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Dennis Allen: Raiders must 'make something happen'

Before last season, we anointed Dennis Allen as one of our prized "Making the Leap" candidates for 2013.

The Raiders coach failed to make us soothsayers, churning out a second consecutive four-win campaign that saw Oakland crash hard down the stretch. The result is a coach under more pressure than any other in the AFC West.

"There's no question that this is the year we have to make something happen," Allen recently told the San Francisco Chronicle. "We need to show significant improvement this season. We have to show that this is a team on the rise ... and the record needs to show that."

Allen correctly has interpreted the demands of owner Mark Davis, who told the newspaper last month that his hand-picked coach has "no built-in excuses anymore." Same goes for general manager Reggie McKenzie, who successfully tugged the Raiders out of financial hell and now has more salary-cap room to play with than any decision-maker in football.

"This is (the offseason) that we've been building toward the last few years," said Davis, sounding much like his father. "So, yeah, there is no question. We have to hit it right now."

We pondered on the latest "Around The League Podcast" why a team with so much loot and so little talent would allow left tackle Jared Veldheer and pass rusher Lamarr Houston to waltz untouched into free agency.

Letting your only stars walk is extremely frustrating for Raiders fans to swallow and far from the beginning of the "hit it right now" offseason Davis is chanting about. We'll patiently wait to see if McKenzie manages to ink Veldheer or Houston, or both, to long-term contracts before questioning his game plan.

If McKenzie fails to do so, and if the Raiders don't find a quarterback or lace both sides of the ball with significant talent, it's tough to predict anything beyond another four-win misadventure. Another season like that will have Allen and McKenzie making the leap out of Oakland for good.

The latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" weighs in on Monday's franchise-tag surprises and unpacks all the 49ers drama out west.

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