It's "Raider Business" Time For McKenzie & Allen.
Terrell White – Dec 22, 2012
Holla At Me Raider Nation!
The saying: "Better late than never." was the first thought that came to mind; After Sunday's home win against the Chiefs. Let's be honest home games this season in Oakland haven't been a nightmare for the opponents of the Raiders. Home games in Oakland this season have been a waking nightmare for Raider fans!
Now, I don't expect this win to appease Raider Nation; After all, the team does have a couple of potential losses still left in the season. However, those are games the Oakland Raiders will have to play on the road; Speaking of the road, thus far Oakland has lost five out of the six road games the team has played. Moreover, they've also been outscored 200-95 (but I digress). Sunday, Raider Nation got to watch something we haven't seen in a very long time. The Raider envelop a team into "THE BLACK HOLE."
Did this victory go down the way I expected? I'll answer my own question (to be polite) and say: "No, it didn't." However, I've waited more than a month for this team to find a way to just WIN -- baby. Therefore, I have NO intention of complaining about the Raiders first shutout victory in about a decade. Better late than never is what I say (about Sunday's home win).
As for Carolina, and San Diego, I (personally) could care less about those games. Right now it's time for McKenzie and Allen to concentrate on "Raider Business." Quite frankly, it's been time for McKenzie and Allen to start handling Raider business. They should have started this process three or four weeks ago (but again I digress).
For those of you who don't understand what I mean by "Raider Business" allow me to elaborate. I don't care what plans the NFL had when they scheduled these games (last two games of the season). I don't care about what happens in your fantasy league (key word being: fan-ta-sy). The only thing I care about is the Raiders doing what's in the best interest of THE RAIDERS.
Let's take it from the top:
The odds of Mark Davis selling his control over the Raiders before they play a meaningful game in 2013 is next to zero. Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen might as well be Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear (movie: Stuck On You) because they're conjoined twins (for the moment).
Mark Davis may be as disgusted with the performance of the team as the rest of Raider Nation; However, that being said I don't believe that he's sooo disgusted that he's ready to fire Reggie McKenzie. Firing McKenzie at this point would only facilitate Mr. Davis beginning a new general manager search; He may be disgusted, but he ain't THAT disgusted.
As I stated, I don't believe that Mark Davis is ready to fire Reggie McKenzie. In conjunction with that I don't believe (at this point) that Reggie McKenzie is ready to fire Dennis Allen. Feel how you want about Hue Jackson, and his tenure as head coach; The facts are that the team scored more points, gave up fewer points, and won more games under Hue Jackson as a rookie head coach then they have under Dennis Allen. Let's also remember that Dennis Allen had the benefit of a full off season, training camp, and pre season to implement his system; Hue Jackson had to deal with a lock out.
Reggie McKenzie made it clear (to everyone) that it was his decision to fire Hue Jackson. It was his (Reggie McKenzie) decision to hire Dennis Allen, and allow him (Allen) to hire his own coaching staff (which currently includes Greg Knapp). If Reggie McKenzie were to fire Dennis Allen right now it would probably make him look like a fool; For having hired Dennis Allen as head coach is the first place.
For that reason alone (as far as I'm concerned) McKenzie will have Allen back, at least for one more season. McKenzie may appear to be the fool, if he fires Allen after one dismal season; He would however look shall we say - slightly more attractive - if he were to fire Allen after two.
McKenzie needs to focus on proving he is what we think he is (and need him to be). A man who can recognize, and find talent; Not just NFL talent, I'm talking about players who can thrive wearing the silver and black of our beloved Raiders!
Losing record, or not playing for the Oakland Raiders is not like playing for, let's say -- the Arizona Cardinals (just to pick a team out of the air). The Raiders need to have certain types of players in certain positions. Reggie McKenzie should understand this; Now he needs to prove, not only that he understands, but that he can (and will) get the job done.
I don't want to hear about draft picks and cap space. You want a "reason" for being held back?!? Try slavery. Now that's a - reason. No high draft picks, and cap space restraints are nothing more than excuses for losing. The truly talented general managers thrive under any circumstances. A general manager with half a brain should be able to build a team, if they have a fist full of draft picks in one hand and a fist full of cash in the other. I need McKenzie to prove that he's above average. This draft class should give Raider Nation a good indication whether or not Reggie can recognize the not so obvious diamonds that are in every draft class, and restore our Raiders.
Again, what are we? The Arizona Cardinals?!? (not picking on the red birds) We don't think "inside the box." We know that - there is no box (borrowing a bit from The Matrix).
I'm expecting, despite the draft and salary situation for McKenzie to be able to find a few "Raiders" to add to Oakland's roster. Reggie McKenzie (I believe) has the opportunity to make a statement as General Manager of the Raiders. However, in order for that to happen there are certain things he must do, and he must avoid.
Beginning with the later, McKenzie must avoid being linked to losing. If Allen is unable to correct his own ship McKenzie will have no choice but to sink it; Or watch his own ship sink right along with that of Allen.
The next pitfall McKenzie must avoid is a two headed beast. One head is the dreaded Draft Day Mistake (see Robert Gallery for reference).The other head belongs to the Expensive Free Agent Bust (I know that we have some questions at quarterback but the last thing we need is to bring in a Mark Sanchez).
McKenzie has pretty much gutted the Raider roster. Before the season began he had to have changed at least 26 out of the 53 players the Raiders had on the roster. However, that roster change has not produced positive results on the field of play. This will be the Raider first losing season since 2009.
It's going to be important for him to not develop a foundation based upon losing. He's going to need to draft well, and find the proper free agents to play Raider Football.
I would look for McKenzie to continue to draft defense; You could see a Jarvis Jones, defensive end for Georgia join the Raiders roster (we do need someone to rush, and sack the quarterback). You could also see Manti Te'o the linebacker from Norte Dame (The Raiders do need leadership at this position). Also don't be surprised if Kyle Long, son of Raider legend Howie Long joins the team. Kyle is not a defensive player, however he is an offensive lineman (another area the Raiders could use an upgrade at), and he is a legacy player (We didn't have a change to draft Jake Long -- so don't be surprised if we pick up Kyle).
In my opinion 2013 needs to be: The Year Of Dennis Allen. It goes without saying that I'll be watching to see the new McKenzie acquisitions; Remember McKenzie has entirely rebuilt the Raiders professional and college scouting teams. However, Allen's job is to - as we say: coach em' up! The first thing that I need confirmed is that Dennis Allen knows defense. As you're reading my words our defense is ranked no better than 21st against the run and 27th against the pass. Moreover, the Raiders defense has played games in which they've allowed their opponent to score 42, 55, and 38 points!!
I'm aware of the fact that our defensive line acts as though their allergic to quarterbacks. We have questions at line backer. We have cover corners, minus the cover, and un-safe safeties. However, as I stated Dennis Allen's job is to coach em' up!! The first word that comes to mind, pertaining to what I've seen of the Raiders game plans this season from week to week is: SUSPECT.
Allen's in game, and half time adjustment are virtually nonexistent, and the adjustments that have been made, for the most part have been unsuccessful; See the "long snapper game" if you have any questions. Too often this season the Raiders have looked not only over matched but unprepared, and that unprepared part has to do with the coaching.
Speaking of coaching, Reggie McKenzie gave Dennis Allen the power to assemble his own staff. What that means is that Dennis Allen, not Reggie McKenzie is to blame for Raider Nation being forced to suffer through Greg Knapp part II. Comparing the 2012 Raiders offensive production with that of the 2013 team is like comparing Jessica Alba to a hobbit; In other words: There is no comparison. Furthermore, let's not forget that it was Dennis Allen's idea to hire Jason Tarver to run the defense (instead of doing it himself).
As I stated, when discussing the General Manager it doesn't really take talent to coach a team filled with pro bowl type players; After all there are gentlemen like Barry Switzer walking around with Super Bowl rings on their fingers -- that really belong to someone else (Raider Nation's John Gruden is another one of these gentlemen). Conversely we've all seen teams bring in a head coach and that gentleman, just by his presence and game planning boost the teams win total!! Dennis Allen needs to prove that he's that type of head coach.
2013, I need to see Dennis Allen run this team and show Raider Nation that he has some real passion!! I'm also expecting Allen to make some changes to his coaching staff. Specifically, I can't see him bringing back Greg Knapp as Raider offensive coordinator. The question is will he bring in someone with former head coaching experience? (might be a challenge to his authority?) This would probably be in the best interest of the Raiders, but I'm not too sure if Allen is going to be willing to hire someone McKenzie could use as his replacement.
Time for McKenzie and Allen to get down (and continue) the business of restoring the glory of the Raiders. With draft decisions, free agency, and coaching staff issues to handle it's going to be a very interesting time for Raider Nation; Especially seeing how this has been one of the hardest seasons in the team's history for the fans to watch. However, at this point the only place the Raiders can go is up (we hope).
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