ALAMEDA, Calif. – 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 Allen.
McKenzie replaced 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.
“Yes, I do believe what we put together this offseason was a roster that could win,” McKenzie said.
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 season.
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 record.
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.
Sparano becomes 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.
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