With trio intact, the pressure's on Raiders power structure

YSTL: Is Dennis Allen's return surprising?

With trio intact, the pressure's on Raiders power structure
January 8, 2014, 6:00 pm
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Allen’s never won five games in a season as head coach. McKenzie hasn’t put together a top-flight roster as a general manager. It’s fine to say they haven’t. It’s unfair to say they can’t.
Scott Bair

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It’s super-duper officially official that Dennis Allen remains the Raiders head coach. It took until Tuesday to formally iron that out despite widespread expectation that Allen would be back.

Glad we got that out of the way.

Why it took owner Mark Davis a week to acknowledge something he claimed to have always known is curious, but continuity was his best available option heading into an all-important transition from “deconstruction” to “reconstruction.”

Davis, Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie met Wednesday to further discuss the future of this franchise and how to navigate one of the most important offseason periods in Raiders history.

We all know the Raiders have oodles to spend and craters to fill before 2014, with few building blocks already in place. It’s a daunting task, especially under the pressure of what’s expected to be a make-or-break season for this regime.

Poor play was tolerated twice. It will not be again.

Will a guillotine hanging by a fraying rope impact personnel decisions?

Actions will tell if the Raiders’ steadfast commitment to a long-term plan remains intact. An A-list free-agent frenzy -- against McKenzie’s assumed preference -- would suggest otherwise.

One problem: development through the draft and free agency’s second wave doesn’t typically precede quantum leaps.

It’ll also be interesting to see if the 1-year contracts offered to assistants and possible instability throughout the coaching staff will give free agents pause. If you’re a fit for the Raiders’ current scheme, would you sign a long-term deal when playing philosophies may change the following year?

Questions abound because these Raiders aren’t proven winners. Allen’s never won five games in a season as head coach. McKenzie hasn’t put together a top-flight roster as a general manager.

It’s fine to say they haven’t. It’s unfair to say they can’t. Salary-cap woes have handcuffed head coach and GM alike.

McKenzie has done a solid, nowhere-near-perfect job of dredging the muck. While the Raiders are in great fiscal shape, precious few diamonds were discovered during this down period.

There is a lot of money and some high draft picks available to acquire them, and that’s why it was just for Davis to leave his power structure intact.

The hierarchy remains because Davis trusts McKenzie and McKenzie trusts Allen, but it’s uncertain how Davis feels about his head coach. Public compliments (or comments in general, for that matter) from Davis about Allen are extremely hard to find.

Whether that's due to dislike or a linear division of labor that segregates, this group doesn’t have to be Three Amigos. They have to find a way to turn a moribund franchise around. If not, Davis will find others who can.