Forgive me for posting these thoughts in a tardy fashion. I’ve done a lot of sleeping after my big adventure last weekend. But I have two lingering thoughts about Dennis Allen and the Raiders opener.

1. Of course Allen and his special teams staff should have had a properly trained backup long snapper. Travis Goethel didn’t fail. The coaches did. That’s obvious.

2. This second point maybe isn’t as obvious, but it’s important. With 7 seconds left in the first half the Raiders were at the Chargers’ one yard line. Allen went for the field goal. It was the normal thing to do. Get the 3 points. Go with the percentages. Except it wasn’t a normal time. The Raiders had sold out. They were on Monday Night Football. Allen was making his debut as coach as the “new” Raiders organization was making its debut.

He should have seized the moment boldly. He should have made a statement about who the Raiders are, a statement to the fans, the league, his own players. He should have gone for the touchdown. If he failed, no big deal. The Raiders would be down 10-3 with a half to play. They made the field goal and still were down 10-6. He had so much to gain by being adventurous. His failure to go for it made him seem, well, young.

I am not knocking him as a coach. He will learn. He needs to learn from this one opportunity which never will return to him in his lifetime.

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  1. Stan

    Thanks Lowell. I meant to point that out It bothered me then and now that the Raiders-red zone failures- would pass on a great chance. As you said-the 3 points meant nothing. As a mater of fact..it reminded me of the Hue braincramp last year when he kicked an extra point…when the Raiders NEEDED a 2 point conversion. And Greg Papa has said it many a time,a terrible mistake in losing track of the score. It cost Oakland the game. And so did Allen’s.
    Dang-I should have beat you to the topic Lowell. One for you. I plan on catching up with the next game-ha…

    September 13th, 2012 11:31 am

  2. Bob In Portland

    I’m not sure how much this is a reflection of the coaching. What I mean by that is that I would take a harsher analysis of it after the first game.

    I realize that the Raiders are in a tough situation, thin throughout the roster, so everyone gets a pass this year. It’s just a question of how much of a pass. Kawakami said the Raiders would go 9-7, but they looked so outclassed by a fading Chargers roster that it’s hard to envision them getting anywhere near .500 this year.

    Well, we shall see.

    September 13th, 2012 12:12 pm

  3. Brady

    Statistics have proven that, on 4th and 1 from anywhere, let alone the goal line, going for it is a smarter decision than kicking a field goal.

    the only thing kicking a field goal does is take the pressure of the coach so he doesn’t get blamed if they fail the conversion. But, speaking strictly on probability and expected points, going for the TD is the correct move.

    September 13th, 2012 12:14 pm

  4. lameduck

    It reads to me like you’re speaking as a fan.

    September 13th, 2012 12:18 pm

  5. Marko

    Lowell – Allen is in over his head. Reminds me a lot of a guy named Nolan a few years back.

    Whenever a coach says “I’ve got to do a better job of coaching” it sends the wrong message to the team. Now they have a built in excuse to fail.

    September 13th, 2012 12:57 pm

  6. Tiburon Dave

    Who is the special teams coach who had no plan for a backup long snapper?

    Why did Reggie start the season without a Tight End who can catch the ball?

    Michael Bush went to Chicago due to cap space. Who replaced him?

    Now that Al’s gone shouldn’t DHB go too?

    Greg Knapp…Chargers played cover 2 and stacked the line and the best you can do is 40 touches to McFadden and a few dumps to Kagen who hasn’t been around long enough to avoid being stopped by security?

    Lowell, your question about going for it is fair but this is such a mess your question didn’t even make my top ten…

    September 13th, 2012 1:15 pm

  7. Raffaele

    In an earlier column you wrote that the Raiders were in the process of changing culture. Changing organizational culture is like turning the Queen Mary—it takes a very long time.

    Right now the Raiders are pretty much the same as they have been for years. The team is inept, certain players act dumb, and coaches are ill prepared for the NFL. Maybe the new GM and new head coach will change all that and fashion a new culture. However, that won’t happen for a while.

    Meanwhile, it would sure help if team management recognized that there are dumb players and began cleaning house. Getting rid of players who consistently commit penalties, and/or who do not handle their assignments correctly, would be a good start. A new organizational culture can’t be based on deadwood—those players are not likely to improve, and will always be deadwood.

    September 13th, 2012 1:43 pm

  8. B-Rad

    Truthfully, I don’t remember whether it was 4th down, but if it was, going
    for it would have made Allen look even more desperate than he already
    did by overusing the injury-prone McFadden.

    After 1 game the Raiders are in the middle of the NFL pack in terms
    of penalties, Tommy Kelly notwithstanding. That’s good.
    If this thing continues to go south for the Raiders as I think it will,
    I’ll be interested in seeing how long these players will continue to
    care about penalties.

    September 13th, 2012 2:14 pm

  9. Fritz Q "Pepe" Newman Jr, PhD

    It wasn’t so much that they NEEDED a 2 point conversion (i.e., they weren’t trailing by two points), as it was the no-brainer, correct thing to do after scoring a touchdown to go up by twelve midway through the fourth quarter. Even the drunken fans in the (relatively) cheap seats know that much.

    September 13th, 2012 3:11 pm

  10. Lo Sbandato

    So you’re saying if they got to the Chargers’ one and failed to get any points out of it, that’d be okay, because at least they tried? You don’t think there would be some serious negative repercussions of such a failure? How do you think Allen would really be perceived if he went for the touchdown and bollixed it up?

    As the astute saying goes “A rash act that succeeds is bold, a rash act that fails is just stupid.”

    September 13th, 2012 3:37 pm

  11. Capts

    @Tib Dave
    Who is the special teams coach who had no plan for a backup long snapper?
    Wiz was the backup long snapper, I believe, and he was injured. Who would think the long snapper would get injured? I’d wager most NFL teams don’t have a legitimate backup or they merely say they do.

    Why did Reggie start the season without a Tight End who can catch the ball? The Raiders tight ends are projects or stop gaps. The salary cap dictated Reggie on that one.

    Michael Bush went to Chicago due to cap space. Who replaced him? Taiwan Jones and Goodson. Both have insane speed, but have butter fingers. Again, a cap situation.

    Now that Al’s gone shouldn’t DHB go too? No, but his salary should be restructured. He had a better year than Crabtree, but he’s just a fast possession guy. Not a game changer. That’s Moore and Ford.

    Greg Knapp…Chargers played cover 2 and stacked the line and the best you can do is 40 touches to McFadden and a few dumps to Kagen who hasn’t been around long enough to avoid being stopped by security? Ugh, Knapp drives Raider fans crazy. The pitchforks are at the ready…

    Lowell, I was for the field goal. I saw way too many overzealous moves by Hugh, it was nice seeing a smart decision. What move would Harbaugh have made?

    September 13th, 2012 3:56 pm

  12. Dennis

    I would remind everyone that last year at about this time it was speculated right here on the Cohn Zohn that the Raiders had more talent than the 49ers. What the 49ers had that was over looked was one outstanding coach and an incredible staff. So let’s not make excuses about a lack of talent. They are all professional football players and there is no excuse for the way they embarrassed themselves on national TV. They should at least be able to execute a punt and find someone other than McFadden to give the ball to on occassion. This was pure and simple a case of very bad preparation and I put it all on the coach. To me Dennis Allen is an uncola in a cola world, as much as it pains me to say this because I really like his first name. Touch down vs. field goal doesn’t really matter. The Raiders have much bigger problems than that.

    September 13th, 2012 4:18 pm

  13. chris

    Hue Jackson woulduv gone for a touchdown at the end of the first half. Another reason he shouldn’t of been fired after just one season.

    September 14th, 2012 8:33 am

  14. Stan

    AND.Lowell could have ran with Allan’s “I take responsibility”. The sports cliche that means nothing,but implies something..so how can you go wrong invoking it?

    September 14th, 2012 10:42 am

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