Q: Who’s going to be your left guard? Lucas [Nix] if he’s healthy?
Coach Allen: Well we’ll see. We’ll see how he does tomorrow. I mean he practiced today, which is a step in the right direction. We’ll see how he goes tomorrow—how he responds to getting the work today. We’ll make that decision after we get a chance to look at him tomorrow.
Q: If he’s healthy is he your guy?
Coach Allen: We’ll see. It just depends on what his health is. Is he full health, or is he almost full health?
Q: You said he was limited. Did he take any team reps? Did he work with the first team?
Coach Allen: Yeah. Yeah, really you work your first team most during the week anyways, so he did get some reps.
Q: The 49ers have a pretty big issue on their hands with Aldon [Smith]. He got arrested today. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about it yet. They’ve had issues with him and a couple of other guys over the last couple of years. Since you got here, you guys have done a whale of a job keeping guys in line. What is the key to that? What is the message that you give these guys? When something like this happens do you use it as a message to the guys?
Coach Allen: Yeah, well obviously you try to—and I don’t know the situation that you’re talking about—but you obviously try to work with your guys all the time about making sure that they understand the lime-light that they’re in and their responsibility not only to themselves but to the football team. We talk a lot about that. Things come up, and you’ve got to deal with things. We’ll continue to work in that direction. We try to do a good job of being accountable and being responsible both on the field and off the field.
Q: Is the interior pass rush with a guy like Peyton [Manning] going to be more important than other weeks? How does it affect what he does if you’re able to get pressure through the middle?
Coach Allen: Well there’s no question that you’ve got to be able to try to affect Peyton in the pocket somehow some way. We’ve got a few different things that we’re going to try to work on to get some pressure on him. You’ve got to hopefully get some pressure to make him move and hopefully make him make an inaccurate throw. It’s obviously a lot easier said than done. He’s played a long time in this league. He’s done it at an extremely high level. I think we all understand what the challenges are that we face in facing a quarterback of his caliber. Sometimes you do some things, and he’s still able to make a great throw. Our deal is we’re just going to have to keep playing. He’s going to make some plays, and we’re going to have to move on to the next play and try to respond.
Q: There’s so much attention paid to Peyton Manning—right fully so, but how would you describe the running game? Knowshon Moreno is back in the mix and they have some other new runners on the team.
Coach Allen: I’ve said it all along. This is a well rounded offense. It’s not just them dropping back and throwing the ball all the time. They do a great job up front. They understand how they’re trying to run the ball with the zone-scheme run that they’re running. I think their runners do a good job of being able to run behind that zone-scheme and being able to create some yards. It’s a tough challenge. It’s hard to load the box and stop the run because then you make it a little bit easier on Peyton. Then when you unload the box and try to play a little bit more coverage, they’re able to run the ball effectively. It’s tough. We’ll have to mix and match fronts and mix and match coverages to try to attack them.
Q: Are you leaning toward having [Brandian] Ross be the primary strong safety?
Coach Allen: Yeah, we’re leaning in that direction. He’s gotten most of the reps. Usama [Young] will play in the game, but it looks like we’ll go with Ross to take Tyvon [Branch’s] spot.
Q: How do you not get caught up in a game like this where you feel like you have to hold on to the ball and cash it in every time you’re on offense? Do you go into it thinking that?
Coach Allen: I think you understand there’s a formula for beating this team. We’ve talked about what that formula is and what we have to do to accomplish that goal. Really what it’s going to boil down to is our ability to execute that plan. I think we all understand what the plan is. Now we’ve got to go out, and when the players get between the white lines they’ve got to be able to execute that plan. When we get opportunities to make plays we’ve got to take advantage of it.