Allen on ZBS: I have belief in it; it's going to work


Allen on ZBS: I have belief in it; it's going to work

ALAMEDA -- The day before, embattled Raiders offense coordinator Greg Knapp asked for "perspective" and "patience" with the new scheme introduced this season.Fans and pundits alike were ripping Knapp and his zone-blocking scheme-based West Coast Offense for the team's slow start, and running back Darren McFadden averaging a paltry 2.1 yards per carry.RELATED: Raiders' learning curve on ZBS steepest on game days
This after McFadden looked like a legitimate league MVP candidate a year earlier in a more "power" scheme.Obviously, Knapp is coach Dennis Allen's hire and he'll back him. But how much "patience" can the rookie head coach have if the offense continues to sputter and the defeats keep piling up? And yes, I realize the season is only two games old.RELATED: Can McFadden thrive with zone-blocking scheme?
"The big difference is, is I believe in the system," Allen said Friday. "I believe in what we're doing. And when you believe in something, you stick to it and you have your patience with it. But it's all about a belief. Most of the time, people, when they don't believe in something, that's when they want to make a lot of changes. I've got belief in it and it's going to work."In other words, if you're holding your breath waiting for Allen to pull the plug on Knapp andor his scheme, don;t hold your breath.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”