Carson Palmer

Dennis Allen: the right kind of “defensive” coach for the Raiders

By Raiders Sports Guy

As everyone has already said, the last time the Raiders hired a defensive Head Coach, his name was John Madden.

I disagree. Hue Jackson was all kinds of defensive during his final press conferences as Raiders head coach.

It’s also amusing to me that most of the Raiders’ old staff have found new jobs while Hue is probably getting a manicure and calling old girlfriends to boost his vacuum of an ego.

That said, I have learned my lesson about comparing new Raider acquisitions to past Silver and Black legends. See: Carson Palmer could be the next Jim Plunkett. He was more like Jim Everett.

If the Costacos Brothers decided to get back in the poster business, their Raiders offering would be a twist on that “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” print that has James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, and Humphrey Bogart sitting wistfully in a throwback diner. Only the Costacos Brothers version would have Hue playing Bogart, McFadden with his foot elevated on the counter in a walking boot, Cambpell as James Dean, and Carson in drag as Marilyn. Chuck Bresnahan would be pushing a mop in the background while wearing a little white paper hat.

I like the hiring of Allen. My biggest hope is that he starts and finishes whole seasons of football.

My other hope is that he really is defensively-minded.

I’ve read other folks saying the big problem with the Raiders’ defense is they had the wrong scheme. The system was ill-fitted to the personnel. I couldn’t agree more.

While Allen said some big things about offense in his hiring presser, specifically about being aggressive, I substituted “defense” when he said “offense.”

The zone defenses that Chuck B. called unto his professional demise were not suited to a defense with Rolando McClain governing the middle. I’m a betting man, and I’d bet $10,000 of Mitt Romney’s money that McClain scored lower than average for his position on the Wonderlic.

I watched him fall down quite a few times, and not metaphorically. The man trips over his own feet. He cannot walk and make reads at the same time.

Jackson benched Quentin Groves earlier this season as part of his “Tough on Crime” campaign promise, and I criticized the move. Groves is reportedly one of the fastest guys on the roster. He’ll have a renaissance season if Allen keeps things simple and brings the team back to a blitz-heavy, man to man, type D.

We have great players on the defensive line. Kamerion Wembley is an absolute pro, and Stanford Routt wasn’t terrible when you consider he was getting zero help inside and underneath from McClain or Curry. Not only were those inside lanes usually open, but any NFL quarterback is going to burn defenses bad when they have six or seven seconds to make a pass.

The answer is to change the D strategy, not the players.

Hiring an offensive genius would’ve been a total waste of time unless the guy was awesome at developing young quarterbacks. We have Terelle Pryor, remember?

So the head coaching hire was right, and he promptly brought the Al Saunders era to an end by hiring Texans OC Greg Knapp.

This is the guy who convinced T.J. Yates that he could be a playoff quarterback and kept Houston in the thick of things despite losing Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart to injuries. That sounds a lot like the Raiders quarterback situation, only our USC burnout stayed healthy and we never got to the toolsy rookie.

If the name sounds familiar, it because this is Knapp’s second go-round with the Raiders.

He left for Seattle in frustration after the JaMarcus era and Paul Allen spoke to him during a hallucination after he accidentally took a swig Russell’s purple drank bottle.

The free agent class is deep and interesting. I’m going over the names to see if there is solid, and hopefully smart, secondary help.

The offseason grade at this point: So far, so good.

The next biggest question I have is … where does Hue end up? Any guesses?

I wouldn’t mind seeing a reality show where Hue pursues his next life opportunity and we hear clips of awkward rejections on the phone and Hue realizes this reality show IS the opportunity rather than the vehicle to opportunity.

Draft Notes: its hard to take first round projections seriously, let alone fifth and sixth round projections. If Reggie McKenzie finds two gems there, his legacy has its first golden pages … that’s supposed to be his strength, finding gems in the dust.

The Raiders Sports Guy, Francis Mayer, has extensive experience in radio as a producer in Bakersfield, as a former morning show host at 106.1 KRAB and now producing a local morning news show. He and BASG played on the same Babe Ruth baseball team as 13-year-olds, and Francis still talks about that time he struck out the side in his only pitching appearance of the season. He’s also a fan of the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Twins, a strange pairing of teams that’s never been fully explained.

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