It's been a while, Raider Nation.
After spending the first month of this past regular season sharing my thoughts with all of you, I took a bit of a hiatus. I have changed residences twice, took the GRE, spent a few months applying to graduate school, traveled to the Bay Area to catch my first game at the Coliseum, and have been at my brother's side during his stint at the hospital.
Now? That is all over and done with and I look forward to guiding you through the 2012 offseason.
So what did I miss?
We witnessed our reliable starting quarterback, Jason Campbell, go down with an injury, to be quickly replaced with freshly acquired veteran Carson Palmer. We saw the Raiders lose two puzzling divisional games right after the trade, only to see the team come roaring back with three straight wins and appear to be the favorite to win the division.
Enter Tebow Mania, two blowout losses, and one heartbreaking defeat at the hand of the Lions, and the Raiders faced a must win game at Kansas City. Behind two blocked field goals by Richard Seymour, the Raiders were able to pull one out. Their fate would be decided Week 17 against San Diego.
Ultimately, the Raiders lost the game and the Broncos entered the playoffs as the AFC West champions by default. In the end, it was defense that failed them.
The loss and late season collapse cost Hue Jackson his job. Warranted or not, new GM Reggie McKenzie wanted "his guy," and Jackson did not fit the MO.
His guy turned out to be former Broncos' defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Allen is faced with turning around a team that is undisciplined and sloppy, with a penchant for underachieving. He was formally introduced as the new head coach in a press conference earlier today.
To get the ball rolling, here is a list of players that I feel will benefit the most from the newly installed coach, his system and a full offseason's worth of work.