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Raiders put ‘D’ first with new coach Allen

Reggie McKenzie has made one thing clear: he is certainly no Al Davis.

McKenzie threw everyone for a loop by telling sources that he wanted to have a new head coach selected by Saturday, and then making his decision Tuesday night.

Oh, and snagging the defensive coordinator from a divisional rival. No biggie.

Just hours after news reached the wires that a second interview would take place, Denver’s defensive coordinator Dennis Allen informed the Broncos Tuesday night that he and McKenzie had reached a deal.

Allen is the first defense-centric Raiders coach since mighty John Madden. That’s right, Madden. In 1969. Every other coach under Al Davis’ watch for the next four decades would be from an offensive background.

Sounds like McKenzie is staying as far away from Davis’ managerial style as possible.

Sources thought McKenzie might tap Packers linebackers coach Winston Moss, given the two men already had a long-standing work relationship. Or perhaps Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, with whom McKenzie also worked in Green Bay.

But McKenzie went with Allen, a coach that he has no previous formal relationship with. Plus, Allen has no previous head coaching experience, making him a little reminiscent of just-departed Hue Jackson.

Must have been one hell of an interview.

Allen was an assistant defensive coach in Atlanta and New Orleans before his one-year tenure as the Broncos defensive coordinator. Here’s to hoping that his defensive expertise will rub off on this Raider team, which gave up the third-most points in the franchise’s history in 2011.

Hopefully he can get the Raiders to shed their penalty-prone ways as well. I can’t imagine a new head coach coming in and being happy with a team with 163 penalties for 1,358 yards.

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