Raiders key matchup No. 3: Allen vs. Fox

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Raiders key matchup No. 3: Allen vs. Fox

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Broncos matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m. (CBS) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Raiders HC Dennis Allen vs. Broncos HC John Fox
Tale of the tape
Allen: Rookie season as NFL head coach, coaching in NFL since 2002, Texas A&M
Fox: Second season in Denver, 11th season overall as NFL head coach, coaching in NFL since 1989, San Diego StateAllen has gone to great lengths this week to diffuse the storyline of his "homecoming" game in the Mile High City. And that's commendable.Still, the Raiders rookie head coach was Fox's defensive coordinator last year and a lot will be made of Allen matching wits with his former mentor.And that's unavoidable. Especially since both are defensive-minded coaches."Its a big game, but we cant get into individualism," Allen insisted. "This is a team game. We've got a challenge to face the Denver Broncos, and were going to come up with a good plan, our players will execute, and were going to go try to win a game."Still, there will at least be a twinge of nostalgia for Allen, the youngest head coach in the NFL who turned 40 on Saturday, when he steps on the field where he helped win a division title, right?"Sure, it will be a different feel," he admitted. "It will be a different feel. But thats another one of those distractions that you cant let take over. Its not about me, its not about Dennis Allen vs. the Denver Broncos. Its about the Oakland Raiders vs. the Denver Broncos. Were going to need a lot more than just me out there to go win a game. So our focus is going to be on our team trying to exploit whatever weaknesses Denver has and eliminate the times that theyre able to exploit whatever vulnerabilities we have."Fox, 57, said it would be "a lot of fun" to match wits with his former charge and had more than an inkling Allen would be a head coach one day.You could tell early on, just in the interview process, that first of all, hes very smart," Fox said. "Second of all, the way he carries himself. Hes a guy with what I call the 'It' factor. So it did not surprise me that people looking for coaches in the league were interested in talking with him. Obviously he and Reggie (McKenzie) hit it off. So it doesnt surprise me at all."I think the world of him and his family. But like all NFL contests, it's very competitive."The lovefest is a two-way street, so to speak, and Allen admired the way in which Fox handled the Tim Tebow situation last year and did not allow it to derail the Broncos from not only from an AFC West championship, but a playoff game victory."He's not afraid to make the tough decisions," Allen said. "He believes in a lot of the same things that I believe in. He's always had a tough, smart, disciplined football team, and I believe in those same things. And he's not afraid to make tough decisions, and as you continue to go on being a head coach you learn that you've got to make a lot of tough decisions in this job."So yeah, Allen sought Fox's counsel when the Raiders job opened up. Fox was the Raiders defensive coordinator in 1994 and 1995. "Absolutely, I talked to him about a lot of different things," Allen said. "And at the end of the day he said, 'Go there and you'll do a great job, and you're ready for the job.'"And I've talked to him since then, and he doesn't give me all he secrets, but yeah, he's helped me out a lot."How much, exactly, might be determined Sunday.

Mayor Schaaf on Raiders relocation: 'Oakland has something no other city ever will'

Mayor Schaaf on Raiders relocation: 'Oakland has something no other city ever will'

The Oakland Raiders have officially filed for relocation to Las Vegas. And Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has responded. 

“It’s no surprise that the Raiders have filed for relocation," Schaaf said in a statement. "Oakland welcomes the chance to show them and the NFL’s other owners why Oakland is the only home for the Raiders and always will be.

“Our winning team of the Lott Group, the County and my colleagues on the Oakland City Council has accomplished so much in the last few months. We’ve identified the mechanisms to responsibly finance public infrastructure improvements, we have in the Lott Group a private partner prepared to finance stadium construction, and we have an entitled site for a world-class NFL stadium and new development that enhances fan experience while invigorating East Oakland's economy. 

“But this isn’t all Oakland has to offer. Oakland’s Raiders stadium will be on the most transit-accessible site in the nation, in the sixth largest television market, and in one of the wealthiest and most innovative regions in the world. But above all else, Oakland has something no other city ever will -- a die-hard fan base that is loyal and true to the Raiders and wants to see them stay here in Oakland where they were founded. Only Oakland brings the Raiders and the NFL a competitive stadium proposal, along with legacy and loyalty.

“I look forward to the League giving our team a chance to compete.”

Now that the fate of the Raiders' relocation is in the hands of the NFL owners, a vote could come at the NFL owners meetings in late March. It’s uncertain whether Davis has the votes needed to relocate, but there has been momentum building for such a move over the past several months.

Davis has said that, even if the Raiders are approved for relocation, he plans on playing in Oakland the next few years while a Las Vegas stadium is built. The team has already sent out season ticket pricing to fans for the 2017 season. The Raiders have one-year team options to play Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

The Las Vegas stadium isn’t expected to be ready until the 2020 season.

The Office of the Mayor Libby Schaaf and Scott Bair contributed to this report.

 

McKenzie still not over Raiders playoff loss, striving 'to hold up the trophy'

McKenzie still not over Raiders playoff loss, striving 'to hold up the trophy'

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie acknowledged being named the NFL’s executive of the year was a big deal. It’s the highest individual honor bestowed on a personnel man.

Not in McKenzie’s eyes. His name’s on the plaque, but the general manger considers it a team honor. It takes a village to raise a roster, something McKenzie knows after working through the ranks.

“The acknowledgement, to me, is for the organization, from the top down,” McKenzie said. “From the patience and the vision together with me and (owner Mark Davis) on through the work, the daily work of the coaches and players and to play on Sunday. That’s what the acknowledgement is really all about.

“You see the entire organization working together to win. That’s what I see. It’s an accomplishment from the standpoint that we’re winning now. That’s what I feel good about. That’s why this award is special. It’s a team award, but it’s special to me that this thing is resulting into wins.”

The Raiders went 12-4 in 2016 and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season. That postseason experience was not positive. The Raiders got waxed in Houston, completing a brutal two-loss stretch where an AFC West title was lost and the season formally ended.

The downward spiral started in Week 16, after quarterback Derek Carr broke his fibula. Backup Matt McGloin played poorly and then hurt his shoulder the next game, which forced the Raiders to start rookie Connor Cook against Houston.

A loss seemed likely – Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn was also sidelined – but that didn’t make it easier for McKenzie to handle.

“Well, I’m still getting over it, (likely) until I win my next game,” McKenzie said. “It’s tough anytime you lose your last game. It’s going to eat at you and that’s one thing about being a player, being associated in this, it’s the drive for the next game. What can I do to help us win that next game? And that’s the hope we have now, is the opportunity to play again, you know? Albeit, in ’17, but that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to set the course for this ’17 season. So, it’s going to eat at you until then.”

It’s that drive that pushed McKenzie during difficult times, when talent piled up but didn’t translate to wins. Seeing the fruits of that labor is incredibly gratifying for McKenzie and staff. This award is part of that – to the victor go the spoils – though the end goal remains out of reach and will until the Raiders win a Super Bowl.

“Nobody likes losing, so I get that. If you really believe in what you’re doing and you’re supported, the hope is to start to win games, and to get to the playoffs is a step,” McKenzie said. “We feel good about that, but we’re only scratching the surface. We still want to hold up the trophy. That’s what we’re going to continue to strive to do. That’s our next step. We need to win playoff games.”