Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano answers questions from
reporters during a media conference Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014,
in Alameda, Calif. Sparano was named interim coach on
Tuesday, a day after the firing of head coach Dennis Allen.
— Reggie McKenzie believes he put together a roster capable of
competing for a playoff spot. When that roster got off to an 0-4
start and wasn't even competitive in two games, the Oakland
Raiders general manager decided he needed to fire coach Dennis
his hand-picked coach by promoting offensive line coach Tony
Sparano on an interim basis Tuesday with the hopes that can spark
a turnaround for a team that has lost 10 straight games dating to
"Yes, I do
believe what we put together this offseason was a roster that
could win," McKenzie said. "I'm not going to get into
all the particulars of why it didn't work for Dennis. But the
bottom line is it didn't work. For whatever reason, not only the
0-4 start but our play did not represent what we were capable of.
That's the bottom line."
Allen was the
first head coach hired by Oakland after Al Davis' death in October
2011. His 8-28 record is the worst for the franchise since before
Davis arrived in 1963. His contract was set to run through next
McKenzie made the
decision to fire Allen and then let owner Mark Davis know his
plans. Davis supported McKenzie's call but now pressure turns to
the general manager whose additions have not led to a better
Allen is the
third coach fired during the season by Oakland since Al Davis
arrived. Mike Shanahan was fired after four games in 1989 and Lane
Kiffin was let go four games into the 2008 season.
analysis, I think we do have players that can play in this
game," Davis said. "I just think that there may be some
changes in how the schemes are utilized."
Oakland's eighth coach in the past 12 seasons. The Raiders have
not made the playoffs or had a winning record since winning the
2002 AFC championship.
Sparano had a
29-32 record as head coach in Miami from 2008-11. He took over a
one-win team in 2008 and led the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and an
AFC East title. That was his only winning season and he was fired
with three games remaining in 2011.
Sparano said he
was still working out particulars about play-calling and other
details and would talk to his players on Wednesday about what
changes he planned to make.
While he was not
ready to offer specifics on Tuesday, he did say there would be a
philosophy change when the team returns from the bye week to play
its next game at home against San Diego on Oct. 12.
"We need to
make sure we're asking our football players here as coaches to do
the things that they do best," Sparano said. "We have
some good football players here, a lot of them. They do a lot of
good things. We need to let them do what they do best."
McKenzie were hired after the team finished 8-8 under coach Hue
Jackson in 2011, falling one game short of a playoff bid.
expected to steady a franchise that fell into disarray during Al
Davis' final years as owner. Instead, the team has only gotten
worse, posting back-to-back four-win seasons before getting off to
the 0-4 start this year despite adding players like Justin Tuck,
LaMarr Woodley, Maurice Jones-Drew, Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown,
James Jones, Antonio Smith and Matt Schaub in the offseason.
Even worse, the
Raiders have looked overmatched at times. They fell behind 27-0
after three quarters of their only home game against Houston and
trailed by 31 points after three quarters against the Dolphins.
In all, Allen had
more losses by at least 20 points (nine) than wins. It was
performances like those that Mark Davis said he no longer wanted
to see in Allen's third season and that ultimately led to his
that's not what the Raiders are," Davis said. "And we're
still trying to get to be what the Raiders are."
Davis cited this
year's draft class led by linebacker Khalil Mack, quarterback
Derek Carr and guard Gabe Jackson as players who could form the
But he was not
willing to commit long-term to McKenzie, who has two years
remaining on his contract, or Sparano. Davis said he would have
more involvement in the hiring of the new coach than last time
when he let McKenzie pick Allen.
He also said he
might reach out to former coach Jon Gruden about a possible
future and I'm not going to talk about future coaches," Davis
Sparano has 12
games to show that he should be that guy.