Q: Injury updates?
Coach Allen: Nothing new, other than what we’ve already had.
Coach Allen: He needs to get the reps. It’s football and you don’t just show up and play. Every day he’s not out here, it’s a little bit further behind. He’s been keeping up mentally, as far as taking the mental reps in the meetings. It’s hard to replace those physical reps out here in practice or as you get into games.
Q: Is he close?
Coach Allen: I don’t know. He couldn’t practice today, so I don’t know how long it’s going to be.
Q: Is it a day-to-day type thing?
Coach Allen: Probably more day-to-day, I’m hoping. He’s still not ready to go.
Q: How has
Coach Allen: He’s done well. As a matter of fact, he was competing the whole time. We were impressed with what we’ve seen out of him. Again, we’ve got a ‘next man up’ philosophy. If Wiz is ready to go, great. If he’s not, then it’s next man up. Alex goes in there to play and we expect to see results out of him. He’s given us every indication that we’ll see that.
Q: How much do you concern yourself with the long-term or semi long-term prognosis of a player? And how much is it that you just come to practice and say ‘who have I got today?’
Coach Allen: Well, really at the end of the day, that’s what you do. We’re going to have to go out there and play with whoever is available to go play. Obviously we want all of our guys to be healthy and we want to get the guys back that aren’t, but we’ve got a job to do. We had a job to do today, to get ready for Detroit, and the guys that are healthy and ready to go, we expect them to go out there and perform. That’s the attitude we have.
Q: Do you have a cutoff day, or is it a situation where Wiz isn’t here now so Parsons is most likely the guy?
Coach Allen: There’s no cutoff day. We’re going to evaluate Wiz and we’re going to try to get him back out here as soon as we can. Whenever he’s able to go, then we’ll determine what’s best for us as an offense and gives us the best chance to win.
Q: Back to a regular season format today, first time for this camp. What does that mean to these guys, what does it mean for preparation? How is it different?
Coach Allen: Well, we were preparing more for Detroit, so we got a lot more Detroit looks. Their defensive scheme, a little bit more of a 4-man front. A lot of 8-man fronts. Our offense got ready for that. Obviously, defensively we have to be prepared for [WR] Calvin Johnson is an outstanding player. Obviously, [QB] Matt Stafford is an exceptional quarterback, so we have our hands full on defense. It was just really getting a chance to take a look at the things they like to do and getting ourselves familiar with that.
Q: Is it like a dress rehearsal the whole week, and not just the game itself?
Coach Allen: It’s more of a dress rehearsal, kind of taking the guys through how we’re going to go about game planning for a week, all the way up until game day. We’ve got a little bit more in, from a game-planning standpoint this week than we normally do. We’re still not full game plan, but more than what we’ve done the first two preseason games.
Q: Are the starters going to play more this third game of the season?
Coach Allen: Yeah, they’re going to get out there and get some work. We’ll see how the game goes as far as the number count of plays, but I would anticipate them getting more action.
Q: With [LB] Aaron [Curry] out and with [LB] Miles [Burris] playing such a big role in the linebacker corps, do you anticipate having the defensive line and the defensive backs in some way ‘cover’ for the linebacker corps until they’re able to get more cohesion?
Coach Allen: No, not really. Miles has been with us all throughout OTAs, mini-camp, he’s been with us through the whole training camp. He’s gotten a ton of reps. We’re not going to change a lot of what we do to try to mask anything or cover anything up. He’s coming along. He’s not right where we want him to be yet, but he’s making progress. The good news is we still have a couple weeks before we play a regular season game, so we’ve still got time to get better.
Q: The linebacker corps doesn’t worry you more than any other corps?
Coach Allen: No, it doesn’t worry me any more than anybody else. Same philosophy, it’s next man up. This is Miles’ turn, so step up and make plays. We expect him to do that and that’s what he fully expects to do.
Q: Is [QB Matt] Leinart going to be able to play with his finger?
Coach Allen: He’s fine. He threw the ball a little bit today.
Q: Can he take snaps and hand off?
Coach Allen: That shouldn’t be any issue.
Q: The safeties have been particularly excited about this new defense and the opportunity it gives them. Have you seen that with the play on the field so far?
Coach Allen: Yeah, I think the good thing about our safety position is that we’ve got some speed and athleticism there. Again, our job as coaches is to find out what our guys do well, put them in those positions and ask them to do those things and limit the time you ask them to do things they’re not as good at. Those are a couple guys that are athletic, that can do a lot of different things. So we’re going to try to use them that way.
Q: What has been [CB Shawntae] Spencer’s progression from the beginning of camp? Started out that he had a couple of rough days early, and it’s seemed like he’s been pretty steady since.
Coach Allen: Really, that’s the way he’s been. That’s what you get when you get a pro like that. It’s just like everybody else. He went through a couple of days, started to get a little dead legs, and didn’t move around as good. Then, all of a sudden, he got a day off here and there and he got his body back and now he’s really been steady for us.
Q: What have you seen so far to make you think that this year is going to be different in stopping the run?
Coach Allen: It’s no different than any other year, when you understand what your job is, what your responsibility is, and you do your job, then we’ll stop the run. If we get undisciplined in our gap control, then that’s where you get crease. Our guys have done a pretty good job of understanding where they fit in the run game, and how we’re trying to make the ball go where we want it to go, and they have a good feel for that right now. It’s still a work in progress; we’ve still got to get better. But, I’ve been happy with some of the improvement.
Q: The key word there being discipline. You feel like there’s more gap control discipline?
Coach Allen: Well that’s the only way you play run defense. It’s gap control defense, it’s eliminate space in your defense. Those are the things that we continue to harp on and continue to try to get better at.
Q: Back at the beginning of camp,
Coach Allen: He’s improving. Everybody is going to lead in their own way, and it’s hard for guys… I don’t expect him to change what his personality is, but I expect him to handle the job that we ask him to handle. Part of that is, he’s got to be able to stand in front of those guys, communicate in the huddle, he’s got to be the guy that makes a lot of the checks and adjustments once we line up. In that regard, he’s been what we want him to be. If he continues to improve, he’ll have a good year.
Q: Who’s going to take Jacoby’s [Ford] spot at wideout for this game?
Coach Allen: This game it’ll be [WR]
Q: Still hopeful that [WR Denarius] Moore is back Week 1?
Coach Allen: Yeah.
Q: He looks like he’s on pace?
Coach Allen: He’s making progress. He was a little bit better today than he was yesterday. As long as there’s no setbacks, I’m hoping to have him back out here sooner rather than later.
Q: How is Taiwan [Jones] after getting his first work in and then getting a day off?
Coach Allen: It was good. He still looked good today. Every day he’s able to put a good day back-to-back, that’s better for us.
Q: Do you anticipate trying to get him the ball more in the upcoming game?
Coach Allen: Well yeah. I don’t know if we get him any more than we potentially would have gotten him, but obviously we’ll get him more than he has gotten in the last couple of games.
Q: How’s it going in the zone blocking scheme?
Coach Allen: It’s not going any different than what I would have anticipated. At times, it’s really good and we have some explosive runs. Then, at times we don’t execute the technique exactly right or we don’t target exactly right and it’s not as good. I’ve spent enough years in the League watching this running scheme, and I’ve got all the confidence in the world in the scheme and our players’ ability to execute it, that when the time comes, we’ll be able to run the football.
Q: Is there any particular leap that the linemen have to make, like a big guy wants to play a certain way naturally, but in this scheme he has to hold back in some way?
Coach Allen: It’s an aggressive scheme. It’s not a sit back and catch kind of scheme. That’s a misnomer about the zone blocking scheme. Conceptually, it’s a way of blocking, but we’re still looking for tough football players that are going to knock people off the ball.
Q: Is that Andre Carter out there?
Coach Allen: Yeah.
Q: Is it just a look? Do you have a need there?
Coach Allen: We’re going to shake all the bushes and see what falls out. If we feel like we’ve got something that can help us, we’re going to do it.