Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen:
Q: What’s the plan for DJ Hayden?
Coach Allen: He won’t play this week. He should be cleared for contact on … Really Friday is when he should be cleared for contact. We’ll reevaluate that with the doctors after that, but the plan going forward, I would anticipate, is he would be up and going for the Chicago game.
Coach Allen: Obviously we’ve had some injuries up front, but overall I feel pretty good about where we’re at defensively. Like I’ve said before, I think we’re much improved in the secondary, and I think that’s going to allow us to do some different things defensively where we can be a little bit more multiple.
Q: How did [DT Christo] Bilukidi and [DT Stacy] McGee hold up in the game?
Coach Allen: They still have a lot of improvement to do, but it was good for those guys to get in and get a lot of reps. My anticipation is that they’ll get a lot of reps again this week against New Orleans, and I think the more work that they get, the better they’re going to be.
Q: How about [DE Jack] Crawford?
Coach Allen: He’s in the same boat with those guys. [He is] a second-year player that really didn’t get an opportunity to play much in the preseason last year [and] didn’t get an opportunity to play much during the regular season, so these preseason games are valuable to a lot of guys like that.
Q: Are [DT Vance] Walker and [DT Pat] Sims, when they’re healthy, guys that you look to play a majority of the time or are you looking more to rotate tackles?
Coach Allen: Well obviously we haven’t had a lot of time with them, so it’s been hard to evaluate, but my anticipation is that they would be the starters and that they would see significant action. But I think always with the defensive line, the key is to be able to roll through guys and keep them all fresh.
Q: What have you seen, from a development standpoint, from Crawford?
Coach Allen: Well I think he’s improving. Right now we’re trying to figure out exactly what that role is going to be for him. As a first- and second-down end, can he give us something inside as far as pass rush is concerned? That’s something that we’re trying to evaluate as we go through this preseason.
Q: What are your thoughts about taking on the Saints Friday night, one of the most prolific offenses the league’s seen the last couple of years?
Coach Allen: Well obviously it will be a great challenge for us. I think getting a chance to play a team like that, that is the explosive offense that they are, I think it will be a great challenge for us defensively to go against them and kind of get a little bit of a benchmark of where we’re at.Q: We only got to see [P Marquette] King punt once the other night because you only punted two times, and I guess the second one and the third ones are the ones you want to see from him to see if you can keep it up because his one punt was very good. What have you seen from him this camp? Has his consistency improved?
Coach Allen: I’ve seen improvement. I’ve seen his consistency get better and I think that’s a good battle. I think that’s a good competition between him and [P Chris] Kluwe. Marquette, he’s a guy that’s working extremely hard and he’s gotten better. The consistency with him as far as the punts, as far as the get-off times – the little details are the things that we’re still hoping to see him continue to improve. I think the last week or so, I’ve seen a lot of improvement out of him, so I think it’s a nice competition we have going there.
Q: [TE Jeron] Mastrud was getting a lot of time with the ones today, at least in certain packages, what does he bring you?
Coach Allen: I think he gives us a pretty good presence as an in-line blocker. That’s one of the things we want to look at with him. I’ve been pleased overall with the tight end position. We have a lot of talented guys, so we’re going to keep mixing those guys in and out and let them continue to work and let that thing shake out as the preseason goes on.
Coach Allen: Well number one, you can never have enough depth. I’ve been with Usama, so I know exactly what I’m getting out of him. He’s actually improved from the time that I had him there in New Orleans, so I’m glad we have him and he’ll have a role for us this year.
Q: Coach, you said in the past that one of [Charles] Woodson’s job descriptions is leadership. Have you seen that leadership rub off on [Tyvon] Branch on a day like this where Woodson had the day off?
Coach Allen: Yeah, absolutely. Well number one let’s make no mistake about it. Charles is here to play football and make plays for us first. He’s shown that he still has the ability to do that, and then obviously it’s an added bonus to have a guy like that that’s got that type of veteran leadership. I think he’s been a good presence for our defense. He’s been a good presence for our room, for our entire team, and I’m looking forward to seeing him out there on Sundays and seeing him make some plays.
Q: As a whole, how do you see the pass rush developing?Coach Allen: Well we’ve got to continue to improve. It’s not where it needs to be yet, but that’s why we’re in training camp. These guys will have a chance to continue to improve and continue to show what they can do as we go through the rest of these preseason games. I mean we’ve still got three preseason games left to play, so there’s still a long time before we have to open up for the opening game against Indianapolis.