The Oakland Raiders' plan this offseason was to bring in players who can compete. General manager Reggie McKenzie stated it many times over the course of the offseason and it has been echoed by head coach Dennis Allen. Now, with the players finished with Organized Team Activities and mandatory mini-camp, that plan is starting to come to fruition.
“Listen, I think we had a heck of an offseason,” Allen said at the conclusion of mini-camp. “I think our guys are battling, they’re competing. They’re working extremely hard. We’ve accomplished a lot in this offseason. We’ve gotten a lot better as a football team.”
Look at what the Raiders have added this offseason and that plan comes to the forefront. At every position, Oakland brought in players to compete and push existing players at all positions. Whether it was quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and offensive line, the Raiders added competition. On the defensive side of the ball, Oakland added players along the defensive line, at linebacker and in the secondary. All of that was done to breed competition and ultimately success for 2014.
“I think we’ve had an outstanding offseason and I think our team from the day that we started the offseason program to where we’re at now, we’ve improved tremendously, but we’ve still got to go out there and do it when we get to training camp and do it when we get to the regular season, Allen said.
The Raiders do have a ways to go and they have shown nothing in the regular season yet. They will have to bring that intensity to training camp and carry it through the preseason and into the regular season. Allen has been pretty measured when it comes to expectations the previous two seasons. He is singing a different tune this offseason, which is excitement and optimism. That suggests that the competition plan is beginning to take shape. Next is to translate it into wins.
“I like the direction we’re headed as a football team,” Allen said. “I think we’ve got a group of guys that are committed to winning. I think they’re committed to this organization, and I think we have a lot of guys who have a lot to prove. That’s an exciting thing for a football coach. That’s an exciting thing for these football players. So I like our direction, I like our commitment, and we’ve just got to keep working.”
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