There has been a lot of talk over the last couple of weeks that Dennis Allen and Reggie McKenzie are to blame for the Oakland Raiders abysmal play over the last two seasons. However, we must not forget that this team is still in disarray because of the salary cap hell that Al Davis put the franchise in. Mark Davis and company brought in Reggie McKenzie because they knew he would be able to cut all the bad contracts without hesitation. McKenzie’s first move was to replace the brash Hue Jackson with Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. There is no question that the Raiders have regressed under Allen, but that is because he has had to coach a team that has been put together with Band-Aids. We are all tired of losing but we are still living under the mistakes of Al Davis.
Give Dennis Allen Credit for coaching a team that is paying over 40% of its salary to players that are not even on the team. Al Davis duds: Richard Seymour ($13.714 million), Carson Palmer (Hue Jackson to blame for the $9.34 million), Rolando McClain ($7.26 million),Tommy Kelly ($6.324 million), Darrius Heyward-Bey ($5.26 million) and Michael Huff ($3,288,750) are all getting paid like starters on this seasons salary cap. I hate to say it but you can add Darren McFadden’s $9,685,084 million dollars to that list of dead money this season also.
The Raiders were forced to start undrafted free agents at all their skill positions against the New York Jets on Sunday. Unfortunately, it looks like the Raiders still don’t have a real identity on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Rashad Jennings looks like he could be a decent option at running back but he has dealt with injuries throughout his career, which makes him an unreliable starter going forward. Sixth round pick Latavius Murray looks like he could be a steal but he barely saw the field during training camp and preseason. The only real running back option the Raiders have on their team going forward is Marcel Reece but he is best suited as a fullback.
Over the last few seasons, the Raiders have always seemed to find young explosive wide receivers. With a capable quarterback, I think Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, Denarius Moore, and Mychal Rivera can all be explosive playmakers in the future. However, no one on the Raiders roster is capable of being a true number one receiving option. The Raiders lack of offensive fire powers boils down to the fact that they have an atrocious offensive line and no real quarterback option. Both Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor have shown flashes of being capable NFL quarterbacks but they are both too raw to be winners right now.
The Raider Nation should be sick of watching a subpar product over the last eleven years. But we must realize that we are still healing from an Al Davis induced hangover that started when he traded Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The next three games will only be good for evaluating the players that deserve a roster spot next season. The Raiders will finally have the chance to bring in good players through the draft and free agency this off-season. While I am not completely sold on McKenzie’s drafting ability because of his two seasons of draft picks, we should see what he can do with 60 million dollars and all of his top draft picks during the off-season.
There is no coach in the history of the NFL that would have turned this Raiders roster into a winning team. If Dennis Allen fails to lead the Raiders back to respectability with a revamped roster next season, I will be the first one to tell you that the Raiders need to find someone else. But we must let Allen get a chance to coach an NFL team that has a real chance of competing in the AFC West. It’s understandable that the Raider Nation is pointing fingers at Allen and McKenzie but we must realize that we are still haunted by the final years of Al Davis.