The Raiders introduced head coach Dennis Allen on Monday, with Allen wasting no time in telling people that the talent is in place for the Raiders to win a Super Bowl right away.
Allen, 39, was hired by new general manager Reggie McKenzie last week as the replacement for the fired Hue Jackson.
“I’m going to do everything I can to prove you right and to make you proud,” Allen said right after being introduced by owner Mark Davis.
McKenzie said upon his introductory news conference that he fired Jackson because he wanted to “bring in my guy.” It became apparent early on in the search that Allen was that guy.
“I targeted coach Allen … from the start, “ McKenzie said from the podium he shared with Allen in Alameda.
McKenzie said he became impressed with Allen’s work for the way he switched from the defensive line to the secondary with the New Orleans Saints and transformed the defensive backs in a short period of time.
Last season, Allen was with the Denver Broncos as their defensive coordinator. Under Allen, the Broncos went from the league’s worst defense in 2010 to a much-improved unit.
Denver’s average rank in the four major catetories — points, yards, rushing and passing — was 30th. Under Allen, the Broncos’ composite ranking was 21st.
“What he did in Denver and turned that defense around, it made me take notice,” McKenzie said.
Allen’s pedigree is that of a defensive coach. He played defense at Texas A&M and coached defense in some capacity the past 10 seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Saints and Broncos.
Allen said he is in the process of putting together his staff. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders is under consideration, he said, as are the remaining coaches from Jackson’s staff.
None of the coaches from Jackson’s staff was present at the news conference, whereas numerous ones were there the day McKenzie was introduced to the media.
McKenzie and Allen have spoken with quarterback Carson Palmer, with McKenzie meeting with Palmer face to face.
Both said they are excited about the prospect of Palmer being the starting quarterback next season.
“He’s excited, and we’re excited for him,” McKenzie said.
Jackson traded for Palmer in the middle of last season after a season-ending injury to starter Jason Campbell.
The Raiders gave up a first- and second-round draft pick to the Cincinnati Bengals to acquire Palmer.
McKenzie said every player will be evaluated in the coming days, including the 20 players eligible to become free agents. That list includes Campbell.
Allen said he will be involved in every aspect of the team. However, he intends to let his coordinators handle the play-calling duties.
Numerous times, Allen talked about fielding a team that will be “smart, tough and disciplined.”
Offensively, the Raiders are going to be “up tempo, run the ball (well) and be explosive in the passing game.”
He spent five years with a Saints team that lit up the scoreboard at a ridiculous pace and amassed yards seemingly at will. Allen stopped short of saying his offense will be modeled after the Saints, but Oakland’s offense will be “fast and aggressive.”
Defensively, “We’re going to be an aggressive, attacking style of defense,” Allen said.
Allen ran the 4-3 scheme more times than not with the Broncos. He envisions the Raiders defense being “multiple,” meaning he will endorse a variety of looks depending upon the players on the roster and the situation.
“I don’t think radical changes are what need to be made,” Allen said of a defense that faltered in numerous games last season. “There’s a talented defense (here), and we got enough players, both on offense and defense, that we can win a championship with.”
Second-year cornerback Chimdi Chekwa was the only active player in attendance at the news conference. He said he is impressed by Allen, though they haven’t met yet.
“I’m very fired up,” Chekwa said. “He seems very passionate. I’m just hoping that the passion leads to some victories.”
Chekwa said he, too, was impressed by what he saw from the Broncos defense last season.
“I’m excited about the new staff and opportunity,” Chekwa said. “Also, he’s a defensive guy, so that gets me even more excited. I saw what he did in Denver with their defense, so this is going to be fun.”
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