Oakland Raiders One Year After the Loss of Al Davis

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIOctober 8, 2012

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 30:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders completes a pass on third down for a first down to running back Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders as he is hit by defensive end Elvis Dumervil #92 of the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 30, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

On October 8, 2011 the Oakland Raiders, and the entire NFL, were shaken up when the owner of the Oakland Raiders, Al Davis, passed away after ruling the Oakland Raiders since 1963. 

One day after Davis died, the Raiders played their most emotional game in franchise history with a come from behind win at Houston.

It is now one year since Davis left, and that has been a very difficult time for the Raider Nation.

First, the Raiders, who were 7-4 and on the path to a division title, fell apart at the end of the season to finish 8-8 and missed the playoffs in 2011.

After that, the head coach, Hue Jackson, was fired despite being the engineer of an offense that was one of the most dangerous in the NFL.  Jackson was the best coach in Oakland since Jon Gruden and he was let go because of the failures of a defensive coordinator, Chuck Bresnahan, who he didn't even hire.

Why was Jackson fired? Because of the general manager that was wanted so badly over the last decade since Bruce Allen left for Tampa Bay and the Raiders had a record-setting span of seven straight seasons with at least 11 losses.  Remember when a group of Raiders fans bought a billboard asking Al Davis to hire a GM?

That new GM, Reggie McKenzie, is the man who took over the football operations and so far he has had to clean up a mess of a salary cap by either restructuring contracts or releasing players like Stanford Routt, Kevin Boss, Chris Johnson and Kamerion Wimbley. 

No, it is not McKenzie's fault that he inherited an inflated payroll that went beyond the NFL's restrictions. 

It is his fault however that he decided to fire a promising, young offensive-minded head coach because the defense didn't get the job done.  Why? Because McKenzie wanted his own guy.

Enter Dennis Allen.  The former defensive coordinator of the AFC West rival Denver Broncos and a defensive backs coach of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.  Allen is the first defensive-minded head coach since Jon Madden.

So bringing in a defensive-minded coach like Allen would solve the Raiders problems right? Not exactly.  Through four games in 2012 the Raiders are 1-3 and their defense is injury-plagued and has an underwhelming pass rush.

At least they still have that dangerous offense right? No. With Allen came a new offensive coordinator in Greg Knapp and his zone-blocking scheme that has stunted the performance of his own running back, Darren McFadden, who thrives under power-blocking schemes.

In the year since Davis died, the Raiders did something that didn't need to be done.  They entered a re-building phase.  That phase was needed back in 2009 after those seven straight years of 11 losses, not now after back to back 8-8 seasons.

Hopefully for the Oakland Raiders year two without Al Davis will be better, much better, than the first year without him.