Raiders fire Allen
AP Sports Writer
ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders fired coach Dennis Allen on Monday night four games into his third season.
The decision was announced soon after the Raiders (0-4) returned from London, where they lost their 10th straight game dating to last season, 34-14 to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The firing was first reported by Fox Sports.
Allen was the first head coach hired by Oakland after the death of longtime owner Al Davis. His 8-28 record is the worst for the franchise since before Davis arrived in 1963. His contract was set to run through next season.
An announcement on the interim coach will come Tuesday, with offensive line coach Tony Sparano and offensive coordinator Greg Olson the most likely options.
Allen is the third coach fired during the season by Oakland since Davis arrived. Mike Shanahan was fired after four games in 1989 and Lane Kiffin was let go four games into the 2008 season.
The Raiders have had 11 straight seasons without a winning record or a playoff berth. Oakland will now have its eighth coach since 2003.
Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie were hired after the team finished 8-8 under coach Hue Jackson in 2011, falling one game short of a playoff bid.
They were expected to steady a franchise that ran into disrepair during Davis’ final years as owner. Instead, the team has only gotten worse.
The two were hamstrung their first two seasons by a lack of premium draft picks and a difficult salary-cap situation due to bad contracts handed out by Davis.
But after spending their first two years tearing down the team, owner Mark Davis expected the Raiders to be much more competitive this season after having ample salary cap room in the offseason and a near full complement of draft picks.
Instead, the Raiders have looked overmatched at times. They fell behind 27-0 after three quarters of their only home game against Houston and trailed by 31 points after three quarters against the Dolphins.
In all, Allen had more losses by at least 20 points (nine) than wins. It was performances like those that Davis said he no longer wanted to see in Allen’s third season and ultimately led to his downfall.
Allen was a former defensive coordinator in Denver who was expected to modernize a defense that ran what were considered outdated schemes under Al Davis’ watch.
The defense, instead, has gotten worse. Allen has overseen two of the three highest-scoring seasons by opponents in franchise history. The Raiders have yielded 27.8 points per game since the start of the 2012 season, allowing opponents to complete 67.6 percent of their passes with a 101.6 passer rating.
With Allen out, the pressure now turns to McKenzie, who has two seasons left on his contract. McKenzie’s first two draft classes have had almost no impact, with the biggest disappointment being 2013 first-round cornerback DJ Hayden, who has struggled with injuries. Hayden was exposed in eight games as a rookie and has not played at all this season because of a foot injury.
This year’s draft class appears to be much stronger, led by first-round linebacker Khalil Mack and second-round quarterback Derek Carr. But whether that will be enough for McKenzie to keep his job remains to be seen.
McKenzie also has botched two offseason trades for quarterbacks, with Matt Flynn in 2013 and Matt Schaub this year failing to win starting jobs after being acquired to start.