Dec 6, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders former coach John Madden poses with his Hall of Fame bust during halftime of the game against the Denver Broncos at the Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

John Madden Stands Up For Dennis Allen

As one of the greatest coaches in the history of the Oakland Raiders franchise – indeed the entire game of football as well – John Madden has more than earned the right to give his opinion on the state of Oakland’s current coaching staff. In fact his opinion should be and has been sought after by the Raiders when it comes to many questions concern the direction of the franchise.

So it’s not to be taken lightly that Madden has given Dennis Allen his endorsement going as far as saying the first year head coach was “playing without a full deck”.

Vic Tafur of the Chronicle had the great pleasure of spending some time with Madden at the ultimate man cave known to mankind and lifted some very telling quotes of the Raider coaching legend’s views on Allen.

“He’s got a ways to go. He was playing the game without a full deck. To be honest, they don’t have enough players. The cupboard was pretty bare. It would have been tough to do much more than what they did.

“If he’s going to do well, they gotta get a lot more … some teams need a quarterback or a running back, or a pass rusher … The Raiders need a whole barrel of guys.”

No arguing how thin the Raiders roster was this season. After all of the tough roster moves were made to get the team within cap compliance the squad had about the depth of an inflatable pool. That depth was tested in the first week of the season and snowballed as the weeks flew by.

However Madden does point out something that perhaps can be interpreted as critique of Allen as a coach when he said “He’s got a ways to go”. Not having the talent is one thing. However the Raiders routinely looked unprepared on Sundays including an embarrassing long snapper debacle that derailed the season opener. How that can happen coming out of training camp is inexcusable. In addition Allen’s decision to completely scrap a successful offense for one that produced next to nothing will be the main talking point of his first season.

But the players seem to respect Allen and this team did show some sign of life late in the season. It goes without saying 2013 is critical for the coaching staff and indeed the franchise. That said another listless season cannot be allowed simply because the “cupboard is bare”. This is big boy football and excuses aren’t allowed only results.

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