Feel that, Dennis Allen?
Let it be known this is not a pity party. Allen knew the risks of working for the Oakland Raiders. The first-time head coach inherited a roster deep in salary cap doom and in rebuilding mode. But Allen probably expected a little luck to go his way, which hasn’t happened to date.
To many, Allen’s first year with the Raiders was viewed as a failure. The team finished 4-12, and many games were uncompetitive. Underachievers and Al Davis-favorites were purged from the team in the offseason.
Now the 2013 Raiders face an uphill climb to reach .500, let alone the playoffs. Allen has a quarterback controversy on his hands, and he needs to remain focused fixing the defense, which has more visible leaks than a cheap trash bag.
Expectations are realistically low this season. The Raiders will struggle often, but the team should eventually forge an identity and noticeably improve by December. It’s a far contrast from division rival and Allen’s former employer, the Denver Broncos, who are aiming for a Super Bowl victory, but you have to start small.
Allen won’t even have to sniff the postseason, but reaching his benchmarks will still be a challenge. As the fans know well, not much has gone right in Oakland for the last several years. What’s going for Allen?
Well the defensive guru has control of the Raiders locker room, and he’s established a culture for accountability and protecting one another. That’s a solid start for a club trying to escape the NFL cellar.
If we had to put a number on Allen’s job security, my guess is reaching three wins in 2013. This team is less talented than the 2012 version, but not barren with quality. The NFL is an upset league so the Raiders can reasonably steal a few.
But if the team wins two or less, Allen will approach a territory few coaches survive. If he doesn’t want to take that chance, show owner Mark Davis and general manager Reggie McKenzie you won’t fall on your face. We’re rooting for you, D.A.