Oakland Raiders: Dennis Allen Hired as New Head Coach

Tim PetersonCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2012

Oakland hires Dennis Allen as its next head coach
Oakland hires Dennis Allen as its next head coachDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

It is a new era in Oakland.

However, some are saying the Raiders might have picked new head coach Dennis Allen too quickly.

After all, there are still some big names out there. Namely Jack Del Rio, Bill Cowher and a familiar one in Jon Gruden.

But in his first big move as the Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie hired Allen Tuesday evening. 

Allen, who spent last season as the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator is the son of former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Grady Allen and has 10 years of NFL coaching experience.

Allen was impressive in his first season with the Broncos—maybe even better than he's credited for.

Consider this: The Broncos' option attack under quarterback Tim Tebow didn't always produce Tom Brady-like numbers and Allen's defense often had to rise to the occasion to win games. 

Despite "Tebowmania," Allen's defense was the key to the Broncos' turnaround season.

Prior to his stint with Denver, Allen served as a defensive line coach with the New Orleans Saints and might be able to bring in notable free agents in defensive back Roman Harper and wide receiver Marques Colston.

Still, the fans' choice in Oakland was former Raiders coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden. Fans routinely made pleas for Gruden's return, via message boards and live chats.

In a way, the organization is bringing back the memory of "Chuckie" by hiring Allen, a 39-year-old unknown, trained under former Saints defensive guru Gregg Williams.

Predictably, some are already calling Allen a "long-shot" for success, and considering how the organization has burned through coaches over the years, his chances of leading the Raiders out of the NFL wilderness aren't good.

But then again neither was Gruden's, yet he found a way to transform an underachieving team into a Super Bowl contender.

Allen brings a solid reputation as a defensive-minded coach, something the Raiders haven't had in a head coach since John Madden was hired by Davis decades ago. So there is hope.