The Raiders didn’t have much to boast about last year.
The Silver and Black went winless in preseason, failed to make the playoffs for the ninth consecutive year, and became claimants to the record of the most penalized team within an NFL season.
Rookie coach Dennis Allen — the youngest head coach in the league — is fixated on changing that.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” Allen said. “So we have to do something different, we have to change, and if we don’t change, we’ll see the same result.”
And the Raiders certainly did change.
It was in January when the Oakland club hired its first general manager not-named Al Davis with the acquisition of Reggie McKenzie. And it was he who later hired Allen, thus ushering in a new era of Raiders football.
That era starts Monday.
The Raiders will kickoff their preseason hosting the Dallas Cowboys at O.co Coliseum, but how the first-team will be utilized has yet to be completely determined.
However, given what has transpired in practice thus far, Allen will look to use his receivers this August and beyond.
“This is probably the fastest group of receivers I have been around. They all have a little bit of something special that they can do and they have got a unique skill set,” Allen said. “So I think it is going to be on us as coaches to devise ways to utilize our personnel and fit what we do to what our guys can do well. And I think the fact that they are not all the same, they are not cookie-cutter wide receivers.”
But like the penalties, injuries equally bedeviled Oakland last year.
“That’s the way it is and we have a next man up philosophy,” Allen said. “When somebody goes down, it’s unfortunate, but somebody else has to step up and take over the slack and that is what we fully expect our guys to do.”
Quarterback Carson Palmer will get the nod to start Monday, and though he’ll play in front of former USC teammate Matt Leinart, he admits there is still work to be done.
“I feel confident and comfortable calling the plays and comfortable redirecting protections and getting in and out of plays,” he said. “We still have a lot of work to do. It’s still early in camp.”