It’s February and per recent tradition that new coach smell is wafting through the East Bay. Dennis Allen’s arrival might be more celebrated if it wasn’t the third new head coach in as many years or if he was someone the football world was more familiar with. With the newness of this coach comes plenty of questions about his qualifications.
But that is natural for any head coach that doesn’t have a decade of NFL experience under his belt. Both Hue Jackson and Tom Cable were first time NFL head coaches so the experience factor is nothing new in Oakland. In fact, that has generally been the M.O. for Al Davis during his tenure. From John Madden to Jon Gruden, Davis loved to find the new talent and give them their chance at stardom.
However the difference with Allen is that he’s building a staff that doesn’t have a lot of experience as well.
Cable was surrounded by NFL coaching vets. Same went for Jackson. Both of them were the most successful coaches the Raiders have seen since Gruden. Now that’s not saying much. It’s a little like arguing for the prettiest pass Tim Tebow has ever thrown. None the less the experience factor has got to be considered as it relates to Allen.
While Steve Wisniewski, Kelly Skipper and most importantly Al Saunders are around to provide continuity, the rest of the group is largely new to the franchise and the talent they’ll be coaching. Also, a few of them are new to the NFL all together.
Jason Tarver isn’t new to the NFL but he arrives from Stanford with just one season as a co-defensive coordinator under his belt. To be sure Tarver might have the most important job of all. If Greg Knapp can stay down and not try to get too cute, Oakland’s offense should remain among the NFL’s most productive. About all Oakland needed last year was a defensive stop here and there to get into the playoffs. Tarver has got his work cutout for him.
Meanwhile Knapp at least has Saunders hovering over his shoulder to help him guide the offense. Tarver’s staff isn’t filled with men familiar to the NFL. At least not yet. The Raiders have made official announcements on certain hires but not all of the ones that have been reported. Also, not all of the official job titles have been made clear. For example, Johnny Lynn was reported to be hired as a secondary coach. One outlet claims he’s coaching the DBs while another says he is only an assistant. Lynn has the experience of working with NFL DBs but his last stop ended badly in Philly.
Are the Raiders still figuring out the staff or is Allen having trouble attracting competent NFL coaches?
That is a question we’ll likely not have an answer to anytime soon.
The real question is which way is the franchise headed? If Reggie McKenzie is going to continue the house cleaning then the Raiders are likely going to rebuild. In that instance the experience or lack thereof the coaching staff means little. If this team is trying to improve on recent success then the staff’s learning process could delay the potential progress.
Topics: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured, Al Saunders, Dennis Allen, Greg Knapp, Hue Jackson, Jason Tarver, John Madden, Johnny Lynn, Jon Gruden, Kelly Skipper, Reggie McKenzie, Steve Wisniewski, Tim Tebow, Tom Cable