ALAMEDA -- New Raiders coach Dennis Allen wasted little time declaring that the future is now, saying at his introductory news conference Monday that Oakland has "playoff-level talent" to compete for a championship.
"This is a new day in Oakland Raiders football. We're progressing forward. And we're going to set our own goals and aspirations and things that we want to try and get accomplished within the organization," Allen said.
"This organization is committed to winning. Mr. Davis used to say "commitment to excellence" and we are committed to excellence within this organization."
Allen takes over a franchise that has not had a winning record or made the playoffs for nine straight seasons. he is Oakland's seventh head coach since 2003. Hue Jackson was fired earlier this month after one 8-8 season.
Allen spoke of the balance between intensity and discipline, a feature that was absent in the 2011 season, when the Raiders set an NFL record for penalties and yards penalized in a single season.
"We are going to put a team out there that is going to play with passion, that is going to play with emotion, that is going to play with discipline, that is going to play the game the right way -- with a respect for the game and a respect for the people who played the game before them," Allen said.
"The vision for the future of the Oakland Raiders is going to be just that -- it's going to be a tough, smart, disciplined, committed football team.
"See, you don't win football games in the National Football League by talent alone. There are a lot of other things that are a part of that. And those are the things that we're going to develop, and those are the things that we are going to preach on a day to day basis to our players.
"We do have talented players. We have enough talent in our team to compete for a championship. And that's what our goal is going to be -- every year."
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 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.