Raiders

Lechler: Allen 'to take it to another level'

608544.jpg

Lechler: Allen 'to take it to another level'

A snot-nosed high school senior in Shane Lechler was hosted by rising college senior Dennis Allen on his recruiting trip to Texas A&M back in the Clinton Administration. The first Clinton Administration.
And after red-shirting his first year at College Station, Lechler saw Allen virtually every day of his college career with the Aggies, what with Allen spending those four years as a graduate assistant there.So forgive Lechler if he's not all that surprised with his one-time college "host" now assuming the reigns as his professional coach.

"I've known D.A. since '94 and he's always been a very professional guy," Lechler told CSNCalifornia.com in a telephone interview from Hawaii, where he is preparing for his seventh Pro Bowl."Just check out his pedigree. He's a pay-attention-to-detail guy. I'm not saying we haven't had that here (in Oakland) before, but D.A.'s going to take it to another level."Since joining the Raiders as a fifth-round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 2000, Lechler has played for (take a breath now) Jon Gruden, Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell, Lane Kiffin, Tom Cable and Hue Jackson, with Al Davis overseeing the entire operation. (OK, now you can exhale.)Now, Lechler has Allen and a new general manager in Reggie McKenzie to fill the void left by the death last Oct. 8 of Davis.At 39 -- he turns 40 on Sept. 22 -- Allen is the youngest coach in the NFL."Yeah, he's young but look at the experience he's already had in Atlanta and New Orleans and then he turned around the defense in Denver," Lechler said. "Any time I've crossed paths with him his attention to detail has impressed me."Even though he was just a G.A. (at Texas A&M), guys still listened to him and respected him. You could see it was in his future."Indeed, many observers saw Allen as a coach-in-waiting. McKenzie, though, believes his future is now. With the Raiders. And with a buttoned-down, no-nonsense style."That's going to be his approach," Lechler said. "He's not a huge rah-rah guy; he's a football coach. And that's what we need right now. We're headed in the right direction."

With Bowman heading to Oakland, everyone ends up happy, unless...

With Bowman heading to Oakland, everyone ends up happy, unless...

NaVorro Bowman’s employment odyssey lasted three days, and he didn’t have to get his mailing address changed.

The one-year, $3 million deal he reportedly signed with Oakland Monday came after a fairly quiet weekend for all parties. It was an easy choice for him, since there is minimal disruption, and an easy choice for Oakland, which needs all the defensive expertise it can get and has players that Bowman’s diminishing speed cannot expose.

In other words, everyone ends up happy . . . unless Bowman suddenly improves to the point where John Lynch has some ‘splainin’ to do.

The Raiders and 49ers have often shared players, thus belying their often overblown rivalry. The convenience was too . . . well, convenient, and will not be in evidence once Las Vegas becomes an NFL city.

And lord known the Raiders need some new voices in a room that has seemingly gone stale as expectations start to brown into disappointment. Bowman brings an effervescence borne of deep playoff runs, without being too loud a voice in a room that needs to develop more permanent leadership.

As to how much any of this translates into improved defensive play, or just a better vibe coming from Oaktown, well, put it this way.

If Bowman can stanch that level of bleeding, he shouldn’t be playing, he should be an EMT.

But at least he won’t end his career with a sour meeting with the people who run his original team, and that must count for something.

Maybe.

Ex-49ers LB NaVorro Bowman signs deal with Raiders

Ex-49ers LB NaVorro Bowman signs deal with Raiders

ALAMEDA – Former 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman visited with the Raiders on Monday, with other team meetings left on the schedule.

He cancelled them all.

The former All-Pro inside linebacker signed with the Raiders, Jack Del Rio announced Monday during his press conference. According to multiple reports, the deal is a one-year, $3 million contract. The Dallas Cowboys website first reported the agreement. He had a meeting with the Cowboys set for Tuesday.

Bowman fills a huge need in the Raiders defense. They need experience and depth on the inside. Bowman certainly provides that. Recent play suggests he isn’t the top-flight player of recent years, seeming slowed by past injuries to his knee and Achilles’ tendon.

He hasn’t forgotten how to tackle or play the run or make pre-snap reads. The Raiders need help in all those areas. They have been playing with rookie Marquel Lee and second-year pro Cory James in the base defense. Both guys are dealing with injuries, making this move even more valuable.

The Raiders are operating on a short week, but Bowman’s healthy and obviously in great shape, making it possible Bowman could play the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.

"Not out of the question," Del Rio said when asked if Bowman could play Thursday night.

That's a quick turnaround for someone entering a new scheme with brand new terminology, but he could fit in certain packages right away and help against the run. 

The Raiders also need help on passing downs, though it’s uncertain how much Bowman can help there. James and undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow have manned the sub package on the inside. Another undrafted rookie, Xavier Woodson-Luster, filled in for James during Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

“He has played a lot of good ball over the years and we’re excited to have him," Del Rio said. "We’re a little green at the linebacker position, so to add somebody with the experience that he has, we think it’s a nice addition for us. We’ll get him up to speed and see how quickly we can get him there and on the field.”

Bowman’s experience and the Raiders’ other options may lead him to be a three-down linebacker on this team. Morrow could retain that post after a solid start to his career. Time will tell on that front.

According to Pro Football Focus, Bowman has allowed 11 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets this season. Bowman lost coverage snaps to other 49ers in Week 5 and was set to lose more time to rookie Reuben Foster, a disappointment that expedited his release from the 49ers.

Bowman is a four-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler, and a winner of the 2013 Dick Butkus Award.

The Raiders should get on-field leadership on the interior and a motivated player determined to prove he remains an impact player despite being cut by a 49ers team he served since 2010.

The Raiders are mired in a four-game losing streak and are looking for a boost on both sides of the ball. Bowman should help a defense that hasn’t been half bad recently, but has lacked a presence at inside linebacker.

Del Rio hasn't seen Bowman much this season, but he watched some 49ers game tape this morning and discussed with Bowman at the team's Alameda training complex. Del Rio came away with a solid impression of his new veteran linebacker, who will front a young group right away. 

"He’s been a tough player," Del Rio said. "He has been a part of a really good defense for his entire career. I had a chance to talk a little bit today and talk about the veteran leadership that would be nice to have."