He is sticking with the coaching staff he personally selected -- a first for the Raiders since Al Davis had a hand in picking the staff since 1963 -- and is concentrating on getting more out of what he has than looking elsewhere for help. "I'm not going to stand up here and say we're making wholesale changes," Allen said of his 3-6 team. "We're going to look at every aspect of what we do, offensively, defensively and the kicking game, and if we feel changes need to be made, we'll make those changes." As far as the coaching staff, Allen said, "No one is on the bubble. I don't think that's even appropriate to comment on, anyway." Through nine games, the Raiders' personality is of a team that can be productive in the passing game, doesn't run the ball well and is all over the map defensively -- and mostly not in a good way. Quarteback Carson Palmer is on pace to be the most prolific passer in terms of passing yardage in franchise history, although that was never the plan. The stated goal of Allen and offensive coordinator was to have a stout running game featuring Darren McFadden which would set up Palmer for bootlegs and strikes down field. McFadden, now potentially out for the second straight game with a high right ankle sprain along with backup Mike Goodson, never got on track, leaving Palmer as the primary offensive threat. Considering the next opponent is the New Orleans Saints, the Raiders are faced with having to keep up in a shootout. New Orleans quarterback Brees is only one of two quarterbacks (Matt Ryan is the other) with more than Palmer's 2,723 yards. New Orleans knocked off the undefeated Falcons, is back in the playoff hunt at 4-5, and is going against an Oakland defense that has been shredded by Denver's Peyton Manning and most recently by Baltimore's Joe Flacco. Flacco completed 21 of 33 passes for 341 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, exposing fast holes in the middle of the Oakland defense. The previous week, the Raiders gave up 251 yards rushing to Tampa Bay's Doug Martin, proving they can struggle both ways. "It's like a dam right now," defensive tackle Tommy Kelly said. "You put your finger in a hole and three or four more pop up." A defense that defines "explosive plays" as passes of 16 or more yards and runs of 12 or more has given up 21 such plays in the last two weeks. Allen remains convinced the Raiders have enough talent to be a solid defense. Indeed, in a three-game stretch against then-undefeated Atlanta and struggling Kansas City and Jacksonville, the Raiders played well. "We have enough talent," Allen said. "We have to play at a high level on every single snap in every single game. Just like anybody else in the NFL, if you don't play consistently, you're going to have the ups and downs like we've had. "I don't look at it as a talent issue. We have who we have. Our job is to go out there and win football game." Allen termed the Raiders' defensive play against Baltimore "unacceptable" and got no argument from defensive end Andre Carter. "There's no doubt in our minds that we are a talented team, but being talented and going out on the field and having a high level of productivity for 60 minutes is another thing, and that's the level we're trying to be on. "There's signs of progress and there's signs of, 'Ahh, it's looking ugly,'" Carter said. "It's a new scheme. Sometimes it takes time for things to mesh, but you have to get it right and get it right now." While the front seven was the biggest issue against Tampa Bay, the defensive secondary faltered against New Orleans. After being run over by Martin, the Raiders held Baltimore's Ray Rice to 35 yards on 12 carries. Kelly didn't think it was because the Raiders had gone so heavy trying to stop one thing they couldn't prevent the other. "The big plays over the top weren't on a blitz or stacked front," Kelly said. "It was in base defense. Just got to cover your man." The 55 points scored by the Ravens was tied for the most the Raiders have given up in a game, having lost 55-21 to the San Diego Chargers in 1981. With the Saints coming to town, Kelly said the Raiders need to see improvement fast. "Man, if Baltimore can put up 55, you don't even what to see what New Orleans can do," Kelly said.
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