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Monday, January 30, 2012
Allen and McKenzie seem like a good pair

By Bill Williamson

The Oakland Raiders had their press conference to introduce new head coach Dennis Allen on Monday.

Here are some impressions:

Allen
Allen
New Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie is convinced Allen is his man. McKenzie -- who bypassed several of his former Green Bay cohorts to go with the 39-year-old former Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator -- said he targeted Allen from the start of his process.

I know it’s early and I know there is always hope with every new hire. But it does seem like McKenzie and Allen have the makings of being a terrific pair. Both are young and green in their roles. But both seem to be bright, eager men who are both humble and not interested in being in the spotlight for anything other than winning. McKenzie said they will work closely together and they are a "team."

Allen was asked if he thought the Raiders had playoff talent and he said yes. He knows this is a good situation and he knows with a few moves, this can be a winning franchise again.

Both McKenzie and Allen said they believe in quarterback Carson Palmer. They have to believe in Palmer. There is no chance Palmer is not Oakland’s quarterback in 2012.

Allen didn’t say much about the staff he is building. He didn’t give many hints about whether or not incumbent Al Saunders will come back. He is under contract for another year. There have been names bandied about for the defensive coordinator job. One name that has surfaced as a possible candidate if Greg Manusky. He was fired earlier in the month as San Diego’s defensive coordinator.

Allen said he will not call the defensive plays and that he will have the role of a "game manager" on game days. I like when head coaches take that role. It allows them to focus on the entire game and not get too caught up on the nuances of one side of the ball. Allen downplayed the importance of schemes, but don’t be surprised if Oakland remains a 4-3 defense. That was the defense he ran in Denver.

Overall, Allen came across well. He is seems like detail-oriented coach who is well prepared for his role despite being the youngest active head coach in the league.