By Ryan Leong
Dennis Allen has the tools to be a good coach. Someday he might very well be one of the best in the business. Right now he’s doing his best to remain positive despite a six game losing streak that has the Raiders off to their worst season since 2009.
For the time being he is continually evaluating the players on the roster along with general manager Reggie McKenzie. Part of that process is giving their younger players an opportunity.
“I think we have to understand is, as players and coaches, we have to look to the future,” Allen said in his Friday press conference. “We’re trying to go out there and win and it’s our job to go out there and win on a day-to-day basis. But we’ve also got to look at this process, it’s not an overnight process. It’s going to take a little bit of time. So the only way we can move forward is to continue to look at some of these young guys.”
Two of those younger players making an impact are cornerback Phillip Adams and rookie offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom, a third-round draft pick. In the last two games, Adams has interceptions against Cleveland and Denver.
Allen also knows he’s on the hot seat despite being signed to a four year contract. He has the support from McKenzie and owner Mark Davis has said he’ll leave the football operations up to them. It’s been a difficult season for the rookie coach and admits that changes don’t take place overnight.
“I think all of us, as competitors, we want to win,” Allen said. “And that’s what it’s all about. But I also understand, and I’ve got a big picture view of what I want this football team to look like. Reggie and I have talked about it. We knew what we were dealing with when we came here. We knew that we had some depth issues on the roster and we couldn’t sustain a lot of injuries. We’ve sustained some injuries in a few spots, but we all want to win and I understand that. I want to win now, but I’m looking at the long-term future of this team and we’ve got to prepare for the future.”
One player that is giving a glimpse into that future is undrafted wide receiver Rod Streater. In Thursday’s loss to the Broncos, Streater had four catches for 100 yards. In Sunday’s game, Streater had three receptions for 96 yards.
When the season began, the two receivers that were supposed to be the headliners were Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore. But both have not performed as expected and Moore has regressed. He and quarterback Carson Palmer have not been on the same page for much of the season.
Allen will make a decision next week on disgrunted linebacker Rolando McClain who served a two-game suspension that will end on the morning of December 10. McClain will either be waived or returned to the active roster.
Running back Darren McFadden re-injured his right ankle but according to Allen it’s not serious and should not prevent him from playing against Kansas City on December 16.
And cornerback Michael Huff who had to leave Thursday’s game with an injured wrist had X-rays taken which came back negative. He’ll have an MRI to determine if he’ll miss any playing time.
With the Raiders having played two games in less than a week, the team is off over the weekend. Allen will take that time to return to Dallas for the funeral of his father on Monday. He’ll be back in time for practice on Wednesday.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.