Dennis Allen didn’t quite know when he wanted to be an NFL coach.
He did know, however, that it was sometime at “a young age.”
And Monday, at the age of 39, that’s how he was officially introduced.
And if the youngest current head coach in the NFL sticks by what he claimed during the Raiders’ introductory news conference, he will stress discipline.
“The way that I view that you coach players, is you coach ’em firm, and you coach ’em fair,” said Allen, who is the organization’s 18th coach and the eighth since 2001. “And you hold them accountable to their actions. And that’s what we’re gonna do here.”
With recent successful defensive coaching stints with the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints, Allen in his first venture as head coach inherits the most-penalized team in NFL history.
Allen, who is signed to a four-year contract, has a remedy for that.
“The only way you create habits is through consistency, doing the same things over and over and over. Well, if you’re committing penalties, that becomes a habit.” he said. “We have to change those habits.”
Those were the habits he instilled with the Denver last year, and New Orleans before that.
As a defensive assistant, Allen joined coach Sean Payton to take over a 3-13 Saints team in 2006. That year, his team won the NFC South. Three years after that, this time as a secondary coach, the Saints won the Super Bowl.
With Allen heading up the defense, the Broncos captured the AFC West title this year. But Allen, despite having an extensive defensive background, plans to have a hand in all aspects of the game.
His philosophy, on both sides of the ball, is a rather simple one.
“On offense, we’re gonna be up-tempo. We want to be fast, we want to be aggressive,” Allen said, emphasizing a ground game coupled with an explosive passing attack, which Carson Palmer will likely partake in.
On defense, Allen preached an “aggressive, attacking defense, built on stopping the run and getting after the quarterback.”
New Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie seems to believe in what his enthusiastic hire is selling. And Allen didn’t mince his words when he said his goal was to win a world championship, and likewise didn’t stutter when he claimed he had the players to do so.
“This is the NFL guys, we’re judged by wins and losses,” McKenzie said. “We win — good decision. We don’t — not so good.”
Raider Nation will know soon enough with Allen.
The Raiders struggled defensively this season and put up the worst numbers in franchise history in a variety of categories:
31 Touchdown passes allowed
5.1 Yards per carry allowed
4,262 Passing yards allowed
6,201 Total yards allowed
433 Points allowed (third-most in franchise history)