The Raiders have gotten into a habit of not making the playoffs and then hiring head coaches the past nine years.
For all the talk of discipline, intensity and aggressiveness Monday, you would think that new head coach Dennis Allen will be slapping players on the wrist with a ruler.
He won't do that, but he will be stern. "Discipline" was the key word, said almost a dozen times, at Monday's news conference to introduce the team's seventh head coach since 2003. That's what Allen is bringing to his new job after a season in which the Raiders set NFL records in penalties (163) and penalty yards (1,358).
"The only way that you create habits is through consistency, doing the same things over and over and over," Allen said. "Well, if you're committing penalties, that becomes a habit. We've got to change those habits, all right?"
Allen said he and his staff will "preach" every day in practice.
"We will play with discipline. ... We are going to preach fundamentals and discipline and the players are going to fall right in line," said Allen, who added that Oakland has "enough talent to compete for a championship."
General manager Reggie McKenzie hired Allen, 39, last week to replace Hue Jackson, who was fired after going 8-8 in his only season as head coach. McKenzie said he was targeting the Broncos' defensive coordinator from the start of his search and was extremely impressed by the initial interview Jan. 18 and the second one a week later.
"He was what the doctor ordered," McKenzie said. "I had to get me a football guy. (I liked) his total understanding of football, his vision. He understood the big picture, not just defense.
"He understood the big picture as far as putting a plan together, how to do this, this and this. ... We went over everything. And how you treat people, how you treat players, getting a staff together. It was all right in line (with) the way I was thinking."
McKenzie added that Allen's "intensity and drive was just icing on the cake."
McKenzie was asked why he gave Allen a four-year contract, considering the last handful of Oakland head coaches got only two-year deals from late owner Al Davis. Though McKenzie wouldn't answer the question on the podium, he later did say that, although he and Allen will be judged on wins and losses, they are "building something here" and to tell the new head coach that he would be judged on immediate results would not be fair.
McKenzie said it will be "a team effort," with Allen having some input on personnel decisions, and it likewise will be a collective coaching effort on the field.
Allen said he will be not be calling defensive plays as he did as Denver's defensive coordinator, but he will be involved on both offense and defense, and will be a game manager.
"I don't believe the head football coach can do an effective job as the head football coach if he's calling plays, offensively or defensively," said Allen, who is in the process of interviewing assistant coaches.
Although last season's offensive coordinator, Al Saunders, remains under contract, foxsports.com reported that Allen has offered Houston quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp the offensive-coordinator position.
Knapp held the position with the Raiders in 2007 and '08. He also was a coordinator with the 49ers (2001-03), Atlanta (2004-06) - where he worked with Allen - and Seattle (2010).
Last season, Jackson called the offensive plays. When the defense really faltered as the Raiders lost four of their last five games, Jackson pointed the finger at defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan.
Allen's "aggressive, attacking" defense will be more multiple in looks than a basic 4-3, with a lot of blitzes. He said that the defensive line is Oakland's strength and that the secondary needs some help.
"There is playoff-level talent, but we have some critical pieces to add and some holes to fill," Allen said.
Although Allen is pumped about putting his stamp on the Raiders, he acknowledged that this is his first head-coaching job on any level and that he doesn't know it all. Which is why it's great that Oakland essentially just hired Saints head coach Sean Payton, Broncos head coach John Fox and longtime NFL head coach Dan Reeves as advisers.
"I've got great resources that I can count on to give me advice anytime I need it," Allen said. "I've got Sean Payton, who is one of the ... really a brilliant, innovative offensive coach but also an outstanding head coach. He understands exactly how to run a program and how to work with players.
"I just spent a year with John Fox, who's really done a great job throughout his career with Carolina and then in Denver. Dan Reeves brought me into this league and gave me my first opportunity to coach in the NFL.
"I've got some great resources that I can rely on and lean on in times when I hit a situation when I need some help."
E-mail Vittorio Tafur at [email protected]
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.c ... 1N0G6J.DTL