Okay, I have been reading a number of posts regarding whether or not our current losing streak is caused by the players or the coaches. First of all, to think that it isn't some combination of the two is foolish, so no one should be arguing one to the exclusion of the other. However, I am completely shocked at some of the things being said it terms of how misguided the sources are. The one thing I wanted to concentrate on is the value of a good HC.
In the NFL, the talent is largely comparable. This year, the Jets beat the Saints and Tampa Bay completely outplayed Seattle on the road and very nearly pulled off the upset, which would have been unthinkable. Most teams, even elite teams, have holes on their rosters. What the good organizations are able to do is minimize and overcome their shortcomings. In other words, they have a system that works for them and they play to their strengths. Unfortunately for us, we are still in the stages of developing our system and creating an identity, and this takes guidance. I think we have the guidance in McKenzie as things evolve. We have the makings of a power running team with with Jennings, a couple of large blocking receivers (definitely NOT plugging Moore and Ford here!), a healthy Murray and Watson and the addition of a power OG. The next step in the process is to have sound guidance on the field, and I don't know that we have that right now.
Look, I have absolutely no agenda other than wanting the Raiders to get better and I am willing to show the patience necessary to allow that to happen without blowing a gasket. However, I am to the point where I am concerned that the competence at the HC position is officially lacking. Again, go back to idea that the talent is relative in the NFL. Last year's team truly had some poor talent and we saw that with the players that were let go. Not only were they not missed by us, most of them that actually made a roster have failed to make and impact on other teams. Mike Mitchell and Brandon Myers have done well out of that lot. People thought that Mike Mitchell couldn't play, but he is an intergral part of the league's best defense in terms of points allows because he was finally played to his strengths and his weaknesses were minimized by how he is being used as well as the talent around him. Right now, we have enough talent to be better than a 4-8 team. Last year's team got 4 wins. The defense is allowing two less points a game this year as compared to last and the offense is scoring nearly two more points a game, even with our QB position in flux!
So what's the problem? Coaching. I Judge Dennis Allen on nothing but his merits. I don't care that he was never a HC before because there plenty examples of coordinators moving to up to HC and doing fine. I don't care about him not getting upset on the sidelines or showing enough emotion to satisfy some. I don't care that he was Bronco or that his hair is black or that he looks like he's in his late twenties. None of that matters to me. Dennis Allen has gottent the first part right. By all accounts, he appears to be well respected by the players. He runs a tight ship, he's good spokesman for the team and the team under him plays hard. Those are minimal expectations, but I wanted to point those things out because many of our previous HCs have not had those basic qualities as sad as it is to say. But that's where my compliments end.
Dennis Allen does not seem to have a vision for this team and he has failed to put his "stamp" on the team other than the team not looking like a circus. He makes some corrections after the fact, but I don't see him pointing the team in any sort of direction. Allen's management of the clock has been poor. I don't see him making contributions on offense. Perhaps he does not have the knowledge, but he is a former defensive coordinator. It is very concerning to me that I don't see him making contributions on defense! I just do not see ANY adjustments on defense being made when they need to be made. As a head coach, you are the overseer of all that is going on around you and you are responsible for how the team performs. While it's important not to micro manage, you have to be comfortable enough to lead from your position and you can't worry about stepping on toes. Furthermore, with respect to the defense, Allen is working with a veteran group capable of accepting instruction and executing. Why are we seeing the same outside deep ball to Jacoby Ford that has not worked for two years? Why are we seeing the inexplicable soft soft zone play in untimely situations? Why are we seeing conservative offense for the better part of a half of football? Dennis Allen does not strike me as a stupid guy by any stretch, so the only explanation that makes sense to me is that Dennis Allen is not comfortable coaching the coaches. If you can't do that, they you are a HC in name only. That's my two cents.