Allen interested in Raiders re-signing some of team’s prospective free agents


The Raiders have 17 unrestricted free agents. Coach Dennis Allen on Monday in his year-end news conference that re-signing some of those players figures to be critical in the Raiders stability for next season and beyond.
Allen mentioned defensive end Lamarr Houston, offensive tackle Jared Veldheer and safety Charles Woodson as free agents he is interested in the Raiders bringing back.
Here’s a complete list of the unrestricted free agents:
Offense — wide receiver Jacoby Ford, Veldheer, running back Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings, offensive linemen Khalif Barnes, Tony Pashos and Andre Gurode and tight end Jeron Mastrud.
Defense — defensive ends Houston and Jason Hunter, defensive tackles Vance Walker, Pat Sims and Daniel Muir, safeties Woodson and Usama Young, and cornerbacks Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins.
Houston said after Sunday’s game that it’s “very possible” that he had played his final game with the Raiders and that he wasn’t sure if the Raiders wanted him back.
Here’s his words verbatim.
“I believe that Dennis Allen and the Raiders might be looking to move on and have me go to another team or move on and find something more what they want for their system and their scheme,” Houston said. “Who knows? It’s a rough business and nothing’s guaranteed and everything changes from day to day.”
Later that day, Houston took to Twitter to change his tune.
“I would love to b back in Oakland if they will take me. Best fans in the league … u listen to the media, u a fool.”
Maybe the media can jog Houston’s memory by playing back a tape from the interview in question. The fools in the media would be glad to play back the tape recording, and they were prepared to do so Monday, though Houston didn’t come into the locker room during media access.
Allen addressed the issue Monday.
“I did see that quote, and that’s not the case,” Allen said in reference to Houston saying Allen might not want Houston back. “Obviously I sat down with Lamarr today and had a nice discussion with him. We’d love to have him back. We think he fits our system and what we’re trying to do and we think he’s a guy that we can build with.”

— Allen fired four assistant coaches on the day after the regular-season finale last season. He kept his staff intact this season, and it sounds as if that’s the approach he’s taking for the long-term.
“I don’t anticipate a lot of changes,” Allen said. “We’ll see what happens over the next few days and, obviously, there are a lot of discussions that have to be made. So, it’s probably not the right time to be able to make any type of comments on that, but I’m not looking to make a lot of changes.”

— Allen on Monday met with almost every player on his roster before the players departed the facility for the final time this season. During the team and individual meetings, Allen delivered a straightforward message.
“I said that I don’t plan on going anywhere, I plan on being here,” Allen said. “I talked about, we got 113 days between now and the start of the offseason program and we need to make sure that we have a good plan for what we’re gonna do over these next 113 days.
“I talked to all of them from a free agency standpoint about making sure we keep open lines of communication going. If they have any questions or concerns, they need to make sure that they contact me, and I can give them the right answers. And I told them to make sure they do things the right way off the field. The time to have your name in the paper is during the season, not during the offseason. So, make sure that you do the right things and you stay out of trouble.”

— The Raiders came within six points of setting a franchise record for most points allowed in a season. In particular, the defense struggled down the stretch.
Allen said the Raiders need to improve on third-down efficiency and red-zone defense, for sure.
“We have to do a better job with execution,” Allen said. “Obviously, guys are trying to do things the right way, so we have to look at ourselves. And there’s probably some things that we have to be able to teach better, to clean some things up for them, to make some things easier for them.
“There were times in the second half of the year where the field position got out of hand. Now what we’ve got to be able to do is eliminate the touchdowns and make them have to kick field goals.”

— Cornerback D.J. Hayden said he is recovering well from the groin surgery that ended his rookie season. He now is working toward getting stronger and making the most of a whole offseason, which he didn’t have last season.
The Raiders are counting upon Hayden, their 2013 first-round draft pick, to develop into a top-tier player and linchpin of their defense. Hayden had an up-and-down rookie season before he suffered a groin injury.
Hayden is focused on finding ways to help the Raiders get back to their winning ways and not about validating the Raiders taking him with the 12th pick.
“Something to prove? Man, we just got to win,” Hayden said. “That’s all we got to do. That’s the way to prove to Raiders fans, make them happy, get this organization back to where it was. We just got to win.”

— The Raiders signed the following six players from their practice squad to what is known as futures contracts: OL Jack Cornell, WR Jared Green, TE Brian Leonhardt, defensive end Chris McCoy, linebacker Eric Harper and cornerback Johnny Adams.


Allen has sign that he’ll be back as Raiders coach in 2014


ALAMEDA – Dennis Allen has yet to meet with owner Mark Davis, but he said Monday that he has a firm sense that he will be back for a third season as the Raiders head coach.
“I’ve been given the indication that I’ll be back,” Allen said during his year-end news conference, “but it will be important for me and Mark to be able to sit down and communicate and talk about the things that we need to talk about. I have every intention of being back.”
Allen said he intends to meet with Davis in the near future and that he is excited about the next phase of the process implemented by Davis, general manager Reggie McKenzie and Allen two years ago.
That marked Davis’ first full year as the owner, McKenzie’s as a general manager and Allen’s as a head coach.
The Raiders went 8-8 in 2011 under Hue Jackson. Allen guided the Raiders to 4-12 records each of the past two seasons in what Davis termed the “deconstruction” phase.
Allen said the Raiders now are entering the rebuilding phase and that tangible progress is on the horizon.
“We’re closer than what our record might indicate,” Allen said
When asked what he meant by “closer,” Allen said the Raiders have the ability to compete for one of six spots in the AFC Playoffs, perhaps as soon as next season.
“You’ve got to take it one step at a time,” Allen said. “I don’t think we need to be talking about Super Bowl. We need to be talking about competing in an area where we could possibly be a playoff team.”
Allen pointed out the Raiders being flush with salary-cap room in 2014, in possession of a slew of draft picks – they own the rights to the No. 5 selection in the NFL draft in May based on their finish this season – and several building blocks already in place.
The goal, he added, is to add two to three playmakers on offense and defense, be it through the draft or free agency. One of those players almost certainly will be a quarterback.
“That’s a position that we’ve got to make sure that we address,” Allen said. “I’m not sure that we have the quarterback of the future in the building right now.”
Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin are the only quarterbacks on the Raiders roster right now. They cut Matt Flynn early in the season and waived Tyler Wilson twice before he was signed by the Tennessee Titans off the Raiders practice squad.


Allen talks about his future with Raiders


While the three other teams in the AFC West prepare for the playoffs, the Raiders head into the offseason with a sea of uncertainty for the 11th straight season.
The Raiders concluded their season with a 34-14 loss to the Denver Broncos in a game that wasn’t anywhere near as close as the score might indicate. They finished 4-12 for the second straight season under the leadership of coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie.
Yet, Allen is confident and almost defiant that he’ll be allowed back for a third season.
“Yeah, I do,” Allen said, when asked if he exects to be coaching the Raiders in 2014. “I expect to be back and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to come back. But those are decisions that somebody else is going to make… But, yeah, I expect to be back.”
In fact, Allen already is looking into the future, salivating at the prospect of the Raiders having north of $60 million in salary-cap room and a full complement of draft picks.
“Absolutely. And like I’ve said before … Listen, it’s just the cards that we have to play with … This will be the first offseason where we’ve got some money that we can go out and try to acquire some free agents, to be able to sign some free agents on our football team that we’d like to keep here, and we’ll have a complement of draft choices to go out and begin to build this football team.
“It’s been a tough couple of years. It’s been a tough couple of years on everybody–been a tough couple of years on you guys, been a tough couple years on the fans, it’s been a tough couple of years with everybody within the organization. It’s something that needed to be done and we’re excited about the future and moving forward.”
Allen said he intends to meet with Davis and McKenzie in the coming days. At that time, they will talk about how to proceed and make sure they’re on the game page.
Allen does not seem at all concerned about being told that he isn’t in the Raiders’ plans moving forward.
“That’s a decision that’s made over my head,” Allen said. “I fully expect to be back. I fully believe that I deserve the opportunity to come back here and get a chance to, as we’ve said, go through the deconstruction phase … I want to be part of the rebuilding phase.”
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor is among those in support of Allen and his coaching staff.
“I like coach Allen,” Pryor said. “Personally, I love coach Allen. He’s a great leader. He’s a great leader. Every single day, the thing I liked about him, he didn’t change. When we started the losing streak, he didn’t change one bit. He still talked to us the same. A lot of guys tend to crack under pressure.
“Coach Allen handled himself phenomenally, and we look at that type of stuff. He did a phenomenal job. I have a lot of respect for coach Allen and I know this team and my teammates do as well.”

— Linebacker Kevin Burnett suffered a concussion, cornerback Taiwan Jones tweaked an ankle and running back Rashad Jennings received a stinger Sunday. None of those injuries is expected to cost the players any practice time during the offseason, assuming they remain with the Raiders.

— Defensive end Lamarr Houston said he wants to re-sign with the Raiders this offseason. However, he said that he isn’t sure the Raiders’ desire is as intense.
“Who knows?” Houston said. “I believe that Dennis Allen and the Raiders might be looking to move on and have me go to another team or move on and find something more what they want for their system and their scheme. Who knows? It’s a rough business and nothing’s guaranteed and everything changes from day to day.”
What’s known is that the Raiders and Houston’s agent engaged in contract talks this season as a means of gauging what it would take to get a deal done.
As we reported earlier this season, the Raiders and Houston’s representation aren’t close on the parameters for a deal, with Houston’s side wanting Houston paid as a top-tier defensive end. McKenzie isn’t prepared to go that high, at least for now.
Salary-cap space isn’t an issue, given the Raiders have more cap room than any other team. And it’s unlikely that the Raiders would use the franchise tag on Houston because of a prohibitive figure of more than $12 million for a defensive end.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that Houston conceded he might have played his final game in a Raiders uniform Sunday.
“My understanding, I believe that they were talking me up and things like that, but to a certain standpoint, I believe, me and the Raiders, I’ve had good years and appreciate this organization,” Houston said. “I love this organization, but as far as what some of the coaches want, I’m not sure. That’s out of my control I play the best I can and do everything I can to contribute.”

— Wide receiver Jacoby Ford was a healthy scratch Sunday. That portends the Raiders moving forward without Ford next season and therefore no point in playing Ford one more time.
Yet, that doesn’t explain why the Raiders used running back Darren McFadden on Sunday. Either way, McFadden rushed seven times for 6 yards in what likely was his final game with the team that selected him No. 4 in the 2008 NFL draft.

— The Raiders earned the No. 5 pick in the 2014 NFL draft based on their 4-12 finish, but not until a tiebreaker among five teams that had that record.
The Jaguars emerged with the No. 3 pick because their .504 won-loss percentage was the worst among the five 4-12 teams. The NFL figures that a team that goes 4-12 against the worst schedule must be the worst team overall. The Raiders .524 strength of schedule was third among the five teams.
The Raiders held the third in the 2013 draft, though they traded it to the Miami Dolphins for the No. 12 and a second-rounder that the Raiders parlayed into cornerback D.J. Hayden and offensive tackle Menelik Watson.

— Pryor broke Rich Gannon’s Raiders record for most yards rushing by a quarterback. He rushed for 49 yards Sunday, giving him 576 for the season.


Pryor’s play vs. Broncos resembled his play all season


OAKLAND – Terrelle Pryor’s play against the Denver Broncos on Sunday looked much like his season as the Raiders primary quarterback: Some good things, some bad, a jaw-dropping play here, a head-scratching play there, plenty tough to assess overall.
It all unfolded in plain view of a sold-out crowd at the Coliseum and throughout the course of a 34-14 victory by the Broncos in the Raiders regular-season finale.
If nothing else, coach Dennis Allen, general manager Reggie McKenzie, owner Mark Davis and offensive coordinator Greg Olson secured one more piece of evidence to build a case for how to proceed when it comes to the quarterback position.
That Pryor started Sunday speaks volumes, given he started eight of Oakland’s first nine games, yet Allen said he felt compelled to take another look at Pryor before the season ended.
Allen wasn’t ready to pass judgment on Pryor’s performance during his postgame news conference.
“I’m going to hold off on that until I get a chance to watch the tape” Allen said.
Pryor struggled in the first half and compiled the bulk of his decent-looking stats long after the Broncos sealed the outcome.
Pryor completed 6 of 11 passes for 35 yards in the first half. By that time, the Broncos led 31-0.
In the second half, Pryor went 15 of 27 for 172 yards and two touchdowns.
“Scoring twice, it made the day a little bit better,” Pryor said. “Not to say that it’s acceptable to lose, but you never want to score zero points.”
Matt McGloin started the six games before Sunday. Allen said Pryor starting against the Broncos was not an indictment of McGloin’s six-game look-see.
Pryor is under contract through the 2014 season. At this point, the starting job figures to be open among McGloin, Pryor and whoever else the Raiders acquire via the draft and free agency.
He declined to say whether he wants back for another season or if he is interested in a change of scenery.
“Right now, I don’t think this is the time or place to be (talking about that),” Pryor said. “I don’t know what the future holds.”
For now, Pryor said he intends to take a week off and then get back to work. He admitted that he has plenty to work on during the offseason.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Pryor said. “ … I would say I’m inconsistent. Period. I got to get better.”
Veteran offensive lineman Khalif Barnes said Pryor made huge strides this season — Pryor’s first starting more than one game — and that better things are on the horizon.
“He showed that he can make throws after he gets out of trouble with his feet,” Barnes said. “He has made some incredible plays once he left the pocket. That gets overshadowed because of the season we had.
“The kid does have the chance to be a special player if he sharpens up his fundamentals. If he gets more consistent, he can be a dynamic player, for sure.”