If you were to ask NFL fans outside of California who the Oakland Raiders head coach is this season, I’m not sure too many people would answer correctly that it is Dennis Allen. The entire world will get a taste of what Allen is all about in the Raiders opener. Not only will Oakland host arguably their biggest rival, San Diego, but his debut will happen on Monday Night Football as well. Allen was hired because of his defensive background and looked like an up-and-comer in the coaching ranks. The Raiders want to once again become a tough, violent and fierce defense and they will be tested on opening night by Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers.
Dennis Allen joined KHTK in Sacramento with Grant Napier to talk about the progression of the team this offseason, on his relationship with general manager Reggie McKenzie, on the injuries to the wide receivers, how excited he is for his first game as a head coach and what he thinks of the Chargers this season.
On the progression of the team this offseason:
“I thought we got better and that was the big goal throughout the preseason and throughout Training Camp is to keep getting better every day and I thought we made some progress. Obviously the results as far as win/loss column wasn’t what we were looking for but the great thing about that is you start zero and zero with the regular season and we’re excited about kicking things off.”
On his relationship with Reggie McKenzie:
“I think it’s the fact that Reggie and I have the same vision for the organization and the same vision for the team. I think the fact that our goals and aspirations for this team really align and so I’m excited about the opportunity to work hand in hand with him on building the type of team that we’re looking for. Everything has been great so far, we have really enjoyed it but it’s time to start seeing the results of our labor.”
On the injuries to the wide receivers:
“Any time you go into a game you want to make sure you have all of your weapons so our ability this preseason to really get to work on the timing and the passing game, we haven’t been able to do as much as we would like. That’s been a challenge but that’s the way of the National Football League. Everybody deals with injuries and you have to find a way to produce no matter what circumstances you are faced with.”
On the excitement of his first game as a head coach:
“It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be exciting for all of us. I think any time you start something new, this being a new season we’re anxious to get out and start playing some regular season games because that’s why you do this. You do this to play the games and they start keeping records and keeping score for real so it’s going to be a fun time, it’s going to be an exciting atmosphere, it will be electric in the Coliseum and we’re looking forward to it.”
On the San Diego Chargers this season:
“Looks to me like (Antonio) Gates is fully healthy and running really well so he’s obviously a challenge. They lost one of their wide receivers and replaced him with another guy that I’m familiar with, Robert Meachem, who can run down the field and stretch the field so they’ve obviously changed but I don’t think the philosophy of what they’re going to do has changed.”