As the Oakland Raiders find themselves at 3-6 thru nine games again, in their second season into their post Al Davis era, some have started to question the jobs of the coaching staff. Reggie McKenzie will get the full 5 years of his contract to get this team turned around. Mark Davis has said so, time and again in every interview he does. I think Dennis Allen and his staff should get another year to show he deserves a stick around, beyond his four year contract that expires after the 2015 season. Why? Well let me tell you.
Injuries and Depth
With the cap situation as it was, this team came into the year with zero depth across the board and couldn’t afford any injuries. I think its worth noting that the Defensive improvement has come with a squad that has not had to deal with many injuries. The offense on the other hand, has been decimated along the line with injuries since camp started. I don’t think it’s an illogical connection to think the offense would be drastically better than they have been if not for those injuries and lack of depth. The offensive line is the only thing holding this team back.
Everyone and their mother knew Gregg Knapp was not the right hire in 2012. For whatever reason ( lack of other prospects, stupidity), Dennis Allen brought him in and it cost him a year of development. Then comes in Greg Olson who is respected within NFL circles as a bright guy, who tailors his playbook to his players. Olson spent the offseason preparing a playbook for Matt Flynn, with a small package for Terrelle Pryor. It appears Olson has not had the time or confidence to increase that package for Terrelel, as many of us have confirmed in our complaints on how predictable the offense seems each game. I want to see what Olson can do developing a whole playbook for Terrelle and spending a whole offseason with him. As Coach Allen stated in his press conference the other day, Terrell is their Quarterback and they are going to see how many games they can win with him. I also expect to see Reggie add some significant pieces on this side of the ball this offseason.
This staff has put on the field the best Raiders defense in last 10 years. Yes, that might not be saying much, when a middle of the pack defense is improvement, but it’s worth noting. They are getting more out of their players than the rest of the league and show be commended for that. This marked improvement, with a staff in their second year, bodes well for their future if they get that chance.
Salary Cap Heaven
No more salary cap hell, so the shelves can be stocked with talent. With an estimated $60M+ of salary cap room next year, the Raiders will be able to bring in a wealth of playmakers and solid depth. This staff has improved the defense despite the restrictions and one would think both sides of the ball can be drastically improved with their new cap freedom. The salary cap was the last built-in excuse and now it’s gone. Lets see what they can do.
Next year, there will be no more restrictions. They draft picks are all there. They sent a 5th round pick to Seattle for Matt Flynn and are due a conditional draft pick from AZ for Carson Palmer. My guess is that pick is at least a 5th rounder. The salary cap is clean and has tons of space. I think Dennis Allen and his staff have done enough to warrant an opportunity to work next year with this new-found wealth. Regardless of how the rest of this season plays out.