Q: Was Terrelle’s [Pryor] knee more of a factor than you thought it would be going into the game?
Coach Allen: “I don’t know whether it was or it wasn’t. I think it was obvious that there wasn’t that explosiveness that we had seen out of him prior to the injury. I’ll sit down and visit with Terrelle a little bit more to find out exactly where he is, physically. It wasn’t something that we thought would be a big factor going into the game, but obviously it was a factor.”
Q: How confident are you that Pryor is open with you about how bad he’s hurting? Is it possible that he was just trying to suck it up?
Coach Allen: “I think sometimes guys want to go out and compete and they try to do everything they can to help the team win. We want guys that want to help this football team win and that’s going to be important for us moving forward.”
Q: But there’s a line there where you’re hurt too much and you can’t help the team …
Coach Allen: “You have to be effective. If you’re injured and can’t help the football team, it’s best that we have somebody else in there. When you watch the game, I didn’t look at it and think it was really the limitation that held us back.”
Q: Why has the passing game gotten worse the past few weeks compared to earlier in the year?
Coach Allen: “It’s a combination of all the things I’ve been talking about. We have to be able to go through our progressions, we have to be able to read things out, throw the ball with timing and accuracy. We have to be able to protect better so that the quarterback has more confidence to sit in there in the pocket and we have to do a better job at getting open at the top of the routes. The passing game is never one person, it’s a combination of 11 guys going out there and doing their job and we’re going to continue to work on it, we’re going to continue to continue to press on it. It’s an area that we have to get better at.”
Q: Is it troubling or more difficult that everyone needs to get better, like you have some kind of problems in different areas, as opposed to needing the wide outs to hold onto the ball or just to protect better. What needs to get better?
Coach Allen: “Well that’s something that we’ve got to continue to work on. It’d be a lot easier to if you could say there’s one specific thing that we can pinpoint and say that’s the problem that we’re having in the passing game. There are a lot of issues that are involved in that. You know, a lot of issues with injuries, change-ups to the lineup, feeling confident in what we’re doing in the passing game. It’s an area that we need to continue to improve on and we’ve got seven games left to do it.”
Q: Have teams made adjustments in how they defend Terrelle [Pryor], the more tape they get and now is it up to him to adjust back to what they’re doing?
Coach Allen: “I don’t think that they’ve made a ton of adjustments to what we’ve been doing with him. I think, obviously, he didn’t have the explosive runs in the game the other day, but there were some plays to be had with him in the running game and there are still some things we were able to do with him getting out of the pocket and making plays down the field. So, I don’t know if they’ve changed a whole lot about with what they’re doing, I just feel like we need to do a good job of executing as a whole.”
Q: Coach, I want to get back to Pryor for a second, he said after the game that he wasn’t able to move around and get out of the pocket the way he normally does and you say you’re going to talk to him about, but did he not express that to you or any of the coaches during the game that he was hampered?
Coach Allen: “No, that was never expressed to me. I watched the game and you could tell that he wasn’t 100%. So, we just have to go and talk about and make sure that if he’s healthy enough to go that he can be effective for us.”
Q: So there was no point when you considered taking him out?
Coach Allen: “No.”
Q: We’re past the halfway point, what are some of the things that you see with the team starting fast and ending slow?
Coach Allen: “Well, we took the first drive of the second half and drove it all the way down to the one-yard line. Now, we weren’t able to punch it in and get seven points like we needed to, but that wasn’t the issue. I thought we started fast in the first half, I thought we started fast in the second half. I just thought we had some opportunities in the second half where we weren’t able to take advantage of it.”
Q: Rashad Jennings, second week in a row going for 100 total yards of offense and he’s kind of providing you with those core runs that you talk about. Is he earning the right to carry the ball more whether Darren [McFadden] is healthy or not?
Coach Allen: “Yeah, absolutely. It’s a production business and when he’s had the opportunity to go in there, he’s produced. And when you do that you get more opportunities. So I was very pleased with the way he ran the football in the game the other day.”
Q: Is it conceivable that he could start in the next game even if Darren [McFadden] is healthy?
Coach Allen: “Oh, I don’t know. We’ll look at that. I think the key is that he’s going to get his touches because he’s earned his touches.”
Q: Coach, do you have any updates on some of the other injured players that you’re hoping to get back soon?
Coach Allen: “No, not anything specific. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a few of those guys back, but we’ll know more probably tomorrow.”
Coach Allen: “Well, and I’ve said this before, I think the first thing you need to be an elite special teams players is that you have to see yourself that way. I think a lot of times there’s this perception of special teams that it’s the other element, or [not] talked about aspect of the football game, but it’s very valuable and it’s been a very valuable asset to our football team this year. And, I think that he understands the importance of it; and I think that he understands his role in it; and I think he understands that he’s going to help this football team win games. So, as with most things, it’s all about your mindset and how you go about it, and he’s attacked it with the right mindset.”
Q: What did you think of [Menelik] Watson in his first start?
Coach Allen: “Yeah, I think he struggled a little bit in this game. I mean obviously, I knew going into this game that with their [the New York Giants] defensive front that it was going to be a challenge. I think when you look at it athletically, he’s athletic and talented enough, but he has limited experience. There were some good things that he did during the game and obviously, there were some things that he struggled a little bit with. Hopefully he’ll learn from that and continue to get better because of that.”
Q: What did the film show about the blocked punt? What went wrong?
Coach Allen: “Yeah, we just had a miscommunication in protection. We had a guy, we started on him, then they kind of did a little twist and we came off of that guy, so there was just a little bit of miscommunication as to who had who. We’d been pretty good at that up until that point during the season, so now we have to work to get that fixed.”
Q: Is [Jack] Crawford normally on that unit or is he not usually on that unit?
Coach Allen: “He’s been in and out of that unit. Again, with some of the injuries that we’ve faced, guys have to go in and fill in. But, he’s done it and he’s done a nice job when he’s been on that unit. We just had a bit of miscommunication on that punt.”
Q: Are you of the belief that maybe just one game can things turned around, that if you have four or five days of good practice that you can go out and beat the Texans or whichever team you’re going to be playing?
Coach Allen: “Well, here’s what I’m looking at: I’m looking at this team getting focused in on beating the Houston Texans, and that’s the only thing I’m concerned with. I’m not concerned about anything other than that because that’s the only thing that we can control right now. We can’t control anything that’s happened in the past. All we can control is how we go out and prepare, how we get ready to win a football game against the Houston Texans – in a game that’ll be another tough game. They’re a top offense, they’re the number one rated defense in the National Football League. They have good football players. They’re well-coached. So, it’ll be a tough challenge.”