The Oakland Raiders firing their head coach, in this case Dennis Allen, feels like the most natural thing in the world. That’s how bad things have been for the franchise for over a decade, and nothing suggests it’s changing any time soon.
The firing of Dennis Allen is just a symptom. With seven head coaches since their last postseason appearance, the Raiders are a mess from top to bottom. The big blow here is also to Reggie McKenzie who picked Allen as his first hiring, and had to fire him over the phone. It’s not exactly news that years of bad choices in the draft, the free agency market and probably in most hiring to the coaching staff has led the Raiders to this situation.
How bad is it? Since 2012, when Allen was hired, the Raiders are the second worst team in football with a 8-28 record. They’re on a 10-game losing streak following their London loss. The last time they started a season at 0-4 was in 2006, when Art Shell had his short second stint with the team, falling to 2-14 by the end of the season, the worst record in the NFL that year. The Raiders actually had two 8-8 seasons since: One with Tom Cable in 2010 and another with Hue Jackson in 2011.
Cable didn’t get his contract renewed, and his tenure there was probably marred with allegations of violence towards women. Jackson was fired by McKenzie, who wanted to put his stamp on the franchise. Now, he’ll have a second chance to do so (or maybe not), but the next head coach of the team, who might not get the hire until the end of this season, will also get probably a brand new coaching staff, with no one on a contract that goes past this season.
Their losses to the Jets and the Patriots were by seven points or less, but the 24-point humiliation in London against the Dolphins was the last straw for a team that lost nine times by 20 points or more during Allen’s tenure. Derek Carr has been thrown into a tough situation, and there doesn’t seem to be a single aspect of the team right now that can be highlighted as promising or encouraging heading into the rest of the season.
The Raiders have the worst offense in the league with 270 yards per game and are 31st in stopping the run because they’re always playing from behind. Playing in a division with three playoff teams from last year (all six games still waiting for them) and also facing the NFC West in the cross-conference schedule, it didn’t seem like Allen actually stood a chance of putting together a good record anyway.
There wasn’t anything in the off-season suggesting the Raiders were going to be any good, but no one expects to go 0-4, or being the worst team in the NFL, although facing some fierce competition from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Firing a head coach is always followed by a promise of a better future, but when it happens too many times over the last 12 years, it’s more about the sickness of this organization than the inability of Allen to win games.