|There's little doubt 2012 was a tough rookie season for Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. (US Presswire)|
After back-to-back 8-8 seasons, the Raiders went 4-12 under rookie coach Dennis Allen and first-year general manager Reggie McKenzie. The high hopes generated during the offseason and at training camp vanished during an ugly six-game losing streak from Weeks 9-14 when the Raiders were outscored 215-109. The Raiders, who struggled to adjust to new offensive and defensive schemes, missed the playoffs for the 10th straight season.
One day after the Raiders lost to San Diego in their season finale, Allen fired offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and offensive line coach Frank Pollack. Allen hired Knapp and Pollack, but he had to acknowledge his mistakes after the offense struggled early and actually regressed down the stretch. The Raiders finished 18th in total offense, nine spots lower than in 2011 under fired coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Al Saunders, who served as a senior offensive assistant in 2012. They jumped from 11th to eighth in passing -- Carson Palmer threw for 4,018 yards -- but fell from seventh to 28th in rushing and from 16th to 26th in scoring. The zone blocking scheme was a poor fit for running back Darren McFadden, who prefers a power attack. He averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.
The Raiders' defense was headed for a "F" after allowing an average of 32.4 points through the first 11 games, but it showed marked improvement down the stretch. Over the final five games, Oakland allowed an average of just 17.4 points and finally got a handle on the new multiple defense that Allen and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver installed. If you're wondering why Tarver was the only coordinator to survive, that late-season improvement is likely the reason. In most statistical categories, the Raiders' defense improved over the historically bad 2011 defense under fired coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. The Raiders finished 18th in total defense, 18th against the run and 20th against the pass. In 2011 they ranked 29th, 27th and 27th, respectively.
Special teams: D-
There are plenty of reasons why special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman got the axe after his first season in Oakland. The Raiders' kickoff coverage team allowed a league-high 28.9 yards per return and two touchdowns. Raider punt returners averaged 5.1 yards per attempt, last in the league. The Raiders didn't return a single punt or kickoff for a touchdown. Granted, Hoffman didn't have explosive return man Jacoby Ford, who missed the season with a foot injury. But that doesn't explain the coverage breakdowns. Punter Shane Lechler, a seven-time Pro Bowl pick, had a subpar season after undergoing offseason knee surgery and missing much of camp. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski helped the special teams avoid a failing grade by making 31 of 34 field attempts with his only misses from 64, 61 and 51 yards.
It was a rough rookie season for Allen, who made strides in turning the Raiders into a more disciplined team, yet won just four games. It's not a good sign when two of three coordinators get fired, along with the offensive line coach and linebackers coach (Johnny Holland). Allen had a roster that lacked depth and, for the most part, marquee talent, but for much of the season he didn't get the most out of the talent he had. There's no excuse for the disastrous six-game skid the Raiders took after winning three of their first seven games. Getting outscored 146-54 in the third quarter is a clear sign that Oakland's coaches had trouble making the right adjustments.
Cumulative GPA: 1.1
Follow Raiders reporter Eric Gilmore on Twitter @CBSRaiders.