Here is a link to my Tuesday column about Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie. The full text appears below:
Let’s pretend you and I are Mark Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders. Well, if we’re pretending to be Mark, we’d get a new hairdo ASAP. But we’re not talking that kind of pretending.
We’re pretending to be Mark Davis, football visionary.
As Pretend Marks we ask ourselves a two-part question: When this lousy season ends, do I (Mark) retain the services of head coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie?
They are separate and distinctly different questions, and you and I as Mark must entertain them one at a time.
The Dennis Allen Case: On the positive side. Well, you and I as Mark are drawing a blank here. Let us think this over. Hmm. Allen’s players have not quit like dogs.
No knock on dogs. You and I as Mark love dogs. The Raiders players play hard — not well — the entire game. Allen gets credit for work ethic, or whatever you want to call it.
Does Allen get credit for anything else?
Nothing you and I as Mark can put a finger on.
Well, what’s the case against Allen?
You got lots of paper?
His team has lost four in a row. On Sunday, the Raiders got blown out by the Chiefs, blown out at home, blown out because they couldn’t stop a simple screen pass. Watching the game must have been excruciating for you and me — as Mark.
What Mark wanted to see — we’re taking the liberty of speaking for Mark here — was progress at this point of the season. Just a wee bit of progress. Instead, things are getting worse, are going down the dumper, as they say. Dumperville, here we come.
As Mark, we notice Allen is a defensive coach — a so-called defensive specialist. Allen’s defensive coordinator is Jason Tarver, but Allen surely has mondo input into the defensive game plan. What happened on Sunday does not reflect well on Allen’s ability on his side of the ball. No, it doesn’t.
As Mark, we notice something else. Allen has no quarterback. He had three. Matt Flynn he dumped and now Flynn is going bonkers with the Packers — he beat the Cowboys on Sunday. This does not reflect well on Allen and his coaching staff. About the other two, Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor, we as Mark say, “Please.”
We as Mark wonder if the Raiders need an offensive coach as head coach.
We as Mark must ponder firing Allen after this season, especially if the Raiders get blown out the final three games, all with division opponents. One blowout already is in the books. Next up are the Chargers and Broncos. Good luck, Dennis.
What is bad about three blowout losses to division opponents at the end of the season?
A head coach cannot endure three humiliating losses in the division at the end of the season and realistically offer optimism for next season with the same coaching staff. Why? Because there was no significant improvement when you were supposed to be improving, especially the second time you played these teams.
FYI, the first time the Raiders played the Chiefs — in Kansas City in October — they lost 24-7. Things definitely got worse.
You and I as Mark notice the lack of progress. You and I as Mark will monitor the Chargers’ and Broncos’ games. You and I as Mark aren’t expecting much.
More arguments against keeping Allen: Finding players who want to play in Oakland for Allen and his staff will be tough.
It will be difficult to sell season-ticket packages and to lease luxury suites with the same old faces on the coaching staff, guys who didn’t come close to getting it done.
The Raiders must do something to inject into the fan base enthusiasm and hope for 2014.
Why would fans want to dole out money for the same old thing?
As you can see, the case against Allen is huge.
The Reggie McKenzie Case: The saving grace for McKenzie involves escape. After this season, he will escape from salary-cap hell and all of that dead money he inherited. Through no fault of his own, he could not develop a proper roster. Soon, he will have a full allotment of dough to spend on free agents.
You can bet McKenzie and his staff already have earmarked free agents they want to offer contracts.
McKenzie was given a bad deal and dealt with it more or less. But he did hire Allen. That’s on him. And it makes you and I as Mark wonder about his football judgment.
He got Flynn the quarterback and then didn’t want Flynn the quarterback. But the Flynn flop may be on Allen.
The case against McKenzie is more ambiguous than the case against Allen. McKenzie probably deserves another chance.
So, you and I as Mark have plenty to think about as the games dwindle to a precious few. The whole mess could give you and me as Mark a headache.
On the other hand, you and I, happily, are not Mark. I don’t know about you, but I intend to have a very nice day.
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