Raiders to introduce Allen on Monday

651618.jpg

Raiders to introduce Allen on Monday

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."

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

STANFORD – Todd Downing has long been responsible for intently analyzing college quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft. He certainly did so during two seasons as Raiders quarterbacks coach, adding input to personnel department evaluations on young signal callers.

This offseason, he’s using a wide-angle lens. Downing is the Raiders offensive coordinator now, promoted to the position after Bill Musgrave was allowed to leave on an expired contract.

Coaches enter the draft evaluation process relatively late – they have a season to coach, after all – but Downing prides himself on working hard in evaluating talent. Working with general manager Reggie McKenzie’s staff, coaches feel like their voice is being heard.

That’s important to a coordinator especially, who must make a scheme work with talent around him.

“Reggie and his staff have always done a tremendous job of listening to our vision for the offense or the defense,” Downing said Thursday at Stanford’s pro day. “It’s been a joy to work with those guys over the past three years.

“(Head coach Jack Del Rio) really expects us to be accountable for our position group. Now that I’m the coordinator, there’s more of a broad scope when looking at offensive talent in the draft. When you work that hard (evaluating players), I think the scouts know that your opinion is well grounded, and that validates it a little bit.”

Downing is always on the lookout for weapons, especially while making tweaks to the Raiders offense. The Silver and Black found a few, adding tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, offensive lineman Marshal Newhouse and quarterback EJ Manuel.

Quarterback Derek Carr helped him get some. The full-time East Bay resident has been active recruiting free agents, trying to improve an already strong Raiders offense.

“You guys know how passionate he is about this game, and about this team and backing up this franchise,” Downing said. “(His involvement in recruiting) didn’t surprise any of us. He’s pretty hands on when it comes to football. He lives in the area, so he hopped in when we needed it and it paid off.”

Cook and Patterson especially could add dimensions to a well-rounded Raiders attack. Cook has made some big plays in the past, and should be a reliable receiving tight end the Raiders have lacked in recent seasons.

“He has a skill set that will be fun to play with (schematically),” Downing said. “We’re excited to see what he can do, and I know Derek is excited to add him. He has a history of making plays in this league, and that’s something we’re excited to have.”

Patterson’s primarily known as a kick returner – he’s a two-time All Pro on special teams – but the Raiders hope he’ll be active on offense.

“With guys like that, you just find a way to get them the rock and let them do the rest of the work,” Downing said. “They make me look good. I can call a simple play and he takes it the distance and it looks like I designed something special.”

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

A week after signing a deal with the Vikings, former Raiders running back Latavius Murray has undergone ankle surgery.

The Vikings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota issued the following statement regarding the surgery:

"Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp."

Murray's deal with the Vikings is reported worth $15 million over three years, but can reportedly be voied after the first year.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Murray became the Raiders' primary running back midway through the 2015 season. In his three years in Oakland, Murray carried the ball 543 times for 2,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.