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NFL Team Report - Oakland Raiders - INSIDE SLANT
When the dust cleared on Black Monday, Dennis Allen was still operating as the head coach for the Oakland Raiders.
Allen is 8-24 over two season and a day after the regular season ended there were six vacancies throughout the NFL.
General manager Reggie McKenzie is the person Allen has spoke to all season, with little direct feedback from owner Mark Davis.
Allen was asked if he had any assurances he would be the coach in 2014.
"I haven't been told that I won't," he said. "I wouldn't say there have been any guarantees made, but I'm moving forward in that direction. I fully anticipate and fully expect to be the coach of the football team and that's the way I'm moving forward."
Later, Allen said "I've been given the indication I'll be back. But I think it will be important for me and Mark (Davis) to sit down and communicate and talk about the things that we need to talk about. I have every intention of being back."
Allen spoke with all players in a team meeting and met with most individually, and delivered the same message.
"I expect him to be here," running back Rashad Jennings said. "Those are decisions that are not in our hands, but he's definitely the guy for the job."
The message to the players was simple and direct.
"I just said I don't plan on going anywhere," Allen said. "I plan on being here. We've got 113 days before the start of the offseason program and we need to make sure we have a good plan for those 113 days . . . if they have any questions or concerns, they need to contact me and I can give them the right answers."
With two years remaining on his contract, Allen has every intention of being around for the "reconstruction" phase that will replace the "deconstruction" that took place when McKenzie shredded bloated contracts.
The Raiders, with 17 players on their own roster scheduled for unrestricted free agency, will be as much as $50 million under the salary cap in 2014.
"I'm not looking at this as the end, I'm looking at this as the start, as the beginning, and this is where we have an opportunity to really create here," Allen said. "This is where we should be judged. We should be judged on this point moving forward."
Allen said he didn't expect many changes on the coaching staff and hoped to get contract issues resolved in that area "in the next day or so."
NFL Team Report - Oakland Raiders - NOTES, QUOTES
-- After whiffing on Matt Flynn in free agency, putting fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson on the practice squad and having Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin play the bulk of the regular season, Allen said the quarterback position was still an issue.
"I'm not sure that we have the quarterback of the future in the building right now," Allen said. "We'll go through the offseason evaluation process -- we'll comb through all the tapes, we'll go through everything," Allen said.
Allen said the point was driven home in a 34-14 loss to Denver, with Peyton Manning leading the Broncos to a 31-0 halftime lead before giving way to Brock Osweiler.
"When No. 18 was out there for the other team, they were hard to stop," Allen said. "When the other guy came in it wasn't the same thing. So obviously that's a very important decision."
Pryor, who has one year left on his contract, isn't sure if he'll get another chance to compete for the starting job next year.
"I don't know. I know some people believe so and some people don't," Pryor said. "All I can do is get better. I don't know what the future holds. All I know is I'm going to get better and keep working my butt off."
Said McGloin: "I thought I did some pretty good things out there. I also did some poor things that I need to work on and improve. That will come. I know I will get better."
--Defensive end Lamarr Houston, who could be one of the most sought after Raiders free agents on the open market, hasn't closed the door on Oakland but sounds as if he expects to move on.
"I believe that Dennis Allen and the Raiders might be looking to move on and go to another team 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."
Allen said he talked to Houston about his comments and told him the Raiders wanted him back in 2014.
Houston and left tackle Jared Veldheer stand to be the most popular free agents. The franchise tag is available, projected to be $12.6 million for defensive and $11.2 million for an offensive lineman.
Veldheer, who missed the first 11 games following surgery to repair a torn left triceps, is hoping to return.
"Going through an injury that kind of screws that stuff up, but I'm sure now that there is time, it will start to heat up again and I definitely want to be a Raider for life," Veldheer said.
NFL Team Report - Oakland Raiders - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
-- QB Terrelle Pryor ran for 49 yards on nine carries against Denver and set the Raiders franchise record for a quarterback with 576 yards (Rich Gannon had 529 yards in 2000).
-- PK Sebastian Janikowski missed a 42-yard field goal against Denver and missed nine place kicks this season -- five from 49 yards and in.
-- RB Darren McFadden finished the season at 3.3 yards per carry (114 carries for 379 yards).
-- DE Lamarr Houston had a sack against Denver to finish with a team leading six.
-- WR Denarius Moore broke 2,000 yards receiving for his career after catching four passes for 63 yards against Denver.
SEASON REPORT CARD
PASSING OFFENSE: D -- With Matt Flynn flopping in training camp, the Raiders turned to both Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin -- and still don't know if they've got a quarterback to build around. Pryor did his best work on the perimeter, while McGloin was at his best throwing quickly and on time. Wide receiver Rod Streater (60 receptions, 888 yards, 4 TDs) was a bright spot, as was rookie tight end Mychal Rivera. (38 receptions 407 yards, 4 TDs) with Andre Holmes (25 catches, 431 yards) coming on late.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C-minus -- The Raiders rushed for a respectable 2,000 yards -- inflated somewhat by Pryor's 576 yards, much of it on broken play scrambles. Rashad Jennings consistently moved the pile (163 carries, 733 yards) and it was a good thing since Darren McFadden (114 carries, 379 yards) averaged 3.3 yards per carry for the second straight season in the final year of his contract. Fullback Marcel Reece (123 yards vs. Jets) showed he can be a lead back when counted upon.
PASS DEFENSE: D -- Opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 105.1 against the Raiders, who were sliced and diced from everyone from Peyton Manning to Geno Smith. The blitzing and mixed coverages worked well for awhile, but teams seemed better able to deal with it as the season went on. Without a natural pass rusher, Lamar Houston led the Raiders with six sacks.
RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- The Raiders were a respectable 13th in run defense, giving up 107.9 yards per game and their average yards per carry of 3.9 yards was ninth in the NFL. Middle linebacker Nick Roach got the team properly aligned and the Raiders fit gaps better than at any time in recent years. Until the team wore down at the end, the Raiders were also good at getting several tacklers to the ball to clean up if anything was missed.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- A down year for place kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who was 21-for-30 and missed five attempts from inside 50 yards. The previous two seasons, he had missed one from 49 and in. Punter Marquette King averaged 48.9 yards per punt gross punting and a 40.1 net and showed better touch inside the 20 as the season went on. The Raiders got virtually nothing from either return game, but their own coverage units were solid.
COACHING: D -- The Raiders were better in some areas, most notably running the ball and run defense, but in losing eight of their last nine games and the final six in succession, Dennis Allen and Co. had no answers. Allen maintained each week they were putting their players in the best position to make plays, and players confirmed it was a matter of execution. Unless the talent level is that bad -- and the Raiders had their chances to win more games -- execution is taught in practice.