Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 6/16/12

This season the Oakland Raiders will start a new regime. After the passing of longtime owner Al Davis, the franchise shifted its operations to first time general manager Reggie McKenzie, who was formerly the director of pro personnel for the Green Bay Packers. His first order of business was to fire Hue Jackson and hire first time head coach Dennis Allen. As the Raiders move in a new direction, the pair will have to succeed together.

McKenzie comes to the Raiders, where he played linebacker, as a defensive minded general manager. He brought in Allen, who was an up and coming defensive coordinator in Denver, to change the franchise direction. The hires should improve the poor Oakland defense from a year ago, where they ranked 27th in the NFL in both passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed. As the Raiders finish their first offseason workouts under Allen, McKenzie is impressed with the first year head coach.

“I think he’s, from the standpoint of big picture, he gets it,” McKenzie said after the final mandatory mini-camp. “He’s always a step ahead, which is good. I like the way that the players are responding, and his assistant coaches. He’s all over that defense, which I like. So that’s good. He’s talking to the offense too, he’s just not all defense. But he’s acting like a real head coach. Can’t tell he hadn’t been a head coach before.”

Allen will start the 2012 season as the youngest head coach in the NFL. Despite his youth he had success rebuilding the Broncos defense last season and has a Super Bowl pedigree when he coached the Saints defensive backs in their 2010 championship season. He will be tasked with improving the Raiders 29th ranked defense in 2011. Oakland gave up over 387 yards per game and allowed opponents to convert on 42% of third downs. Another concerning stat that needs to be cleaned up is the Raiders committed 120 penalties last season. Despite the challenges, Allen is learning first–hand what it takes to be an NFL head coach.

“You’re never prepared for everything,” Allen said after the Raiders offseason workouts concluded. “There’s always something that comes up that you’ve got to be ready for. I think the biggest thing is, as a head football coach, you’ve really got to be able to think on your feet. You’ve got to be able to react and respond to situations that arise and make decisions and then don’t look back. So I think that’s the biggest thing from my standpoint, is I’ve learned that you’ve got to think on your feet and you’ve got to make decisions and then don’t second guess yourself. Just keep on going.”

As both McKenzie and Allen learn their jobs together, the Raiders can be optimistic about the future. It is a fresh start in Oakland beginning with the 2012 season. The immediate success of the franchise begins with McKenzie and Allen as they start the new era of Oakland Raiders football.

 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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