Pen has been put to paper, all the I's have been dotted, the T's have been crossed, meaning Dennis Allen and the Raiders have signed a contract, making him officially the team's 18th head coach in franchise history.
The Raiders will introduce the former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator in a media conference Monday at 12 noon that will be broadcast live on CSN California and streamed on CSNCalifornia.com. Allen has agreed to a four-year contract with the Raiders, as first reported by Comcast SportsNet's Kate Longworth.
SOURCES: Allen signs four-year deal with Raiders
Allen, who turns 40 on Sept. 22, is the youngest head coach in the NFL, six months and one week younger than Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin. Allen is also the first defensive-minded head coach the Raiders have had since John Madden was promoted from linebackers coach in 1969.
Allen and new general manager Reggie McKenzie reached what McKenzie termed a "handshake agreement" Tuesday night in Mobile, Ala., where both men were spending the early part of the week scouting this weekend's Senior Bowl game."I think they're an outstanding organization," Allen told CSNCalifornia.com just before his job-clinching interview, "and it would be an honor to be able to work for them."Now, Allen is the Raiders' eighth head coach since 2002, when Jon Gruden was traded to Tampa Bay, and trailing in the wakes of Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson. Only Cable lasted more than two seasons under the late Al Davis, and 12 games were as an interim coach after Kiffin was fired.In his lone year as the Broncos' defensive coordinator -- his first year as a D.C. at any level, really -- Allen improved Denver's defense from last in the 32-team NFL in 2010, when it gave up 390.8 yards per game, to No. 20 overall, surrendering 357.8 per game (the Raiders were 29th this past season with a 387.6-yards average).Denver was No. 18 against the pass, while the Raiders were 27th, and the Broncos were 10th in sacks, with 41, while the Raiders were tied for 15th with 39 sacks. But Denver only had half of the Raiders' 18 interceptions.The Broncos also ranked 24th in points allowed (390), while the Raiders were 29th (433).Perhaps most relevant, however, is Allen's purported penchant for military-like discipline after the Raiders set single-season standards for penalties (163) and penalty yardage (1,358) last season. The Broncos, meanwhile, were flagged 101 times for 842 yards en route to winning the AFC West with an 8-8 record.Denver defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely said it would be a blow to the Broncos to lose Allen."He's a great leader, organized," Nunnely told CSNCalifornia.com this week in Alabama. "I think he does a great job in preparing gameplans as well as getting the players (ready to play). He does a great job in front of the players."He'll do a good job. And really, he's young and he's energetic and that type of stuff, and has a great football mind and he'll do a great job. A great, great job."Allen played safety at Texas A&M and has coached at his alma matter and Tulsa in college and in the NFL with Atlanta (assistant defensive line coach) and New Orleans (assistant defensive line coach and secondary) before moving on to Denver.In fact, there were rumblings at the Senior Bowl that Saints coach Sean Payton heartily endorsed Allen to McKenzie, which would answer how Allen came onto McKenzie's radar.McKenzie reportedly also interviewed former Miami interim coach Todd Bowles, Green Bay assistant head coachinside linebackers Winston Moss and Philadelphia offensive coordinator Marty Mornhingweg. But Allen was the lone candidate to get a second interview and nailed it in Alabama Tuesday night.The next morning McKenzie acknowledged to CSNCalifornia.com he had a "handshake agreement" and 48 hours later, the team put out the release announcing the upcoming media conference.Allen's next order of business is to fill out a coaching staff. The only assistant from last year's team that is still under contract is offensive coordinator Al Saunders, though Allen could potentially go in another direction."That's going to be up to the new coach," McKenzie said this week, before Allen was hired. "We're keeping all the doors open for the new coach."Many observers think it would be good for the defensive-minded Allen to retain Saunders, to maintain some semblance of continuity on the team that is undergoing a reboot, of sorts.Names such as Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas, the Kansas City secondary coach who mentored Allen in Atlanta, Richard Smith, the Broncos' linebackers coach who has also been a D.C. in Miami and Houston, and Jack Del Rio, the former Jacksonville head coach, have been mentioned as potential defensive coordinators.Still, with so much talk of the Raiders potentially switching to a 3-4 base defense next season, it should be noted that Allen ran a 4-3 defense in Denver.Safety Matt Giordano, who is a free agent, is the lone member of last year's Raiders team to have played under Allen, in 2010 with the Saints.Punter Shane Lechler, meanwhile, was hosted by Allen on a recruiting trip to College Station in the mid-1990s and Allen was an Aggies graduate assistant coach during Lechler's playing tenure there."I think it will be a good fit for us," Lechler said from the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, per NFL.com. "He's a young, energetic guy. Smart guy. (He's) been through a lot with Atlanta, then a lot with New Orleans, over to Denver and that (coaching that) defense. We'll take all the help we can get right now."I've known him forever. I think this will be a good fit."