NFL Team Report - Oakland Raiders - INSIDE SLANT


Dennis Allen is on the clock.

And that doesn't mean the Oakland Raiders' coach is counting down to the first pick of the draft, although his team appears to be.

The Raiders have played poorly the first two games of the season, and owner Mark Davis' off-season mantra was "no excuses" after the club signed several veteran players and straightened out its salary cap.

Following a 30-14 loss to the Houston Texans in the Raiders home opener, Allen was doing his best to stave off speculation about his job security with an 8-26 record. And although it is fitting, that is not what Raiders fans mean when they refer to their Black Hole.

Free safety Charles Woodson wasn't mincing words after the Raiders second loss in a row.

"We suck --that's as blunt as I could put it," Woodson said. "For whatever reason, defensively, we don't' stop people, especially early in games. Every first drive a team is able to go and get points. Today it happened all day."

Woodson feels for a fan base that showed up en masse at the club facility the day he signed with the team as a free agent in 2013.

"They're excited to see their Raiders and what was that we put out there on the field today?" Woodson said. "That's embarrassing. I'm embarrassed for this team. I'm embarrassed for the fans. The thing about it is, I'm part of it. I don't know what we need to do as a team going forward but something is going to have to be done. I don't know what it is. But we have to do better than we did today."

Allen had no issue with Woodson's comments.

"I think that's something that is spoken out of frustration," Allen said. "When you watch Charles Woodson play in that game and the effort that he gave and the passion which he played in that game, it's a tough pill to swallow . . .He gave everything he had and we have to get more guys playing like that."

The aftermath was the same as his previous weeks as head coach, with no additional meetings scheduled with general manager Reggie McKenzie and/or owner Davis.

"There hasn't been anything, any more than what we would normally do," Allen said. "We're two weeks into the same season. At the same time, you don't want to bury your head in the sand."

Job 1 through the first two games of the season is improving a leaky run defense ranked dead last in the NFL, giving up an even 400 yards rushing in two games. The Texans had 188 yards against the Raiders -- led by 138 from Arian Foster -- and the Jets finished with 212 in the regular-season opener.

"Ultimately, what I thought this game boiled down to is this -- they ran the ball on us when they wanted to run the ball on us," Allen said. "That's a mentality. We've got to change that."

With opponents getting yardage in chunks, the Raiders haven't been able to generate pressure on the quarterback, in part because of down and distance and in part because they've spent too much time on the field.

Other problems on the Raiders laundry list of problems include turnovers (four against the Texans) and third down conversions on both sides of the ball.

"Defensively, we've given up points in the first drive (in both games and that's got to stop," Allen said. "We've got to come out faster. We've got to play better early in the game. There are a lot of things we have to get corrected, a lot of things to get better at. It's time for us to do it. Talk is cheap. We need to make improvement, and we need to make improvement fast."

Another loss -- with Miami coming up the following week in London -- could send the season into a death spiral.