At the end of the 2013 season, rumors surrounding the exodus of young head coach Dennis Allen began to surface. After consecutive 4-12 seasons, it would be a reasonable assumption for any typical franchise that a coaching change is on the horizon. The Oakland Raiders, however, are nobody's template for normalcy or efficiency in the National Football League.
"I would like to think of this as the beginning," said Allen in a press conference following the 2013 campaign. Pretty optimistic considering the organization he's working for. Under Al Davis' rein, a shelf life of two years is more than any coach could expect. Just ask Lane Kiffin. This is a new time, a new era and a new horizon under General Manager Reggie Mckenzie.
Of course, the statistics, as of yet, don't display the change I'm referring to. What is the change you ask? For the first time in franchise history, the Silver and Black have been undergoing what is commonly known as a "rebuilding phase." Never before would the egocentric Managing General Partner Al Davis admit to, or partake in such a concession. Remaining true to the slogan "Just Win Baby," the defiant Davis became dependent on the acquisition of free agent cast-offs to try and sew up leaking rosters. "Just Win Now," became the costly formula.
Sometimes you have to take a few steps back before you can move forward. After three years of cleaning house, the Raiders have finally climbed out of the deep financial crater left behind. Now, with more salary cap room than any other team in the league, the Mckenzie/Allen era has finally reached ground zero.
In all fairness to Coach Allen, this is where his evaluation should rightfully begin. He now has money to spend, and draft slots that haven't been lost to questionable trades by his predecessors. After two years, what Allen may not have the time to do, is groom a young quarterback. This is the N.F.L, which stands for "not for long." The clock is ticking. Yes, Al Davis is gone. Yes, this house is clear. But for Dennis Allen to stave off his inevitable obsolescence, he will have to adopt an old objective: Just win now.