Time for Raiders to end Dennis Allen era
After a British blowout on an international NFL showcase, there’s little upon which Raiders head coach Dennis Allen can hang his hat.
A regal whipping by Miami, two straight 4-12 seasons, and scarce signs of improvement can mean only one thing: The top three Raiders coaches should be fired.
There’s no other way. While replacing all three would be tough, there’s one simple question that must be asked: How much worse can it get?
Any Raiders firing can’t stop with Allen. The Raiders’ problems are deep enough to indict offensive coordinator Greg Olson and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver.
Multiple firings could be drastic enough to save general manager Reggie McKenzie, though the entire Raiders front office appears to be at risk.
Allen has served up back-to-back 4-12 campaigns, and, through the first four games of 2014, is turning in his worst season since coming to Oakland. But he hasn’t had much help.
Olson has been belted with criticism from the fan base, many pointing to predictable play calls and the misuse of fullback Marcel Reece.
What’s more, despite a rebuilding of the offensive line, screen passes have been absent from almost every game since Olson joined the staff before the 2013 season.
On defense, Tarver has been a disaster. There’s no simple way to put it. Despite bringing in two All-Pro pass-rushers, the Raiders have had serious trouble getting pressure on anyone.
They can’t stop the run. They can’t defend the pass. And what makes the case for Tarver even tougher to compile, while the Raiders have denied it, Allen has clearly appeared to have taken over defensive play-calling.
Before we get any further, understand that there is a reasonable amount of talent on the Raiders roster. Really good young talent, beyond guys like Khalil Mack or Carr.
Rookie cornerback Keith McGill, who has yet to be used despite holes in the secondary bigger than a Carlos Rogers lunch, has the size to help defend the run and the speed to keep up with most receivers.
Oakland coaches prefer two veterans, Rogers and Tarell Brown, though neither have been at all effective. In fact, they’re both defensive liabilities.
Rogers and Brown have been unable to defend the pass, unable to get off blocks in the run game, and have just been unable to help the Raiders on defense in general.
D.J Hayden was supposed to be healthy. He’s not.
If the top coaches were let go, the Raiders would need to conduct a big-time coaching search.
The biggest name to replace Allen is an obvious one, Jon Gruden. He’s stated that he wants to return to coaching, though he’s under contract with ESPN.
The sports broadcasting giant would surely accept a contract buyout, so that’s not too big of a hurdle. Offensive line coach Tony Sparano is the next option. He’s the only coach in Oakland not named Allen who has head coaching experience.
Mike Shanahan is another name that comes to mind. Beyond that, it’s a crap shoot. After the regular season ends, the story is different.
Moving on to defensive coordinator, former 49ers head coach Mike Singletary makes plenty sense. He’s helped mold a few of the games best linebackers, Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis, among others.
Could he continue that legacy with Mack and Sio Moore? Seems legit.
A possibility for offensive coordinator is Cam Cameron, who was fired in the middle of the 2012 season when the Baltimore Ravens were sitting in first place with a 9-4 record during the 2012 season. Cameron is currently quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator for the LSU Tigers.
Cameron’s LSU offense has played remarkably well, though there’s room for dispute since the Tigers haven’t really played a team with a great defense.
Then there’s Mike Sherman, fired after the Dolphins 2013 season that included the bully-gate scandal involving tackle Jonathan Martin and guard Richie Incognito.
Sherman would surely get a thorough look should the Raiders decide to fire Olson.
Finally, there’s Charlie Weis. Weis was fired Sunday morning after the Kansas Jayhawks failed to do much better than their past couple of putrid seasons.
While Weis might be the least attractive option of the three listed here, there are reasons to ponder the name. He served as offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots during the time when Tom Brady was learning the NFL game.
It’s easy to point to Weis as one major reason for Brady’s long-term success and the Patriots’ Super Bowl wins, which all came while Weis was with the team in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
He’s a name that’s currently under the radar, but could just as easily surface as the front-runner to replace Olson, or even Allen.