The worst-kept, stutter-stepped secret in the NFL came to fruition last night, with Raiders owner Mark Davis reacting to an ugly London loss by dumping his third-year head coach, Dennis Allen.
But how much of the team’s horrific performances over the past two-plus seasons can be pinned on Allen? Was it Allen who threw away $6.5 million guaranteed on Matt Flynn? Was it Allen who wasted another $8 million on Matt Schaub?
Was it Allen who presided over the gradual deterioration of the roster and, in many respects, the entire franchise over the last decade?
If Allen deserves to go, so does G.M. Reggie McKenzie. And if they bear blame for the current mess, so does the late Al Davis, who stubbornly refused to step aside from running the football operation in the latter years of his life. While the elder Davis earned with decades of excellence the privilege to continue in the captain’s chair for as long as he wanted, the younger Davis needs to realize that the problems run far deeper than a head coach who made the best batch of chicken salad he possibly could, given a list of ingredients that includes wasted draft picks and overpriced free agents whom no one else wanted.
So go ahead, Mark, and pursue Jon Gruden. Hell, try to hire Tom Flores or John Madden. Maybe Art Shell would come back for a third tour of duty. Without major changes to the football operations and a dramatic infusion of talent, it won’t matter.