Allen: 'I'm excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for us'
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ALAMEDA – Dennis Allen is still the Raiders head coach, and he went about his day as such. He held team meetings and spoke privately to most individuals. He discussed a vision for the future of the franchise.
Then he held Monday’s season-ending press conference as if he would lead this team in 2014. There was an air of confidence in his words, as there was after Sunday’s 34-14 loss to the Denver Broncos.
There’s an underlying reason why.
“I’ve been given the indication that I’ll be back,” Allen said, “but I think it will be important for me and (owner Mark Davis) to be able to sit down and communicate and talk about the things that we need to talk about, but I have every intention of being back.”
Allen believes he’ll continue coaching here, but his return has not been set in stone. That won’t happen until he meets with Davis.
“I wouldn’t say there have been any guarantees made, but I’m moving forward in that direction,” Allen said. “I fully anticipate and fully expect to be the coach of the football team and that’s the way I’m moving forward.”
That fits in a source’s description of sentiment that general manager Reggie McKenzie wants Allen to return. Davis will make a final determination. Sources have said that, as of Monday afternoon, Davis hasn’t yet come to a decision.
Allen has met with McKenzie, and their discussion could be the indication Allen is referring to. He wasn’t specific in identifying it.
“Just the communication going forward of what we’re trying to do,” Allen said. “I’ve been given the indication that I’ll be back. But we’ll wait and see.”
Allen said Sunday that he deserves a return engagement, especially after two years escaping salary-cap hell.
“It was a little bit of the deconstruction, and now it’s into the building phase,” Allen said. “It’s into the construction phase. And I think that’s an exciting time. I think that’s an exciting opportunity.”
Allen said the Raiders need to import two or three playmakers on each side of the ball, and one of them is clearly a quarterback.
Allen believes those additions will close the gap between the cellar-dwelling Raiders and the rest of a tough AFC West.
“I think we’re closer than maybe people give us credit for,” Allen said. “Again, you’re talking about a couple breaks here or there. You’re talking about a couple players here or there. You’re talking about a couple plays here or there from having a different conversation.”
Allen expressed that feeling to his players in the team meeting, where he shared a long-term plan and promised better times are on the horizon.
“The team meeting was to let us know where we were going,” running back Rashad Jennings said. “It helped us understand the growing pains and maturity we need to show to get this thing turned around. There’s a vision for the team and for those of us coming back, there are high expectations for what we can do.”