Here is a link to my Tuesday column suggesting various times Mark Davis could fire Dennis Allen. The full text runs below:
When should Raiders’ owner Mark Davis fire coach Dennis Allen?
This is strictly a procedural issue. Davis could fire Allen today, but that might lead to logistical problems.
The Raiders fly to New England on Friday to lose to the Patriots on Sunday. It would be difficult to get a new head coach up and running by Sunday, especially when you combine installing the new coach with a cross-country flight to the Patriots game — arranging for the plane, transport from the airport to the hotel, the hotel itself, meals.
I definitely am against firing Allen today based on sheer inconvenience.
Davis could fire Allen at the end of this season. It is a time-honored strategy, one favored by his dad. I vote against waiting that long, although I don’t have a vote. If Davis waits until season’s end, he will look weak and indecisive and, by then, the team will be so entirely irrelevant the players will have checked out mentally and will give only a half-hearted effort on the field. Not that their full-hearted effort counts for anything.
I suggest Mark fire Allen after Game 4. I offer this advice in a helpful spirit. Because I myself am an organized person, I encourage organization in others.
The Raiders play Game 4 Sept. 28 in London against the Miami Dolphins. They almost surely will lose that game when you consider losing is what the Raiders do. By then, their record could be 0-4 and their season would be over. Well, it’s over already. Having their season end early is what the Raiders do.
A nonstop flight from London to the Bay Area lasts 10 hours, give or take. An organized man, a man on the make — I’m assuming Mark qualifies on both counts — can accomplish a great deal in 10 hours.
He could read through the game stat sheet and make relevant notes in the margin, he could clean his ears, he could clip his nails, he could balance his checkbook. And then he could fire the coach.
He could fire the coach over Labrador.
Mark could fire the coach knowing the Raiders have a bye week coming up. It makes so much sense to use this approach. A bye week is enough time to tie up all those little annoying details. Mark could appoint an interim coach, probably Tony Sparano who’s already on the staff and has housing and a car in the East Bay and maybe even friends. That would cause minimal stress for the new guy, as opposed to bringing in someone from another part of the country who would be subject to the disorientation of moving and might get lonely for family and friends and his pet schnauzer.
I’m trying to be helpful.
I imagine Mark gesturing Allen to the rear of the private jet. Allen has that pen perennially perched on his right ear. They sit alone. Mark thanks Allen for all his hard work and loyalty, and says, as so many owners before him have said, “I’ve decided to go in a different direction.”
Mark clearly is not talking about the plane’s direction, which is due west.
“Why?” Allen asks. He never saw this coming.
“Well, your win-loss record is unspeakable,” Mark says.
“Wins aren’t everything,” Allen says.
This is not what Mark wants to hear. An edge enters his voice. You can hear a bit of Al in Mark’s tone. Mark says Allen has made no progress, although this is his third season.
Allen grows indignant. He says he has a brilliant scheme.
Mark says, “Forget scheme, you’re a defensive coach and you can’t even get your players to tackle. Tackling is about desire. It’s about effort and will and passion and heart. It’s about players wanting to play for a coach. When a coach loses the locker room, the team misses tackles.
That’s what Mark says.
Allen is surprised Mark knows so much football. Allen sits there silently. Mark keeps on going.
Mark says it’s never good when a respected veteran says the team sucks.
Mark is talking about Charles Woodson who, after the Raiders got humiliated by Houston, told the media, “We suck.”
The we-suck judgment coming from Woodson is an indictment of the coach. Mark explains that.
Allen says, wait a minute, buster — he’s developing a rookie quarterback, Derek Carr.
Mark frowns. He says he paid good money for veteran Matt Schaub. He says Matt Schaub could have lost two games just as easily as Carr. So, what’s the big deal about Carr? He says Schaub might even have won a game. He says Allen promoted Carr simply to buy himself time. It’s an old coaching axiom — “You don’t want to change offensive systems with a young quarterback.” That ploy is as old as history.
Allen’s face gets red. He knows Mark is onto something.
“So, I’m firing you,” Mark tells Allen bluntly. “I’m firing you for that pen on your ear. That would be enough all by itself.”
Allen gets up, walks unsteadily to his seat in the front of the plane and stares out the window.
Final note: I’m taking this opportunity to apologize to England. You’ve given us so much: the English language. Shakespeare. Chaucer. Dickens. Magna Carta. The royal family — they’re so entertaining. I could go on.
And what are we giving you, England?
Hardly seems fair.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@press democrat.com.