Coaching in the Senior Bowl is akin to getting a high draft choice -- it means you need the help, basically.
As such, the coaching staffs of the Raiders, who finished tied for the third-worst record in the NFL at 4-12 under rookie coach Dennis Allen and will pick third in the NFL draft, and that of the Detroit Lions, who were also 4-12, will coach the two teams in this year's Senior Bowl game at Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 26, it was announced Thursday.
"It's a great opportunity for the Raiders," Allen said in a release. “It gives us a chance to get a solid evaluation on these players. We get a better feel on them because we see them in meetings, we work with them in practice, and we can determine whether their personality would fit well in our locker room. It's an opportunity to get an in-depth feel on a lot of those guys."
The Raiders, though, are missing a few pieces to their coaching staff after Allen on Monday fired offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, offensive line coach Frank Pollack, special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman and linebackers coach Johnny Holland.
It is not necessary, though, for the Raiders to have an O.C. on staff before the game, as senior offensive assistant Al Saunders or quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo could conceivably call plays that day.
Allen has never coached in the Senior Bowl before, though four previous Raiders staffs have -- Lane Kiffin's in 2008, Norv Turner's in 2005, Jon Gruden's in 1999 and Art Shell's in 1992, when an "AFC vs. NFC" format was used, rather than "North vs. South."
It was at last year's Senior Bowl Week, however, that Allen landed the job with Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie.
On Monday, Allen was asked if he was interested in coaching at the Senior Bowl.
"That’s obviously something that we would consider if we’re given that opportunity," Allen said at the time. "That’s something that Reggie and I have talked about. Really nothing has been done in that regard, yet."
A year ago, Minnesota was coming off a 3-13 season when Leslie Frazier's staff was invited to coach a Senior Bowl side. The Vikings went 10-6 this past season and are in the playoffs.
He credited the Senior Bowl experience with helping the turnaround.
"Not only what we were able to find out personnel-wise about college players, but that time together that we had, we kind of built on that over the offseason," Frazier said, according to Vikings.com. "By the time our players got into the building, we were concrete on what we needed to get done and how we wanted to get certain things taught. Having an offseason where we could spend some quality time together and not trying to figure out ‘Are we going to be playing football? Are we not going to be playing football? When are we going to be playing football?’
"We could just concentrate on what happened in the past, what we need to fix, personnel-wise as well as scheme, and come together as a group where you can not only work together but trust one another. We’ve had that through an offseason and it’s paid dividends for us."
Might it work the same for the Raiders in 2013?