Dennis Allen barely escaped the 2013 NFL season with his first head coaching job intact as after a promising start, injuries decimated an already weak roster leading to a lengthy losing streak to end the year that had Raiders fans and the media (along with owner Mark Davis) openly questioning Allen’s job security.
Ultimately Allen was retained as head coach for another year on his four year contract, keeping the rebuilding plan the team set forth on intact while bringing in significantly more talent than Allen has had to work with over his two seasons at the helm in Oakland. With veterans Justin Tuck, James Jones, and LaMarr Woodley amongst others joining the Raiders roster in addition to a highly lauded draft class, Allen went on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Gil Brandt and Howard Davis feeling confident in the progress his team has made since the season concluded in December.
“We’re making a lot of progress,” Allen told hosts Brandt and Davis while adding that their goal is to restore the proud legacy of a Raiders franchise that has been under down times for now over a decade. “We’ve got things going in the right direction. Everything we’ve done is offseason is about getting the Raiders back to where they need to be, back to the glory days of this team. We still have that same commitment to excellence. We’re looking forward to this season and getting an opportunity to show what we can do.”
As for when that turning around of the franchise will be, Allen feels that now is as good of a time as any for Oakland to have a breakout season to bring positivity back to the Raider Nation.
“It’s time,” Allen said. “We need to get this team back to where it needs to be. We need to be a team of relevance, not only in in the AFC West but in the NFL as a whole. I think we’ve made a lot of steps toward getting that done this year.”
“Our job is to win,” Allen said. “I feel like we’re building the right type of team. We’re excited about the opportunity. We’re going to play wherever they tell us to. We’re going to line up and give it everything we’ve got, and I feel like we have a good chance to win.”
With a difficult season ahead, Allen’s mission to bring the Raiders back to relevance is a tough one based on the fact that Oakland will have the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2014 playing six games against the three AFC West teams that made the playoffs in 2013 as well as four games against the NFC West which is considered to be the toughest division in football. The difficult schedule will give Allen plenty of chances for signature wins over the likes of the Broncos, Niners, and Seahawks however which are all measuring stick matchups that the Raiders surely are looking forward to. If Allen along with the Raiders coaching staff and players can bring the Raiders back into relevance this season it would be even more special given the degree of difficulty they are facing. For now, Allen is focused on the clear progress they have made this offseason. Only time will tell if that progress in roster building translates to wins, but based on Allen’s comments the Raiders head coach is positive that a better roster will translate into a drastically better 2014.