By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 9th, 2013 at 5:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.
ALAMEDA – Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Monday that his team this season is “closer” to being a playoff-caliber team than it was last season and that he isn’t concerned about his job security.
“Listen, that’s not what my job is,” Allen said, when asked if he has received assurance from owner Mark Davis that he’ll be retained beyond this season. “My job is to try to get this team better, get this team ready to play against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I’m not going to talk about speculation or anything like that. I’m going to worry about winning a football game this week.”
The Raiders were 3-10 at this point last season. They finished 4-12 on the heels of an 8-8 campaign in 2011, the season before Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie arrived.
The Raiders are 4-9 so far this season, with games remaining against their divisional foes – Denver Broncos (11-2), Kansas City (10-3) and San Diego Chargers (6-7).
“We’re a lot closer,” Allen said. “Obviously the record doesn’t say so. We all recognize that, at the end of the day, this is a production business. We understand that you are what your record says you are.
“But I also know there’s a lot of areas where this football team has improved. We’ve got to continue to improve in those areas and other areas so that we’re able to win football games and not come away and be disappointed.”
Allen said he and McKenzie are in lock-step with their long-term outlook for their complete rebuild of a franchise that last finished with a winning record and qualified for the playoffs in 2002.
“Reggie and I have been on the same page in everything that we’ve done,” Allen said. “We understand what the vision is, we have a plan for what we’re trying to get accomplished and we haven’t varied from that, and we won’t waver on that.”
Running back Rashad Jennings said he and his teammates are behind Allen and the other coaches 100 percent.
“We’ve made a lot of strides,” Jennings said. “ … You have a lot of hungry guys who want to change this culture and turn this program around. The majority of the guys feel that way.”
Safety Charles Woodson called the Raiders loss to the New York Jets on Sunday “embarrassing” and reflected badly on players and coaches. The Raiders were competitive in all but two of their first 12 games, but they got outplayed by the lowly Jets in a 37-27 defeat.
Allen said he hasn’t spoken with McKenzie or Davis since the Jets game ended.
Davis vented about the Raiders poor play after the 10th game last season, saying he wanted to see progress. He hasn’t weighed in on his team’s play this season at all to date.
Wide receiver Rod Streater said there’s a marked difference in this year’s team, as evidenced by the Raiders having a realistic chance to win six of the nine games they lost. Last season, the Raiders got blown out five times.
“Our record might not be different,” Streater said, “but as a team we’re right there. … Last year that wasn’t the case. I feel like everyone is all in. They believe from the start we can win these games. The attitude is much different.”
– Matt McGloin will start against the Chiefs on Sunday, Allen said. McGloin has started the past four games after he relieved injured regular Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor’s right knee now is fully healed. However, the starting job is McGloin’s until further notice. Allen said Pryor might be used in some capacity the final three games – Pryor played one series against the Jets.
– Jennings said he finally passed all the tests required of players that suffer a concussion and he is cleared to play against the Chiefs on Sunday.
Jennings got hurt against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the Jets game while he recovered.
He said he is eager to play again. He’s also hopeful of re-signing with the Raiders.
“I would love to, if I had it my way,” Jennings said. “I feel I am a Raider. I feel at home here. I understand the system, I’m going to continue to grow in it, take ownership over it.”
He leads the Raiders with 588 yards rushing and is tied with Darren McFadden in rushing touchdowns (4).
– Allen said the concussion suffered by defensive tackle Vance Walker appears to be more severe than the one that tight end Nick Kasa got against the Jets.
Linebacker Sio Moore (neck) is questionable for the Chiefs game as he undergoes further evaluation for the injury he suffered Sunday.
Left guard Khalif Barnes hurt a knee and an ankle against the Jets. Right offensive tackle Tony Pashos injured a foot. Both are expected to be healthy enough to play against the Chiefs.
– Streater had modest goals when he joined the Raiders in 2012 as an undrafted free agent: “Making the team, getting a jersey. That’s all I wanted.”
Streater since has established himself as the Raiders most consistent receiver, and he’s on the verge of accomplishing something that no Raiders player has since 2005.
He has 787 yards receiving through 13 games, placing him within striking distance of becoming the Raiders first 1,000-yard receiver since Randy Moss in ’05.
“There’s something about that number you want to get to as a receiver to be considered one of the good ones for the year,” Streater said.