Top 10 Bay Area Sports Stories of 2012: No.6- Raiders’ Regime Change


This is No. 6 on Golden Gate Sports’ list of the Top 10 Bay Area Sports Stories of 2012. For a quick reminder, please read No.7.

The 2012 season for the Oakland Raiders has been an abomination. Constant confusion defensively, frequent missed tackles, failure to shed blocks, inconsistent run game, and turnovers have all prevented the Raiders from even being a decent team. Some would say last year they were an average team, or maybe even above average, as they finished the season at 8-8.  Even some believed if quarterback Jason Campbell hadn’t of suffered a season ending injury mid-season, Oakland would have finished with a better record, and probably made the playoffs.

Under former head coach Hue Jackson, the Raiders matched their 8–8 record from 2010, finishing in a three-way tie with the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers for the AFC West division title, but lost tiebreakers to both teams, and missed the playoffs for an eighth consecutive season.

The 2011 season also marked the final season under the ownership of Al Davis, who died on October 8th, 2011 which brought Mark Davis to be come the new owner of the Oakland Raiders.

Soon after Reggie McKenzie officially signed his contract to be come the first general manager since longtime owner Al Davis’s death, McKenzie fired coach Hue Jackson in a bold first move, looking to give the organization a fresh start. Since 2002, the Raiders have had six different head coaches and all have lasted fewer than three full seasons. So with the move, McKenzie made it clear on his first day as the Raiders’ GM that there’s a new regime in Oakland.

August 25, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis (left) and general manager Reggie McKenzie (right) watch before the game against the Detroit Lions at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

McKenzie later ended up hiring former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen as the new head coach. Coach Allen had the Broncos defense looking very sharp which caught McKenzie’s eye becayse Defense has been the main issue for the Raiders for quite some time now. Naturally, McKenzie’s thought was that Allen would improve Oakland’s defense, and ultimately the team as most thought the pieces were there for the Raiders.

Then, a new defensive and offensive coordinator came along. McKenzie was not messing around when he said he wanted a new regime, and ultimately a fresh start.

Jason Tarver was later crowned the defensive coordinator. Tarver served as co-defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Stanford in 2011 after spending ten seasons in various coaching capacities with the San Francisco 49ers.

Then, Allen and McKenzie agreed on bringing over Greg Knapp as the offensive coordinator. Knapp spent the last two seasons as the quarterbacks’ coach of the Houston Texans, helping Matt Schaub become a dominant quarterback, and also helped rookie T.J. Yates. The end result was a division title in 2011—playing part of the season in place for the injured Schaub and Matt Leinart.

With all these new changes to begin Oakland’s new regime, Raider Nation hoped and hoped that all the pieces would come together to make the puzzle. But instead, it has been nothing less than a massive disappointment.

The Oakland Raiders are currently 4-10, and they have not made any progression. Instead, they’ve regressed.

They rank 26th in the league in points per game averaging 18.8 a game, which is a tough statistic to take in as a Raiders’ fan. With all that talent they have offensively, they still aren’t able to put up a solid amount of points on the board. There do indeed have play-makers. It starts with quarterback Carson Palmer who has a huge arm and can be extremely effective off the play fake. Star running back Darren McFadden, who some would argue is one of the best running backs in the league, has been a disappointment. Even with speedy receivers they still can’t put up a respectable amount of points.

Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp has taken a lot of heat from Raiders’ fans, and maybe he is just not the guy to go forward with. Or, maybe he needs to settle in.

The worst has yet to come, though.

The Raiders rank 25th in overall defense. They give up about 370 yards per game as well as close to 29 points per game which is tied for the highest allowance with the Buffalo Bills. Simply put, their defense has been a flat out embarrassment.

Offensively, Oakland has been atrocious, but defensively, they’ve taken atrocious to another level. Some thought Dennis Allen had the defense over in Denver last year looking pretty sharp, right? Well he did, but has done just the opposite with defensive coordinator Jason Tarver in Oakland.

I understand patience is key, and maybe in a year or two most of their problems will begin to evaporate. Every team eventually gets their organization together, and maybe the Raiders just need a bit more time. With the 2012 season already in the dirt, I’m hoping Oakland gets a solid first round pick and make some big moves in the off season. Only time will tell, though.

Stay tuned as we continue our countdown on December 26th with No. 5 on our Top 10 Bay Area Sports Stories of 2012.