There is no secret that Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen is now firmly on the hot seat as the Silver and Black stumble to the end of the season facing all AFC West opponents on the way to what is looking like a 4-12 record for the second straight season under Dennis Allen.
A 56-31 blowout loss to the Raiders rivals in the Kansas City Chiefs at the Oakland Coliseum, the most points the franchise has allowed in front of the Black Hole in team history, now has Dennis Allen more under the microscope than ever after two straight embarrassing losses (first to the lowly Jets on the road in Week 14) means that the second year head coach will have to find an upset to show signs of improvement over last year’s 4-12 team.
While the Raiders had been competitive, injuries have mounted and now the Raiders stats under Allen in Year Two look a lot more similar to his 2012 numbers. Allen still has yet to win on the East Coast and has just won back to back games once dating back to last season. With the numbers piling against Allen, fans have opted to forget about the lack of talent and considerable amount of injuries on the Raiders roster and have the head coach firmly on the hot seat as the season nears a close.
One of the most pressing questions on Sunday during Allen’s press conference was the Raiders decision to use Terrelle Pryor even after Matt McGloin engineered an early third quarter drive to put the Raiders within two scores of the Chiefs. McGloin eventually came in on the drive to throw a touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera to put the Raiders within four points. Even though McGloin struggled throughout the game in one of his worst games as a Raider, the decision to put Pryor in well after the Raider fans call for the backup were answered by McGloin in the form of a comeback was asked to Allen who mentioned the Raiders had planned to use Pryor to change the pace at some juncture of the game as well as mentioning that despite turnovers the offense got explosive plays against the Chiefs defense.
“Pryor was in and he ran a few plays and then we went back to McGloin and if I’m not mistaken, I think we scored again on that drive, if I’m not mistaken. I’d have to go back and look at the tape and make sure, but listen, that’s part of the plan. Obviously, we’ve got two guys that we want to be able to utilize and we’ve got to find ways to get explosive plays. And we were able to get explosive plays today. We got a lot of balls down the field. We had a lot of explosive passes as well as explosive penalties. We just weren’t consistent enough and can’t turn the ball over like we did. We have to do a better job of our red zone defense of making them have to kick field goals.”
“We had a plan going into the game that we wanted to use Terrelle [Pryor] in the football game. Matt McGloin was going to be our starter. He was going to be the guy that we were going to use at quarterback, but we wanted to use Terrelle as a change of pace. I thought it was effective there in the 3rd quarter when we were able to get Terrelle in there. I thought that helped us and then obviously we put Terrelle in there at the end of the game to be able to get some more evaluation on him. We want to be able to use both those guys because both those guys can be assets for us. We want to be able to utilize both of them.”
Allen was also grilled about the Raiders recent inability to defend the screen pass, something that was exposed more than a few times by Chiefs head coach Andy Reid who is a famous lover of the screen pass dating back to his Eagles days. Jamaal Charles racked up four receiving touchdowns on screen passes, Allen pointed out that the errors were not a matter of the gameplan but of execution.
“Yeah, it was something that…it wasn’t anything where we didn’t think they were going to run any screens. We were anticipating screens; we just didn’t play them as well as we needed to play them.”
Still regardless of talent and execution it is quite clear that the Raiders need a win to change the narrative for Allen heading into the offseason, with a pile of injuries and morale at an all time low following the blowout loss. Allen is still contending that the team will be focused and will have to work through being on a losing streak to turn it around to face the Chargers on the road with a chance to spoil their season.
“Listen, those are always difficult situations. But, hopefully those guys can learn from those mistakes. It’s tough when you’re going through a learning process because as the losses mount up, it gets frustrating. It gets frustrating for everybody. We’ve got a job to do. We have to go out there and try to win football games and we’ll get ready to play San Diego next week.”
A win in the last two games, or at the very least a competitive effort, would likely save Dennis Allen’s job. It is highly likely the coach returns in 2014 based on his relationship with Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders visions of a rebuild being set for a playoff push for next season or 2015, but with growing animosity to the coach from the fans and those in the media talking about Allen being on the hot seat things are getting a lot more dicey for the promising young head coach.