Aug 23, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen reacts during the game against the Chicago Bears at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Is Dennis Allen Done?

Dec 22, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen reacts during the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Monday following the last regular season game has become a graveyard full of lost direction, unfulfilled promises and utter misery for NFL coaches and their families. As it happens, the Oakland Raiders again find themselves at another crossroads–trying seemingly too hard to right a franchise gone awry.

On what has become known, infamously so, as “Black Monday,” the Raiders will decide the fate of the only good head coach they have had in the last decade. It seems the fan base is longing for the return of Jon Gruden even though that scenario is as unlikely as John Madden coming back to the sidelines. Certain fans have convinced themselves that Gruden will come riding on a white horse and rescue this one proud franchise. Let me tell you why that will not happen.

Gruden has had two bad experiences with ownership, including one with the current owner’s father, he has a cozy job in television where he in involved in football and makes a good living without having to put in the long hours, he would want final say in all personnel moves, meaning a powerless general manager, and lastly he would want a situation where the team has enough pieces to build around. For all the fans of the silver and black that are in denial, let me set the record straight by saying the Raiders meet none of the standards to attract a bone fide head coach. Not to mention the horrible stadium situation the Raiders find themselves in.

Not only will the Raiders not attract Gruden, they won’t attract any other prominent head coaches. Which means the only options will start and end with another rookie coach.

To honestly assess the Dennis Allen situation, you have to take off the rose colored glasses and first acknowledge the state of rot the franchise was in when he was hired. This offseason, if he’s still around, Allen would have–for the first time in three years–a full complement of draft picks and a salary cap in the green.

In his first two seasons, Allen has had to deal with the departure of most of the talent that contributed to consecutive 8-8 seasons. That talent, while NFL worthy, was significantly overpriced due to years of financial mismanagement. Richard Seymour’s 2012 salary alone paid for eight defensive starters in 2013. Looking at overall defensive statistics, you amazingly find the Raiders in a similar spot relative to the league. That speaks to the amazing job the defensive staff and Allen have done in taking a bunch of back ups and putting them in good situations to make plays.

Having to deal with the loss of a starting quarterback who threw for more than 4,000 yards, three quarters of the defensive line, the whole linebacking crew, the whole secondary, most of the offensive line to injury, I never once heard this man make an excuse. Playing with a running quarterback who can’t find open receivers, an undrafted rookie quarterback still trying to find his way, the only mistake Allen has made–in my opinion–has been the shuffling of quarterbacks. I think Matt McGloin gives the Raiders the best chance to win and, more importantly, a better chance to be the long-term starter.

Next year, the Raiders will have for the first time enough cap money to attract game changers. Having $64 million in cap space will allow the Raiders to finally play on a level playing field. The right time to judge Allen would be next offseason. Firing Allen this offseason would be a crime.

There are times in life when the tough stretches really test us, this is that time for this franchise. If the rookie owner keeps his head straight he’ll stay out of football operations and let Allen stick for at least another year.

If the Raiders lose to the Denver Broncos on Sunday, as they probably will, Allen would have a record of 8-24 in his first two seasons. While the record indicates a miserable two years, the relative results are in fact not horrible. I’ll give you two other head coaches who started their first two seasons with a 8-24 record: Bill Walsh and Jimmy Johnson. I’m not suggesting admitting outlandish, just pointing out the fact the judging a coach after only two years is never intelligent.

To answer the fate of Allen, I’ll make a surprising and hopeful prediction; I say cooler heads prevail and he survives this.

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Tags: Dennis Allen Oakland Raiders

  • TWing27

    Yet another well written article. I am hoping the rest of Raider Nation is reading and actually understanding how true this article is.

    • Alvin Chandra

      Thanks! I’m glad there are fans like you who see the full picture

      • underdog47

        Anyone who came off a 4 and 12 season and starts the next season with a long shot quarterback and is 3 and 5 an changes quarterbacks and goes 1 and 6 will never win, is a loser.I would not want him running my team the goal is to win games.He don’t know how to win even if he stumbles across a good situation.

    • Don

      Continuity is what raider nation is been missing

      • rioderek

        They’ve been consistently been losing and a guy like DA will not change that reality. The guy has no track record of success, nor has she displayed any ability to evaluate and/or extract the best out of players.

  • Dah Bone

    TOTALLY DISAGREE with keeping Allen. McKenzie may have chosen this fella–who is similar to lane kiffin getting his on the job training… because he did not want an experienced coach who might know better than him. Hugh Jackson wouldda been better. and all this talk about the salary problems… and bad team… they were 8 and 8 the two season before this kid came… Hugh Jackson would have been MUCH better to move forward with…that said… they NEED a coach who is experienced…and can manage games and make adjustments… AND challenge McKenzie…who made some obvious bad calls. Continuing with Allen on the learning curve would be a big mistake. Lovie Smith, David Shaw… Rex Ryan(would be fantastic)–if New York was foolish enough to fire him. I don’t think they will.

    • Alvin Chandra

      Hugh Jackson who gave a first and second for a qb we don’t have anymore? If we still had hugh he would have the same team and we’d be 1-14 the guy was lame and he was a cry baby. He threw his team under the bus to save face. You want that? The team across the bay has a cry baby.

      • Steve67

        Yep!! If we had Hue Jacskon we would have done even worse, and we’d probably be going into the draft with no first and 2nd round picks because he probably would have traded them for Mark Sanchez when Pryor got injured.

  • David Echard

    The Raiders will have plenty of suitors. 70 Mil in Cap room and a Top 5 pick with a new Franchise QB.
    Allen will be Fired come this Monday. Comparing Allen to Walsh and Johnson is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.

    • Steve67

      They will have no decent suitors if they fire him. Wake up!!! Good coaches don’t consider coming to the Raiders because of the rampant instability and firing yet another coach after only two years only sends the message that the instability will continue. It won’t matter at all how much cap room they have. Allen inherited a horrible and depleted team. He did as well or better than any coach the Raiders have had since Gruden would have done. And don’t be so sure that top 5 pick is going to get us a franchise qb. Four out of the top 5 picks in the draft will be teams in the market for a QB. That means if the Raiders draft a QB in the first round it will probably be Derek Carr. I’d rather see them trade the pick down, get another 2nd round pick and pick CJ Mosley later in the first and then AJ McCarron with one of the 2nd round picks. Derek Carr is not worth a #5 overall pick. McCarron could be gotten later and probably is more NFL-ready.

  • Lee

    As stated by TWing27, well written. Yes, there are plenty the see JG as a savior. Come on. Really? I liked him while he was here, but not paying attention to the whole picture is getting old. I’ve been a fan for 40+ years. What creates a winning club is consistency and depth. The Raiders have had neither for some time now. These fans yearning for hero’s of the past need to step back and see how his league has changed. Al was a great football mind for his time. But he himself failed to adapt to the new NFL. I certainly hope MD thinks twice before starting over. Stick with the plan laid out when RM was brought aboard and keep DA, Olsen, Tarver, etc. I’d rather see what they can do with a level field.

  • Jimmy Conway

    I’m willing to give them one more year,but not a 3rd 4-12 season. They gotta do better.

  • rioderek

    DA took over an 8-8 team and went 8-24. The guy has no track record of success and simply isn’t a leader of men. The guy is in over his head and has shown absolutely NOTHING to warrant more wasted time with him leading the team

    • Steve67

      No he did not inherit an 8-8 team. Most of that team, especially on defense, was no longer there when he got there. They had nine new starters on defense when he took over and most of them were players gotten “on the cheap”. The team that went 8-8 also had a former pro-bowler at QB, and he had a much healthier McFadden, DHB, and better TE’s. Some of you are so deluded. DA did better with this team than Jackson or Cable would have done. But no you would rather have them once again fire a coach before he has had a chance to show what he can do and continue the cycle of futility that has ruined this once great franchise. You would rather they brought in some reject coach that no other teams are interested in. Apparently you miss the glory years of Art Shell’s second stint as head coach when he had Tom Moore (who had previously been running a bed and breakfast for four years) as his offensive coordinator.

      • rioderek

        DA is a reject nobody wanted. McFadden missed half the season, the year proceeding DA’s arrival. The team lost it’s starting QB late in the season and played with CP still in the learning process. DA misused DBH, McFadden, Palmer ect. Like you the guy is clueless and took a slightly better than average team and turned them to garbage (with the help of RMc). Prior to this season sports writers rated DA the worse coach in the league. He should have no problem retaining that title. Losers and and weak minded types except losing, losers and excuses. DA is unacceptable to anyone with decent or normal standards. BTW who was Hue Jacksons pro-bowl QB DA didn’t have. You’re ridiculous !

        • Steve67

          No you are the one who is clueless. DA interviewed with other teams. And I don’t know which sportswriters you’re talking about because everything that I have read and heard has them all rating him pretty high and saying that he is very well respected around the league and most importantly with the players. The players want him back. Despite whatever nonsense you might ramble off the players have far more insight than you. Carson Palmer is the former pro-bowler that Hue Jackson had. You remember that right?? When your hero Hue Jackson traded away about three draft picks for Palmer. You think the team that DA had on opening day was “slightly better than average”??? And I am the clueless one?? I have seen some pretty deluded comments but that takes the prize. DA misused DHB??? Ummm yeah genius he didn’t even have DHB. He signed with the Colts before the season started. You say losers accept losing?? I am not accepting losing. I am just realistic enough to realize that this team we had this year was a joke and there was no coach who was going to do any better with them than DA did. No the losers are the ones like you seem to forget the last 10 years and how the previous administration ruined this once great franchise with the constant cycle of hiring and firing coaches.

          Tell me genius, if they do fire DA just who do you think would take the job with the Raiders? Let me guess. Gruden??? Ehhhhh!!! Sorry he aint comin back. In fact you can forget about any of the names being considered by the six teams that are now looking for head coaches. Nope, they fire DA and his replacement will be some reject that will make Lane Kiffin look like a genius. And next year at this time you’ll be calling for him to be fired.

          • rioderek

            Well Dumb Dumb, the bulk of your post is totally ridiculous therefore a reply is unwarrented. As for who would replace a fired DA. There are MANY quality coaches available and virtually all if not all of them would be interested in the Raiders job. There are limited NFL HC positions available. Coaches take the jobs offered, it’s not like there are many if any other options. The pay is great and the opportunity to be a part of the sport is their lifes goal. If DA interviewed for other jobs (which I doubt) he wasn’t hired anywhere and we all see why. He was the last coach hired that off season, due to the FACT RM moronically waited to the very last minute to hire a HC. Gruden No ! Whistenhunt, Lovie Smith, David Shaw, Caldwell and a few more; Yes

          • Steve67

            Just the fact that you are actually deluded enough to think that any of those guys would even consider coaching the Raiders if they fire DA after only two years is all I need to see to know that you know next to nothing about football. Whisenhunt is likely gonna have a chance at the Detroit job where they already have a talented team. Lovie Smith is probably going to be wooed by Tampa and will probably also have a good shot at the Minnesota job. David Shaw aint going anywhere and he has already made that clear. All of those guys are gonna have opportunities with more stable organizations where they will be able to make just as much, and probably more money than they would make with the Raiders. And DA did interview with other teams. I remember Miami for sure and I am pretty sure St Louis also. But if he didn’t, as you seem to think, then that just proves my point even more; that the coveted coaches don’t want to go to the Raiders And calling what I wrote ridiculous just shows that you are unable to come up with a rebuttal to what I wrote.