Oakland Raiders: Immediate Future Starting To Take Shape.
Terrell White – Jan 27, 2012Holla At Me Raider Nation!
FINALLY! Something to write about!
Hey, with all the dramaÂ swirling around this teams ownership and management as of late, did you reallyÂ want to read about the performance of the defensive backfield for 2011? (wink)
What we (a.k.a Raider Nation) want to talk about is what's going to happen with this team in the immediate future, not the past. As we know, the situation in Oakland over these pastÂ few months has been cloudy, at best.
However, with the hireÂ of our General Manger Reggie McKenzie and his subsequent, (potential) hire of a head coach Dennis Allen, we can now start to speculate as to what shape the team is going to form.
Oakland Raiders Head Coach
Now, what I've been hearing people sayÂ is how this hire is an "Al Davis Move." Let's clear up one thingâ€”no one, and I do mean NO ONEâ€”makes Al Davis moves but Al Davis! The man is not only a football G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) he's the well-spring of ALL THINGSÂ Raider related. McKenzie is neither of these things.
Al Davis could afford to bring in people with little, to no experience because, wellâ€”because he's Al Davis! The one thing Al was not lacking in was experience. In Reggie McKenzie we have an inexperienced general manager, and in Dennis Allen we now have an inexperienced head coach. Combine this with the fact that Mark Davis is dealing with his own learning curve as owner, fans still have to beÂ some what concerned about the direction and guidance of the team.
As I said people have been putting a "positiveÂ spin" on the head coaching situation. I've been hearing the "talking heads" describing AllenÂ as "young, and hungry,"Â and as I stated previously how Al Davis might admire the move McKenzie made in bringing in Allen, however as you know by now, I don't write positive spin articles.
The truth of the matter is that once again we have a head coach with NOÂ head coaching experience. Why should Raider fans believe that Dennis Allen's first year as head coach is going to be any different fromÂ Lane Kiffin'sÂ first year? Or Tom Cable's first year? Or Hue Jackson's first year? (Do you see a trend here?) Mind you these men had the wisdom and experience of Al Davis to fall back on, a luxury not afforded to Dennis Allen.
Now before you start thinking about Doom & Gloom for our Raiders I'm here to let you know things might not be as bad as they seem.
Raiders Skeletal Structure
It would appear that the Raiders now have their post Al Davis organizational structure in place. "The Brain Trust" (Ron Wolf, John Madden & Co) will be overseeing the entire Raider operation. They will then relay their comments, suggestions, advice, ect. to Mark Davis.
While Reggie McKenzie won't have to worry about Mark Davis looking over his shoulder, (as Al Davis did with his head coaches) he will be under supervision. However, he will also have the freedom to fire, and hire whom he chooses, (as we have already seen).
Exit Hue Jackson, enter Dennis Allen. Now as I said I don't do "positive spin" articles. However, I can see some logic in the hiring of Allen. Looking back on the Raiders 2011 season it was clear that the Defense was the "weakest link."
Oakland Raiders Plan of Action
Many, many, many times I've seen an NFL franchise look to hire a coach that specializes in what ever area of weakness the team is suffering from. For example if your team has a good defense and a solid offense but, the quarterback lacks experience the team will look to hire a coachÂ who's worked with young quarterbacks in the pastÂ and has been successful.
This principleÂ applies to the offense, and the defense as well. If your team has a great defense but, a substandard offense and is in need of a head coach, more than likelyÂ they're not going to hire a coach who specializes in defense. Their going to look to bring in the next "offensive genius."
Speaking of the offense:
With the hire of a new head coach comes the assembly of a new coaching staff. Now that Hue Jackson is no longer controlling the offense the question will be, who is?
If you haven't listened to Coach Jay Dee on Blog Talk Radio then you don't know what you're missing. He preaches what I believe inâ€”common sense. With that in mind,Â common sense would dictate that Al Saunders stay in place as the Raiders offensive coordinator.
I can't for the life of me find a reason why the team would look to further disrupt the continuity that the offense has been making in development. The LAST thing this offense needs is to learn a new scheme, from a new coordinator...again!
Offensive production has more to do with timing, and preparation. Unlike defensive production which tends to have more to do with reading and reacting.
What the Oakland offense needs, more than a healthy Darren McFadden, is for its key members to spend as much time together as possible. The Raiders need to further develop that rapport which makes the great offenses of this game lethal. That meansÂ a fullÂ off-season and training camp, combined with as little change or disruption as possible.
Now, I can't go into too much detail here because the simple fact is that everything starts with the quarterback.Â Carson Palmer was a Hue Jackson pick-up. With Hue Jackson no longer making decision for the RaidersÂ there is no guarantee that Carson Palmer will be the starting quarterback. However, I do believe that he's, (Carson) is going to be given EVERY opportunity to prove that he can lead this team, (at least for the immediate future).
My hope for the offense, (in general)Â is that despite the loss of Jackson, the Raiders will still look to be aggressive! I loveÂ the fake kicks and going for it on fourth down in today's NFL. In certain circumstances, this has become almost mandatory. Moreover, I'm looking for the team to continue to make anÂ effort to stretch the opponents defense with the long ball.
As for the defense:
People have been asking me repeatedly about the 3-4 as opposed to the 4-3 defense the Raiders currently run. Again I'm going to go back to common sense. The Raiders don't need to disrupt the continuity that they have already developed. Switching to a 3-4 defense would do just that! Moreover, the defense that Allen ran in Denver was NOT a 3-4 it was a 4-3!
With All the things Allen is goingÂ to have to deal with as a first time head coach, the Raiders DO NOT need to make such a drastic change. Furthermore, the Raiders problems on defense last season didn't have to do with the scheme, it had to do with EXECUTION!
What Oakland needs to do on defense is A: cut down on penalties B: tackle C: cover (note: this means that you can't have people like Rolando McClain covering people like Calvin Johnson). All of this has NOTHING to do with what scheme the Raiders run.
I fully expect this side of the ball to be Dennis Allen's pet project. After all, the defensive side of the ball is his area of expertise. I can't see him, (Allen)Â hiring someone to do what he specializes in. However, I fully expect him to bring in one of his "flunkies" from Denver to assist him. After all, he will be a first time head coach and will have a myriad of things to deal with, (as we've already experienced with Jackson).
My personal belief, (generally speaking) Â is that after studying the Raiders, McKenzie saw a potent offense that was being held down by its defense. Keeping Saunders as offensive coordinator will allow the Raiders to remain aggressive. Combine that with the smart, intelligent defense that Allen had Denver playing, along with the greatness of our special teams, should have the Raiders back on the path to being a championship contender!
Raider From Birth
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