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News

Coach Allen Day 5

Posted Jul 30, 2013

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Tuesday's practice at Training Camp 2013, presented by California National Guard.

Opening Statement: “Updates on injuries: Obviously, Latavius Murray didn’t practice today. Conner Vernon, Alex Parsons, and Stacy McGee were injured during practice. Obviously, some of those are starting to mount up a little bit. I think the day off tomorrow will be good for our guys. They’ve worked extremely hard. They’re out here battling, they’re playing physical, and they’re doing the things that we’re asking them to do. But, we can’t concern ourselves with the injuries. We’ve got to keep moving forward. We’ve got a team that we’re getting ready to play, and we’re going to coach the heck out of the guys who are out here and we’ll go from there, but first we’ve got to start getting some guys healthy.”

Coach, top to bottom, overall assessment of the first week?

Coach Allen: “Overall, it’s been a good week. When you start training camp, what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to develop the culture of your team; you’re trying to develop the foundation of what you want to be as a football team. I think we’re playing a physical brand of football, and we’re working that way and we’re going to continue to do that.”

What do you expect and hope the players do on their day off tomorrow?

Coach Allen: “I hope they rest and recover their bodies. But I hope they stay in the playbook and pay attention to what we’re doing because I know we get a day off from practice, but really in the National Football League, there are no days off. I expect them to be ready and come out and practice and execute when we come back on Thursday.”

How much separation, if any, have you seen from the quarterbacks in the first week?

Coach Allen: “It’s playing out like I expected. I think Matt Flynn’s been pretty consistent. Terrelle Pryor does some really nice things at times. I think he’s improved as a football player and as a passer. As well, Tyler Wilson and Matt McGloin made some plays. I think those guys are doing exactly what we want them to do – keep competing, keep playing, and don’t worry about the depth chart. Just worry about getting yourself better.”

What have you seen from some of these young defensive backs that are on the team?

Coach Allen: “I’m pleased with the defensive back group overall. The good thing we have with that group is that we have a mixture of some young, talented players, as well as some veteran leadership back there. So I think that it’s an improved group. I’m anxious to see when we get some of these young guys in preseason games and see how they respond.”

Coach, what’s your impression of the receiving core? And do you have a possession receiver or a go-to receiver at this point?

Coach Allen: “No, I don’t think we have a go-to guy yet. That’s what we’re trying to develop. And I’ve said this before, but I’m waiting for somebody to really jump out and say that they’re going to be the guy. We’ve got a talented group, we’ve got a young group, and they’re working hard. It’s going to be a work in progress, but we’ve got until September to figure that out.

Cory Nelms seems to be around the ball a lot. Do some guys just have that knack to do it?

Coach Allen: “I think Cory’s worked extremely hard to put himself in position to make some plays. He’s worked in at corner, he’s worked in at safety and having that kind of versatility always helps players, as well as his ability to play special teams. So he, like a lot of guys, that are in his position, they’re fighting and battling to find a spot on the roster. The more you can do, the better it’s going to be for you.”

It seemed like David Bass, the other day, was able to pressure the quarterback a couple of times and then made a couple more plays out there today, what have you seen from him so far?

Coach Allen: “That’s what I’ve seen. When we looked at him in the draft, one of the things we saw was his ability to rush the passer. So that’s something that we’re going to count on. He’s going to have to continue to improve in the run game and continue to understand how to play the NFL game. He comes from a small school, so there’s a big learning curve for him, but he’s got some athletic ability, he’s got some pass rushing ability.”

What do you think of Tony Bergstrom playing left guard and how much of a plus, in a strange way, is it for Lucas Nix to be out to give Bergstrom more time to be out there?

Coach Allen: “You’ve got to look for your opportunities. He and Nix have been rotating in and out and when Nix is down, we need somebody else to step up. So this is an opportunity for him to step up and try to take advantage of that opportunity.”

Did the receiving corps get off to a slower start then you anticipated and are they showing signs of improvement?

Coach Allen: “I think they’ve shown signs of improvement. The first couple of days of camp, I think drops were an issue. They’ve improved in that regard. But again, this training camp and a process and what I’m looking for is continued improvement throughout training camp and throughout the preseason.”

Any update on Miles Burris?

Coach Allen: “I don’t foresee him being out here for the next few days. Hopefully we’ll be able to get him out here soon.”

Is there a story with the silver jerseys, coach?

Coach Allen: “We talk a lot about competition and we’re going to compete. There will be practices throughout training camp where we’ll put the jerseys up for grabs and the side of the ball that competes the best is the side of the ball that wins. Because at the end of the day, we’re judged on winning and losing, and we had a competition day the other day and the offense won the jersey. Defense is fighting to get it back.”

Has there been a process that you’ve seen of David Ausberry growing into a tight end? He was a 240-pound wide receiver and now he’s up to 260-something. His agility and such seems like it may have dropped off a little bit last year as he got bigger, but has he grown into that now more, you think?

Coach Allen: “When you look at David Ausberry, the concern with David Ausberry has nothing to do with the physical ability. It’s really a lot more about the mental aspect of the game – understanding how to play the tight end position. We always knew that he had receiving talent. Where he’s improved the most is, number one, he’s been a lot better on his assignments and number two, is his ability to block both in the run game and in pass protection.”

One week in, are you pretty encouraged with the conditioning you’ve seen from your team?

Coach Allen: “Yeah. I think the guys came in in relatively good shape and I think that’s the process that you go through as you go through training camp. It’s really probably not as much about the physical conditioning as it is just the mental conditioning, being able to push yourself through.”

What did you see from Jason Hunter that you liked in Denver? He was hurt fairly early on in your tenure; you just had him for one training camp?

Coach Allen: “No, he played for us. Jason is a guy who loves football and he enjoys competing. He likes the physical aspect of the game and he’s one of those guys that you’re not begging Jason to come out here and play. You’re not begging Jason to get the pads on. He was the most excited guy on our football team, knowing we were going to put the pads on and start hitting a little bit. I think he’s a guy that has that sort of lunch-pail mentality. Just goes to work every day and does his job.”

As far as the run defense, is he [Hunter] a guy that you can count on to set a physical edge and do his thing?

Coach Allen: “Yeah. That was one of the things that we thought in Denver and obviously that’s one of the reason we brought him here because we feel like he’s a solid run defender. This is a guy that’s going to give us a little bit in pass rush too.”

In terms of the communication level on defense, have you been pleased with how they’ve been so far or are their issues to still work out?

Coach Allen: “Well, there’s always issues and that’s going to continue. I think as these guys continue to get a feel for each other, continue to hangout out here, continue to talk, continue to go into meetings and understand exactly what we’re trying to get done. I think the communication is going to continue to get better. The positive thing is they understand the importance of it and they want to be good, and they’re working extremely hard to get that done.”

What’s the next step for Denarius Moore? What’s the next step in his progression?

Coach Allen: “Make the plays that we want him to make. He’s going to have to go up and make the contested plays, and he’s going to have to make sure that he doesn’t have those concentration drops that he had at times last year. Again, it’s as much about the mental part of it as it is the physical part of it. To be the go-to guy, you’ve got to see yourself as the go-to guy, and we’ve got to develop a swagger with the players on this team. There’s got to be a vision and a belief that they’re good football players and that they can get the job done.”

What are your observations of DJ Hayden after your first couple of days here?

Coach Allen: “I think he’s rusty. I’ve seen some really good things; he’s a very talented athlete. He’s a little bit behind because of what he missed in the offseason program, but I like the way he works, and I like his mindset. He’s not one of those first-round draft picks that feels like he’s entitled. He’s a first-round draft choice that wants to come in and wants to prove himself. That’s what I like about him.”

Is there a goal for him [Hayden] as far as getting him into a game or contact? Do you have a goal in mind?

Coach Allen: “I don’t know if we necessarily have a goal in mind. My anticipation is that at some point in the preseason, he’s going to be cleared to go full contact. And really at the end of the day, that’s a doctor’s decision. And once he gets fully cleared by the doctor’s for full contact, I think mentally he’s ready to roll.”