Reggie McKenzie might not be in Oakland long enough to have a legacy. At least he won’t if we see more of the brutal football on display in 2012. So it goes without saying that McKenzie’s current “legacy” is largely linked to the success of Dennis Allen.
Not only was Allen the first major hire made by McKenzie but by sticking with his head coach despite some very egregious errors the Oakland GM might be betting his job on his hire.
There is no shortage of quality coaches currently available. With all of the firings and mass shakeup across the NFL it would have been all too easy for McKenzie to opt for a more experienced coach after just one year of Allen. Instead McKenzie has given Allen another opportunity to prove he’s head coaching material.
For the record Allen’s decision to fire many of the coaches he hired only one year previous is pretty clear indication that his job isn’t safe. There were plenty of cries for Allen to scrap the Greg Knapp offense less than a month into the season. As we know those pleas were ignored and the end result was a stubborn insistence that the coaches knew best.
Now the hope is McKenzie knows best. If he doesn’t think a proven commodity like a Lovie Smith or Andy Reid was worth pursuing then Allen had better produce immediate results at the start of the 2013 season.
It’s one thing to stand behind someone because you believe in their cause. It’s quite another problem if you’re supporting them only because you want to be proven right.
By Allen standing so confidently behind Knapp for the entire season despite the results never matching expectations it showed there was more of the latter than the former. Allen wanted nothing more than to prove the zone blocking scheme was the best decision possible. He ignored the facts and the end result was another lost season.
McKenzie can’t be as tied to Allen as Allen was to his offensive coordinator. We all know that adage of the NFL standing for Not For Long when you keep making mistakes that cost your team a chance at victory.
Allen was on scholarship his first season largely because McKenzie was too. Going forward that can’t be the case. Both men must prove to their owner that they can handle the job despite the obstacles. McKenzie is right to stick by Allen as this franchise does need stability. But he can’t want to prove himself right by hiring Allen. If it was the wrong move then McKenzie will look incompetent for staying the course. If it was the right move then the results will justify that.
Either way McKenzie’s future in Oakland is increasingly tied to Allen.