Dennis Allen Goes Through Growing Pains in First Season as Raiders Head Coach


Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen didn’t make a whole lot of noise in his first season with the team. The Raiders finished third in the AFC West with a 4-12 record, and Allen knows that kind of mark won’t cut it. That said, he does seem to see some positives moving forward, and seems to have a grasp on the culture he’s trying to create in Oakland. It’ll be interesting to see the offseason moves made by the team as Allen prepares for his second season. And one of the most intriguing questions heading into 2013 might be how quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who started in Week 17, may fit into the plans.

Dennis Allen joined 95.7 The Game in San Francisco with Bucher and Towny to discuss how he would rate his first season as the Oakland Raiders head coach, what he’s looking for in a new offensive coordinator, the team’s needs personnel-wise, and improving defense, quarterback Terrelle Pryor and the culture of the program in Oakland.

How would you rate how you did in your first year as a head coach?:

“Obviously I still learned a lot of things as the season went on about how to be a head coach in the National Football League. At the end of the day, you’re judged on your wins and your losses, and we weren’t able to get enough wins this year. I’m excited about the future; I’m excited about being the head football coach here. And I’m excited about the opportunity to get started on 2013.”

What are you looking for in a new offensive coordinator?:

“I’m looking for a guy that I feel like can move the football and help us win football games. That’s really what I’m tied to the most, is being able to score points and help this football team win. … Not necessarily a particular scheme of offense. What I will say is I’m looking for a guy that can move the football and a guy that can use our personnel that we have and give them a chance to be successful.”

Personnel-wise, on the field, what’s the biggest need for this team?:

“Obviously I think there are several needs and several things that we need to make sure we get accomplished. I think the biggest thing is we’ve got to develop the guys in the locker room and develop the leadership within this football team. … We’re looking for guys that love football, are willing to work and are going to put the team first. I think those are the qualities and characteristics we’re looking for.”

On the team’s defense improving, especially toward the end of the season:

“I thought it was good to see the way our defense improved. I think they began to get a little bit more confident in themselves. Success breeds success, and, really, I thought it kind of began a little bit in the Denver game. We gave up a lot of yards against Denver, but we were able to tighten up and play pretty good red-zone defense and really kind of hold a team that had really been scoring 30-plus points a game — we held them to 26 and one of those scores came when they got the ball on the 2-yard line. … At the end of the day, players make plays, and our guys made plays down the stretch.”

How does Terrelle Pryor fit into your plans?:

“He’s obviously somebody that we’ve got to take account of and know that he’s a guy that can create things. … His athleticism and his play-making ability was something we really need to take into account moving forward.”

Did he show you something in that final game that you hadn’t maybe seen in practice?:

“His presence on the field was what I thought impressed me the most. The game was not too big for him. He had a very good presence, a good demeanor about himself. … Those are some of the things that you see on gameday that you don’t necessarily see in practice.”

How many guys on the current 53-man roster fit the mold that you’re looking for?:

“I wouldn’t put a percentage on it right now, but what I would say is it’s not quite where we want it to be yet, but we’re moving toward that every day. And I thought our guys began to get a better understanding of exactly what we’re looking for and how we were trying to develop it as the year went on.”

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