Looking back at the list of Oakland Raiders head coaches in the last decade-plus, the term "coaching carousel" comes to mind. The term "slaughterhouse" does as well.
The organization appeared to be the place for promising young coaches (Gruden) to start, then get run out of town by a controlling, micromanaging owner. It was a place for coaches with no name recognition (and even less talent) came and, after failing to deliver, were unceremoniously disposed of (Cable, Kiffin, Callahan, White). Finally, Oakland was also a place where over-the-hill has-beens came to wait out a year or two under Lord Davis until a better organization came calling (Turner).
That may have changed with the death of Al Davis last October. For the first time since the early 1960s, a man other than Davis would be making the football decisions. His death set in motion the chain of events that has led the Raiders to their current state: a new general manager in Reggie McKenzie and a new head coach in Dennis Allen.
Although McKenzie arrived with some fireworks, making an immediate change by firing Hue Jackson, his main focus should be cultivating stability in an organization that has always lacked it. From personnel to politics, Al Davis' Raiders have always been in a constant state of flux. It suited them well in the 1970s and early '80s when they won three Super Bowls, but in today's media-saturated world where nothing is out of bounds or off limits, the constant controversy is killer to a team's spirit. No amount of Davis' tired, recycled rhetoric was going to change that.
Heading into what will surely be a busy offseason, new head coach Dennis Allen and McKenzie will assemble his staff, with Allen apparently free to hire who he wishes. The hiring of coordinators and assistants is the next piece of the foundation that McKenzie has begun to lay, and it's crucial to the team's success. A stable, solid, professional organization is what the Oakland Raiders need to become if they are going to regain their past greatness.
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