It was widely speculated that Reggie McKenzie would hire one of his former colleagues in Green Bay to be his first head coach in Oakland. McKenzie surprised many when he named Dennis Allen as Hue Jackson’s replacement.
Allen wants to let Raiders Nation know that there is plenty of talent on this football team, and that he will strive to have a more disciplined group. The former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator, who has never been a head coach at any level of football, sounds confident with Carson Palmer as his leader at the quarterback position. The Oakland Raiders believe there is a lot of reason for optimism, and with only 8 wins needed to win the AFC West last year, the hope seems perfectly justifiable. Dennis Allen joined 95.7 The Game in San Francisco with The Drive to discuss his reaction last season when the Raiders acquired Carson Palmer, believing Carson Palmer still has a lot of good football left in him, his excitement for undertaking his first head coaching job, reducing the amount of penalties committed by the Raiders, and his message to members of Raiders Nation who don’t know what to make of the hire.
What was your reaction when the Raiders acquired Carson Palmer last year?
“I really thought it was one of those moves where they had an opportunity at the time to get a really solid player, a really good player at the quarterback position. I think Carson Palmer is a really good player, a really good person and I’m really excited about the opportunity to work with him.”
Do you think there is still a lot of big football in the right arm of Carson Palmer?
“Oh I really do. I think really when you look at it, it was a tough situation coming in the middle of the year and even though he was accustomed to some of the offensive terminology, really to come in the middle of the year and try to pick that offense up, really run it from scratch was something that was a tough situation. I know I talked to Carson Palmer the other day. I know he is looking forward to a full off-season and really getting a chance to get into the playbook and understand what we are going to do on offense.”
First head coaching job. What are you excited about?
“I am excited about the whole thing. I’m excited about the opportunity we have here. I’m excited about being in the Raiders organization and such a rich tradition we have here within the organization. I’m excited about the fact that it’s really kind of a new beginning here with the Raiders with a first time GM, the first time the organization ever had a GM run the football operations, so I think any time you get an opportunity to start on the ground floor or something it really provides something special and I’ve had that opportunity a couple of times and it’s really been a lot of fun to see it grow.”
How are you going to get rid of penalties here?
“I think really coming back to it at the end of the day it comes back to consistency, consistency of performance, consistency in the message, consistency in the things you are going to do every day in practice, how you preach it in the meetings and those are the things that we plan on doing. As situations arise you gotta address certain situations different ways, but I really think at the end of the day I believe this: I believe if you have passion about your message and passion about the things you are trying to accomplish and you believe in it, your players are going to see it and your players are going to believe in it too. That’s really what I am all about. I am all about believing passionately in coaching the game of football and I believe passionately about being a disciplined football team and we are going to preach that day in and day out.”
You got the floor right now. What is your message to Raiders Nation?
“I want them to understand that we are firmly committed to putting a product out on the field, to putting a team out on the field that is going to play the game with passion and that is going to play the game with energy, that is going to play the game the right way and our deal is we want to put a team out there that they are going to be very proud of obviously both on and off the field.”