What coach will want to take on Raiders’ massive rebuild?
By NATE DAVIS
Turning Oakland into a contender will be no easy task. (Steve Flynn, USA TODAY Sports)
The Oakland Raiders made Dennis Allen walk the plank Monday night.
There’s no defending Allen’s record – 0-4 this season on the heels of two 4-12 campaigns. And Oakland looked horrid Sunday in London, giving up 38 consecutive points to a Miami team not to be confused with the ’72 Dolphins. Even what seemed like a Silver & Black lining – the Raiders were oh-so-close to upsetting the New England Patriots on the road in Week 3 – now seems nothing more than a mirage now that the Pats are officially ghosts of themselves after getting embarrassed Monday night in Kansas City.
Say what you want about Allen, but he didn’t have much of a chance.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, finally armed with tens of millions in salary cap space this offseason, let two of the team’s best home-grown players – left tackle Jared Veldheer and defensive lineman Lamarr Houston, who both play premium positions – walk in free agency and instead opted to invest huge contracts into graybeards like Maurice Jones-Drew, James Jones, Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley, Donald Penn and Antonio Smith.
The results have been disastrous.
Rather than identifying a core group of talent and nourishing (and supplementing) it, the Raiders have a hodge-podge of former Pro Bowlers who aren’t competitive. Not only are they winless, they’ve scored the fewest points in the NFL and gained the fewest yards. The defense? Only marginally better.
Safety Charles Woodson, a member of the last Raiders team to reach the playoffs (or have a winning record) in 2002, summed up this year’s group after it was blown out in its Week 2 home opener by the Houston Texans: “We suck.”
There are some pieces here. Rookie linebacker Khalil Mack should be a future star. Rookie Derek Carr may yet prove to be the best quarterback of the 2014 draft class … provided he’s not running for his life as he was Sunday and suffering knee and ankle injuries. Center Stefen Wisniewski is probably a guy you can build an offensive line around.
But there’s not much else on board.
So let’s not mince words. This team ain’t ready to “Just win, baby.” Little talent, no stability or continuity, and who knows how many other changes are being mulled by Davis, himself still a bit of an unknown quantity as an owner since he took over for his late father, Al, in 2011.
Not exactly the kind of situation that will entice the best and brightest coaching candidates any time soon.