Raiders key matchup No. 3: Dennis Allen vs. Joe Vitt

Raiders key matchup No. 3: Dennis Allen vs. Joe Vitt
November 16, 2012, 9:14 pm
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EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Saints matchups to watch Sunday, 1:05 p.m. (Fox), at Coliseum.Raiders rookie head coach Dennis Allen vs. Saints interim coach Joe VittTale of the tape
Allen: rookie head coach, 11th NFL season, Texas A&M
Vitt: interim coach, 34th NFL season, Towson StateALAMEDA -- Dennis Allen's three-team reunion tour makes its next stop against the team with which he won a Super Bowl ring, the New Orleans Saints winning it all for the 2009 season.It was in the Big Easy that Allen cut his teeth as a secondary coach."I started coaching in the NFL in Atlanta, but I grew up in the NFL in New Orleans," Allen said. "I've got a lot of good memories there, and we were able to win a championship. So it was a big part of my development as a coach."It's also where Allen crossed paths with Saints interim coach Joe Vitt. And where, apparently, Allen made a fan. Because while Vitt is more a caretaker in New Orleans with Sean Payton serving a year-long suspension, Allen is blazing his own trail with the blessing of general manager Reggie McKenzie and owner Mark Davis.
"Theres not a more qualified guy to be coaching a team than Dennis Allen right now," Vitt told Bay Area reporters on a conference call this week. "I say that because Dennis Allen was here with us in 2006. Dennis Allen is smart. Dennis Allen has great people skills. Dennis Allen knows how to teach, motivate, and inspire. Dennis Allen is not going to go off the cuff or off the reservation by saying or doing dumb things."Hes going to have his football team focused, and hes going to have them get better."Vitt, who had to serve a seven-week suspension for his role in the Saints' "BountyGate" scandal, has obviously noticed the rising wave of criticism coming at Allen in the wake of the Raiders' 55-20 loss at Baltimore last week and Oakland surrendering a combined 97 points the last two games.So the former colleague offered some history."When someone allows 50 points or more to be scored on them, and they come home the next week and play, that team is 5-1," Vitt said. "Defensively they give up less than 300 yards of total offense. They give up 20 points; they get four sacks, and force three turnovers. On the offensive side of the ball, they average rushing the ball 46 times a game and score 26 points. (Allen) is going to stay the course. Hes going to get people healthy. Hes going to circle the wagons, and were going to get the Raiders best game of the year. We are well-versed in that."Said Allen: "Joes got a stat for everything."But told the specifics of Vitt's stats, Allen relented."Hopefully hes right," Allen said."He had stats all the time. I think he does a great job with that stuff and hell do a heck of a job getting that (team) ready to play, getting that team motivated, and hell be ready to play."With each team offense-heavy, and defense-light, a shootout figures to ensue, making this matchup between first-time head coaches all the more intriguing, even if Vitt has been an interim head guy before, in 2005 with St. Louis.
Vitt, though, said he saw early in Allen's career he was destined to be a head coach."There are some people, some coaches, that are not only extremely well-versed in coaching their position, but they have the people skills and game day awareness and knowledge of the game, that you know that they have that 'It Factor,'" Vitt said. "He has always had that 'It Factor.' When he left here and became the (defensive)coordinator in Denver, we knew he was going to thrive."Listen, the only reason that (Dennis Allen) was hired at the Raiders is because they wanted to go in a different direction, and improve their football team. Everyone knows that youre going to go through hard times in your rookie season as a head coach. That head coach and Reggie McKenzie are going to get the right people in there to fit the scheme that theyre playing, and its going to take a little bit of time. You talk about two highly-qualified guys that have won big-time at this level, and know what theyre doing, and thats a good combination."Even if it does not necessarily play out this weekend.