It’s clear that Dennis Allen is ready to take the reins as a head coach in the NFL. Allen is praised by his peers, he has earned the respect of his former players, he has even been mentored by some of the games finest, but the challenges of being a head coach are never fully realized until you become one. Allen is just getting his first taste of those challenges. Since the day Dennis Allen was offered the job to be the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders, there has been speculation surrounding who he would choose for his staff. Allen is now ready to start answering some of those questions, but the answers didn’t come nearly as easy as he thought they would.
Being the last head coach officially hired for the 2012 season and with the majority of the available coaches already finding new teams, Allen was starting from behind. It didn’t affect Allen too much at first because he had a short list of coaches he wanted to bring in. As a head coach, especially a first time head coach, you immediately look for coaches that you’re comfortable with, coaches who share similar philosophies and coaches who you might have worked with in the past. Dennis Allen found his guys and was ready to scoop them up, but in there lies the problem. Teams are not required to let you interview their coaches. In fact they have the right to deny access all together, which is a right a lot of them seem to be taking advantage of.
Allen has been denied access by three teams already during his coaching search. First he was denied permission to speak with current Broncos linebackers coach Richard Smith for the defensive coordinator vacancy. Allen then set his sights for defensive coordinator on Bill Johnson who he worked with in Atlanta and New Orleans before landing in Denver. The Saints were quick to object to that idea as well leaving Allen searching for a plan C to coach his defense. Emmitt Thomas, the Chiefs secondary coach, was named as a candidate for defensive coordinator as well, but it sounded like he removed his own name from contention.
We also learned that the Raiders asked permission to speak with Joe DeCamillis who worked with Allen is Atlanta. Joe is currently coaching special teams for the Cowboys and Allen wanted him to do that Oakland. Dallas once again denied the Raiders permission to interview DeCamillis and once again Allen was left looking elsewhere for a coach.
Dennis Allen will eventually get a complete staff put together, but in the short-term he is experiencing life as a rookie head coach. Now that his coordinators are set, he should find it a little easier to fill out his coaching staff with assistants and position coaches.