVN Staff –
True to their legendary Moniker, the Raiders are usually unpredictable and very secretive. Nearly two weeks after hiring former Bronco’s Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen as their 18th head coach, the team finally held a press conference to introduce him to the local media.
Raiders new General Manager, Reggie McKenzie started his coaching search as soon as he knew that he would be the Raider’s new General Manager. It didn’t take long for him to settle on Allen as his number one man.
Allen, 39, comes to the Raiders with an impressive track record and glowing reviews from nearly everyone he has worked with. As the Broncos defensive coordinator, Allen presided over a defense that was responsible for launching Tebowmania. Denver’s defense was so good that the team was able to start a second year quarterback-in-training and win games.
Allen is the teams seventh head coach since 2003. He is taking over a team that has not had a winning season or a playoff appearance since 2002. Allen is also the first coach to be hired by Mark Davis who took over team operations after the death of his legendary father in October.
The new coach replaces Hue Jackson who was let go after only one year. The Raiders were 8-8 under Jackson with their biggest win coming on the road in Houston one day after Al Davis’ death.
Sadly, a decade of despair has left the Raiders in a tough way. Hiring a defensive coach is really a no-brainer considering that the team finished 29th in total defense this season.
If that wasn’t enough, the Raiders are also the most penalized team in the league nearly every year. Although some are legacy penalties bestowed on them simply because they are the Raiders. Even so, they had 163 penalties last season that cost them a little over 1300-yards.
“The only way that you can create habits is through consistency, doing the same thing over and over. Well if you are committing penalties that might become a habit. We have got to develop the proper habits so that we’re not creating those penalties on a daily basis,” said Allen. “We are going to put a team out there that is going to play with passion, a team that is going to play with emotion, a team that is going to play with discipline,” said Allen.
Allen could be the future but his first decisions already concerns me. His immediate decision to go with Palmer as the starter is interesting for a number of reasons.
First, there is a long standing and sometimes respected tradition in sports that says a player should never lose his job to an injury. When starter Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone, he likely expected to at least compete for his job after he recovered.
Second, the Raiders have had success with recycled quarterbacks in the past. Rich Gannon being the most recent example. But Gannon was acquired from Kansas City after beginning his career as a Viking, Gannon took over Gruden’s offense and become league MVP. I can’t see that level of success with Palmer, a pure pocket passing quarterback.
And finally, everyone in the Raiders’ organization that had anything to do with the Palmer deal was sent packing. Which makes me wonder how popular that decision really was?
G. Montgomery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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