Q: How concerning is it that the defense seems to be getting worse as the year goes on?
Coach Allen: “It’s concerning. It’s very concerning. It’s frustrating, because at times we’ve played really good defense this year. We’ve played outstanding defense at times this year. As a matter of fact, last time we played these guys, we played outstanding defense but we haven’t done that as of late, really the last couple of ballgames. In the second half of the Dallas game, we didn’t play well on defense. That’s something that we have to get corrected and we’re going to work extremely hard, we’re going to do whatever we have to do to try to get that done, because we need to play better and we have played better.”
Q: Is some of this that you have to blitz so much, or you do blitz so much, that you’re going to give up some plays behind?
Coach Allen: “That’s part of it. We have a very aggressive scheme and we like to do some different things, and sometimes that does open you up to some vulnerabilities. We didn’t let the ball get down the field on you, and generally that’s what you worry about a little bit more with the aggressive-type schemes, but we had three different calls on three different screens. One was a vision defense, one was a match defense and one was a man-to-man defense so we have to recognize that those things are coming. We have to understand that, we have to do a great job of tackling in space, that’s an area that we have to work to improve on because we can’t let screens behind the line of scrimmage go for big gains like that. We have to find ways to get those guys down.”
Q: Was this a better team in Week One and Two than it is now?
Coach Allen: “I think we’ve played better at times this year than obviously what we’ve played collectively as a group the last couple of weeks. I don’t know if I’d say it’s a better team. I think it’s the same team but I do think we’ve hit a little bit of a rut and we have to pull out of it.”
Q: I think everybody is looking for signs of progress or possibly lack of progress, just generally, in what areas do you think this team has shown progress just from last year?
Coach Allen: “I’ve talked about this before, and ultimately we’re responsible for winning football games, and I think we all understand that. I do think there are areas where this team has improved. We’re running the ball exceptionally well; we’re getting a lot of explosive plays down the field in the passing game. I think our offensive line has done a better job over the last probably month of the season both in the run game and in protection. We’ve gotten some young wide receivers that are stepping up and making some plays for us. Obviously we can’t have the turnovers like we had in the game yesterday. Defensively we’ve hit a little bit of a slump over the last couple weeks but like I said, at times we’ve played really good on defense. We’ve played better against the run this year. We’ve gotten more pressure on the quarterback and up until the last couple weeks, we really had limited the explosive plays. We just have to get back to the basics and do the things we know we can do, that we have done throughout the season and we have to be able to execute those things as we play these last two games.”
Q: How much of the recent struggles are on the players and how much of it is on the coaches?
Coach Allen: “We’re all part of it. We’re all part of it and we’re not in the blame game, we’re not in the pointing fingers game. That’s for everyone else to do. Our job is to come together as a group, coaches and players, we’re in the solutions business, not in the creating problem business, and that’s what we have to go to work to do, to find the solutions to alleviate the problems.”
Q: If it wasn’t for a lack of trying or a lack of effort as you said, is it a lack of talent that you guys need to coach up better?
Coach Allen: “I think you’re always trying to be better from a talent standpoint, but these are our football players, and they’ve given us everything that they have this year and they’re going to continue to give us everything they have and we as coaches, we have to continue to try to put them in the best positions that they can have success. You don’t win football games just by coaching and you don’t win football games just by playing. It’s a combination of both. We’re not going to like anybody drive a stake between us.”
Q: At the quarterback position you’ve mentioned evaluation. Have you gotten an evaluation of these guys? Is there at least progress in that term, saying you have the quarterback position moved ahead of where it was in training camp?
Coach Allen: “Well we obviously have an evaluation on both of these guys and I think both these guys have shown signs of being a quarterback in the National Football League. I don’t think either one of them is a finished product yet, and we’re going to look at these last two games and try to see what we have and see what need to do going into the future.”
Q: By starting Matt [McGloin] as much as you have, and by saying he’s going to start this one, have you pretty much done your evaluation of [Terrelle] Pryor?
Coach Allen: “We’re still looking at it. We want to still be able to use Terrelle in certain situations, but Matt’s our starting quarterback. I think he’s earned that right and he’s gone in and play well. He didn’t play well the other day. He made some mistakes but I think he’s leading the league, since he’s been the starting quarterback, in explosive passes down the field. There have been positives there; it’s tough to learn from those rookie mistakes and those young mistakes. It hurts for all of us.”
Q: If turnovers cost both [Matt] Flynn and [Terrelle] Pryor their jobs, is it the exploding plays that keep [Matt] McGloin in the starting role or why does he get that extra shot?
Coach Allen: “Well listen, all of it is a concern, and this was the one game where he [
Q: It’s hard to ignore the boos – it’s obviously just fan frustration – but can you really blame them?
Coach Allen: “I understand. This is a loyal, passionate fan base and they’re hungry for wins, and I understand that. I think our whole team understands that. I think our whole organization understands that. Nothing is going to waver me, or us, from what the process is or what the plan is. We’re trying to put the best product on the field and we’re going to continue to do that. I understand the fans frustration; we have the same frustration. We want to win. Unfortunately we just haven’t been able to get it done.”
Q: With [Matt] McGloin as the starter, what do you guys gain from the shuttling back and forth of putting [Terrelle] Pryor in for a few plays here and a few plays there?
Coach Allen: “Well, we continue to make the defense work on a different skill set and a different set of plays. I believe that opens up some things for us in the running game, when we’re able to do those things. I think when Terrelle has been in the game, we’ve had some success and been able to move the ball. So, I think that’s something that as we move forward we’ll continue to look for different ways that we can utilize both of those players that gives us a chance to have success on offense. And if you take away the turnovers from the other day – which you can’t – we did have success on offense. We did have explosive gains. We scored the most points that we’ve scored all season. So, you get caught up in the negatives, and obviously the biggest negative is that we didn’t win the football game, but I do see some positives.”
Q: How involved has [General Manager] Reggie McKenzie been in specifically the quarterback conversation?
Coach Allen: “He hasn’t been involved in terms of any type of decision making on what we do or how we play those guys. He’s hired me to coach the football team. He’s allowed me to coach the football team. Now, do we have discussions? Absolutely, we talk about everything. So, there’s been discussions, but at no point has he said that you need to do this or you need to do that.”
Q: How comfortable are you with the way you guys have evaluated quarterbacks? I know you’ve brought in Flynn, it didn’t work out. You draft [Tyler] Wilson, up and down there. How good are you guys at evaluating quarterbacks?
Coach Allen: “Sometimes things don’t work out. Sometimes mistakes are made. But, I’m very confident in Reggie McKenzie and the personnel staff of being able to evaluate football players – quarterbacks, offensive linemen, defensive lineman. I’m very confident in his ability to do that. I’m very confident in our ability as a coaching staff to do that. Obviously we’ve seen something in Matt McGloin that we like and we see something there as a quarterback and I think he’s proven that. I also think he’s proven that he’s still a young player and he’s going to make some mistakes. But, I’m very confident in our ability to evaluate all positions.”
Q: You were in New Orleans when you guys signed [Drew] Brees. Do you remember that? Were you watching that process? Do you remember how that went? Would you like to mirror that process?
Coach Allen: “Well I’d love to have Drew Brees. (laughing) That’s part of the process, and I was there when all of that happened. Really we got Drew Brees because of an injury standpoint, and it worked out great for that organization, and he was able to bring a World Championship to that organization. So, I think any time you can have that ‘franchise quarterback,’ you look at all the great teams in the league that have been at the top of the league for a long period of time all of them had that great franchise quarterback. That’s what everybody in the league is striving to get.”
Q: Do you feel like you have to do anything else over the course of the next two games to make that case for progress stronger?
Coach Allen: “Well, my job doesn’t change. My job is to try and get this team better. My job is to try to put a good product on the field, to help these guys and put them in the best position to have success. That’s what my job is, that’s what my job’s been since Day One and that won’t change. I’m not going to change my mindset. I’m not going to change my philosophy. I’m not going to change the process because that’s what I believe in. You’ve got to stand for something. You’ve got to believe in something because if you don’t, you’re doomed to fail. So, I’m going to focus on the things that I need to do to help this football team win.”
Q: Based on the last two weeks, what gives you confidence that you can plug the leak the next two weeks?
Coach Allen: “Because we have. Because we have. Listen, at times we’ve played really well and been very competitive in games and had opportunities to win games. Obviously its times like this that you wish you had a couple of do-overs, but that’s not the way the NFL works. So, like I said, we’ve played good offense at times and we’ve played not so good at times. We’ve played good defense at times, we’ve played not so good defense at times. We’ve played good on special teams at times. We’ve played not so good on special teams at times. What gives me confidence is because we have and I know that we have it in us.”
Q: Did you see anything from [Darren] McFadden on Friday or Saturday that would you to believe that he’d be ready to go?
Coach Allen: “After talking to [head athletic trainer] H. Rod [Martin] he should be ready to go on Wednesday. So that’s my anticipation going forward.”
Q: Have you guys gotten as much out of this draft class as you’ve expected?
Coach Allen: “Well, obviously, injuries have really hurt the draft class.
Q: What about
Coach Allen: “I don’t know. I don’t know the answer to that. I’ll have to check with H. Rod on that. I don’t know the answer to that.”
Q: Do you have talks with Mark Davis during the season? Do you worry about what he’s thinking or his input?
Coach Allen: “No I don’t. Mark and Reggie talk quite often and most of my communication happens with Reggie, and then Mark and Reggie communicate.”