By Jerry McDonald
Owner Mark Davis isn’t the only person who has a problem with the way the Raiders have played over the past three weeks.
“Hey, I’m right there with him,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Monday at his weekly press conference. “I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed. You wake up in the morning and your gut hurts.
“At the same time, when a man gets knocked down he gets up and fights. And that’s exactly what we intend to do. I understand his frustration; I can appreciate that. Let me tell you there’s nobody that’s going to work any harder to get it corrected than I will.”
Davis had an impromptu meeting with the press following Sunday’s 38-17 loss to New Orleans, saying he was a patient man but unhappy with “regression.”
When asked if general manager Reggie McKenzie and Allen received a pass this year because of salary cap issues and injuries, Davis said, “I wouldn’t call it a pass. They’ve got contracts, they’re going to be here.”
Next up for the Raiders is a visit to Cincinnati on Sunday and with it the twin storylines of Carson Palmer’s return to Paul Brown Stadium and former Raiders coach Hue Jackson being on the opposite sideline with the Bengals as an assistant coach.
Beating the Bengals, 5-5, after an unprecedented three-game stretch during which the Raiders have given up 135 points, would brighten the outlook considerably.
“When you lose, it hurts, rips your gut out,” Allen said. “A win turns everything around. A win makes everybody feels a lot better. And that’s what we need to do. We need to come together as a football team and all make a decision that we’re going to do what it takes to win football games.”
Allen’s message to the team was to stick together and Palmer believes his talk hit the mark.
“His message was really good, spoken from a guy who’s been on good teams, been on bad teams and been the middle also,” Palmer said. “I think this team will respond very well to his message. We have to stick together. I don’t think that’s an issue. We know what areas we need to improve on. This is a group that is not going to shy away from that.”
The Raiders issues have remained fairly constant since the season began. Offensively, they’ve had difficulty running the ball, although Marcel Reece had 103 yards on 19 carries against New Orleans. They’ve had difficulty converting third downs and in the red zone.
Defensively, the Raiders have had periods of being unable to stop both the run and pass, and against New Orleans both problems were in evidence at the same time.
“I think consistency has been our biggest Achilles’ heel,” Palmer said. “We’ve put together great plays or a great quarter or a great half on every side of the ball. But consistently doing it — the teams that win consistently in this league play consistently well four quarters of the game.”
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain, agreed.
“It isn’t the most talented teams that win in this league, it’s the teams that do everything right over and over and over again,” Seymour said. “We’ve been inconsistent at times, offense, defense and special teams. Any time that happens, the record speaks for itself.”
– Allen hopes to see players such as Seymour (hamstring), Darren McFadden (ankle), Mike Goodson (ankle) and Tyvon Branch (neck) back on the practice field, but made it a point to say injuries were no excuse and had no information as to whether any or all could return this week.
– One of the people Allen has sought for counsel is Dan Reeves, the head coach in Atlanta when he had his first NFL job.
– Asked if he has enough good players to turn things around, Allen said, “I firmly believe that. I think of you look at it the other way around that’s an excuse, a crutch to say you can’t get it done.”