By Steve Corkran
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 at 5:53 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders have reached agreement with Dennis Allen to be their head coach, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer.
Allen and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie met for a second time in Mobile, Ala., on Tuesday and hammered out the details of a contract that will make Allen the franchise’s 18th coach — Art Shell had two stints.
The Raiders have not commented on Glazer’s report, which later was reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. A news conference introducing Allen likely will take place in Alameda before week’s end. McKenzie still is in Alabama for the lead up to the Senior Bowl.
Allen, 39, was the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator last season. Under his guidance, the Broncos defense improved from 29th in average yards allowed to 20th and from 32nd in points to 24th.
He also interviewed for the St. Louis Rams coaching vacancy, which ultimately went to Jeff Fisher. Allen also has coached the secondary and defensive line during his 10-year NFL coaching career. He has spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Broncos.
McKenzie said the day he was introduced as the Raiders general manager that he fired Hue Jackson, in part, because he wanted “my guy.” In the end, McKenzie hired a guy in Allen in which he has no previous ties.
Allen is well regarded in NFL coaching circles as bright, energetic, hard-working and driven to succeed. He inherits a Raiders team that went 8-8 the past two seasons but has no winning seasons since 2002, when they advanced to the Super Bowl.
Late Raiders managing general partner Al Davis favored offensive-minded coaches. John Madden in 1969 was the last coach hired by the Raiders with an offensive-based background.
Allen will have sole authority to hire the coaches on his staff. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders has a strong shot at sticking around so that Allen can go about the process of improving the Raiders without having to worry too much about that side of the ball.
It’s defense where the Raiders need the most work, and that happens to be Allen’s specialty. The Raiders allowed 31 touchdowns passes last season, 5.1 yards per carry and the third-most points in franchise history (431).
Allen employed a 4-3 defensive scheme with the Broncos last season. McKenzie said he favors whichever scheme works best.
For now, the Raiders personnel is best suited to running the 4-3. We’ll wait until speaking with Allen to see what his intentions are along those lines.
Here’s how Allen described what he expected from the Broncos defense before last season, in an interview with the Broncos website: “We’re going to be built off speed and athleticism. We want to be a very fast, violent, aggressive type of defense.”
McKenzie fired Jackson on Jan. 10 and immediately set about identifying the best person to help the Raiders emerge from their nine-year funk.
He also interviewed Todd Bowles (Dolphins), Marty Mornhinweg (Eagles), Pete Carmichael Jr. (Saints) and Winston Moss Packers). Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice and Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers also surfaced as potential candidates, though none interviewed.
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