Hue Jackson wanted to build a bully. His one year in Oakland resulted in an NFL record in penalties. Dennis Allen wants to build a tough and disciplined football team. Time will tell which approach will yield better results. For now Allen is instituting a new method of team discipline in hopes of avoiding the mistakes made by Jackson.
Only one official practice into the Allen era and the Raiders are looking like more than a different team. They’re becoming a totally different franchise.
From top to bottom Reggie McKenzie has sought to redefine the Oakland Raiders. Not that he’s out to destroy what Al Davis has built. Quite the opposite in fact as McKenzie is trying to improve on a foundation that has been laid over the course of five decades.
Of course McKenzie’s job is to give Allen the tools to work with. From there it’s on Allen and his staff to get the desired results from the roster.
In order for the Raiders to end a decade-long absence from the postseason the Silver and Black have got to stop being their own worst enemies. That’s where Allen’s new approach comes into play.
Aside from using instructional videos to illustrate the effects penalties have on the outcome of a game Allen is also instituting a culture of accountability that stretches beyond the field. Tyvon Branch explains the new doctrine of discipline Allen is installing.
“I mean, they’re real strict on discipline now as far as showing up to meetings (on time), they’re even making us check in for lunches and dinners now. We know that our discipline is what got us in trouble in the past. That stuff trickles down on the field, and we need to cut down on the penalties if we want to be the team we want to be.”
Allen’s desire to fix problems that have plagued this franchise for years is commendable. But let’s be honest. We’ve heard this all before. The question has got to be asked. What’s going to be any different this time around?
We won’t know if Allen’s tactics attain the desired results until this team takes the field. However given Mark Davis’ desire to be hands-off and McKenzie’s trust in Allen at least we know exactly who to either praise or blame depending on how things go. This will be on Allen as it should be. That’s what being a head coach is all about. During the last 10 years when Al Davis was in charge you never really knew just where to assign blame. About the only thing you could count on was another coach coming in making the same promises only to see the same results.