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News

Coach Allen Monday

Posted Aug 26, 2013

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Monday's practice as the Raiders get ready to head to face the Seahawks Thursday night.

Opening Statement: Alright injury updates, really no chance in anybody other than getting Kaluka Maiava back out there today. We’ll evaluate how he responds after practice. If he responds well today and tomorrow, then we’ll put him in the game on Thursday night.

Q: It looked like Tyvon [Branch] was back out there today. Did he not practice?

Coach Allen: Oh yeah, I’m sorry. Tyvon was back out there today. Tyvon was back out there practicing. He moved around fine. It looked like he was good.

Q: Would you be inclined to not play [Tyvon Branch] or do you not know yet?

Coach Allen: We’ll wait and see. Kind of like Kaluka [Maiava], we’ll wait and see how he does over the next couple of days, but I think if he’s fine, then I’m playing him.

Q: Do you expect Darren [McFadden] to be ready for Week One?

Coach Allen: Absolutely

Q: Will Darren [McFadden] play in [the Seattle] game?

Coach Allen: I don’t know yet. We’ll wait and see.

Q: Have you worked out a rotation at all yet?

Coach Allen: We haven’t talked about that at all yet. We have a pretty good idea of what we’re going to do, but we haven’t sat down as a staff and discussed that yet. I would expect the majority of the starters to play in the game.

Q: How did [Menelik] Watson do today?

Coach Allen: He did OK. Listen, he’s a rookie playing over there on the left side for the first time. He did some good things, but he’s also got a lot of things to work on. That’ll be the challenge moving forward with him, but he’s an athletic guy. He’s got a lot of talent. He just needs to work. I mean, that was his first padded practice that he’s been through since he’s been with us, so there’s a lot of work to be done with him.

Q: What is it about [Menelik Watson] that would cause you to do this? I mean with this minimal practice, in that environment in Seattle one week before the regular season, to put him on the left side no less, what is it about him that’s making you go ahead and give it a try?

Coach Allen: Well I think we obviously drafted him high because we think he’s a good player. He’s got a lot of potential, and at some point we’ve got to find out about this guy. We feel like that’s the best option, for us to go ahead and put him over on that left side, and let’s see what he can do.

Q: You said he’s never played left tackle before. Is that as big of a job as that seems, or is that not a big deal to you as far as experience on that side?

Coach Allen: Well obviously that’s something you’ve got to consider, but again when you look at where we took this guy and you look at the roster and you look at his potential, I feel like that’s the right thing to do. Put him over there and see how he does in the game. We won’t know until we put him in a game and get a chance to evaluate him. We haven’t had that opportunity yet.

Q: To what do you attribute Terrelle [Pryor’s] growth in the preseason? Do you think it’s all the work he did in the offseason, the new offense or a little bit of both?

Coach Allen: Well I think it’s probably a combination of those things. He’s put a lot of work in during the offseason. He wants to be really good, and he’s got some talent. He’s done some nice things in the preseason. He’s still got a lot of work to do. I think he understands that, but the thing that he brings is he does bring an element of that athleticism that allows him to get out of trouble sometimes and make plays with his feet. I think, and I’ve said this all along about Terrelle, Terrelle works extremely hard. I think any time you’ve got a talented player that works extremely hard, he’s got a chance to get better.

Q: How tight is this quarterback competition, and when do you expect to make a decision?

Coach Allen: We’ll I’m not going to put a timetable on it. Obviously we open up in 13 days. That’s coming sooner rather than later. I think it’s been a good competition. We’ve got a couple of options there that are going to give us a chance.

Q: When Terrelle [Pryor] is on the field, how does that change the dynamic of the offense? Do receivers make adjustments?

Coach Allen: I don’t think it’s a big issue as far as a receiver making an adjustment. The thing that Terrelle brings is he brings some athleticism. We’re going to put him in there on Thursday night against Seattle, and we’re going to give him an opportunity to show what he can do.

Q: How many series will he play?

Coach Allen: I don’t know the answer to that yet.

Q: Do you expect Seattle to play a lot of their starters?

Coach Allen: I have no idea what they’re going to do.

Q: Do you think [Seattle] will be a good test?

Coach Allen: Well yeah, they’re a good football team. I’ve had the opportunity to go and play there a few times. It’s a tough environment, and that’s a really good football team. Yes, I think it will be a good test.

Q: A lot of teams have most things settled by that fourth preseason game. It seems like you guys still have a lot of questions going into this fourth game.

Coach Allen: Again, we’re going to use the fourth game as an evaluation process. I don’t think that evaluation process ends for a lot of teams. I think a lot of guys want to continue to evaluate, and we’re going to continue to do that. We’re going to play these guys, and then after that game we have to get down to 53. We’ll have to make sure we pick to right 53 guys.

Q: Are you heading towards [Jacoby] Ford being your primary kick return guy?

Coach Allen: Well that’s the way we’ll start out the game, but yeah. I think when you look at his career and what he’s done as a kick returner and what he did the other night, obviously I think he can give us something in that area.

Q: Is there something with his [Jacoby Ford] injury history that may concern you with him fitting into that role?

Coach Allen: Well, listen, you can never look into the future and know exactly what’s going to happen. Obviously you have concerns when guys have an injury history, but we can’t look at that and make all of our decisions based off that. We’ve got to pick the right 53 guys for this football team, and when he’s been out there, he’s done some good things that I think can help this football team.

Q: How did Lamarr Houston play against Chicago?

Coach Allen: I thought he was rusty. I don’t think that was his best effort. And that just goes to show you that it’s hard to play this game when you don’t get a chance to practice, you don’t get a chance to work at it, so I’m looking forward to seeing some improvement out of him Thursday night, and as we go into the regular season.

Q: Is he [Lamarr Houston] the key to your pass rush on that side of the line?

Coach Allen: Well, I think he’s demonstrated that he’s got the best ability as a rusher; he’s a little bit more of a power rusher than he is a speed rusher. But I really think he’s a guy that can help getting some pressure on the quarterback.

Q: Between [Jay] Cutler and [Drew] Brees, both of them had a lot of time. I know you want to get more pressure on the quarterback, but are there still a lot of things you’re not showing yet, or do you expect a better pass rush?

Coach Allen: Yeah. We’ve been fairly vanilla in what we’ve done really on both sides of the ball in the preseason. We did game plan a little bit more for Chicago, but we still have a lot of things in our back pocket that we haven’t done.

Q: What are some areas that still concern you as you’re winding down and getting closer to the season that you think still need improvement?

Coach Allen:  Well, I think we’ve still got to improve a few positions. You know, offensive line is a position that we’ve got to continue to try and improve, and try to develop some of these young guys with [Lucas] Nix, with [Tony] Bergstrom, with Menelik Watson. And then I think also on the defensive line. I think that’s another area that we’ve got to continue to look to improve.

Q: What are you hoping to see out of the receivers? I know [Brice] Butler and [Rod] Streater are out, but you guys still don’t have a number one target. Are you hoping to see someone step up in the fourth preseason game?

Coach Allen: Yeah. You want to see somebody jump out and be a bright spot. I think that overall at the receiver position, I’ve been pretty pleased with where we’re at from a receiver standpoint. I think that all of them have a little something different that they can bring to the table, and I think we have a solid receiving core.

Q: Before [Kaluka] Maiava went out with his injury, he was pretty much splitting time with Kevin Burnett. Do you expect him to jump right back into doing that, or because of the time he’s missed are you going to have him sit back and wait?

Coach Allen: We’ll find out more the more we get a chance to watch him, but when it comes time to determining who those starting three linebackers are, we’ll have to wait and see how that develops after the Seattle game.

Q: Do you expect Tracy Porter to be ready to play?

Coach Allen: Tracy should be ready. He’s practiced the last two days.

Q: What have you seen out of Mychal Rivera so far?

Coach Allen: You know, I’ve seen a guy that does a pretty good job in the passing game. I think he’s got a pretty good feel for what we’re asking him to do in the passing game. He’s a guy that’s got to continue to work on his blocking. He’s improved his block … We’ve got some guys on this team who can turn into good NFL football players and he’s one of them.

Q: Are you keeping DJ [Hayden] on the first team as one of the outside cornerback slots, maybe having Tracy [Porter] in the nickel? In a perfect world is that how you’d play during the regular season?

Coach Allen: Yeah, we’ll move Tracy to the inside and play DJ on the outside. That’s probably the direction we’ll go.

Q: Is there a timeline for Matt Flynn, as far as the rest? Is it a week off or day-to-day you check-in how he’s feeling?

Coach Allen: Yeah, well we won’t play him this week, so we’ll reevaluate after this week and see where he’s at.

Q: What have you seen so far out of Kaelin Burnett?

Coach Allen: Kaelin is one of those young guys, and we’ve asked him to do a whole lot of different stuff. With some of the injuries we’ve had at the linebacker position, he’s had to play all three positions: Sam, Mike, Will; both the Mike and the Will in the nickel. But he’s a guy that’s got some athleticism, a guy that can run. He’s still learning the game. He’s still got a lot of developing that he needs to do, but he’s another one of those young players that I think has a chance to develop.

Q: How important is this evaluation period on a guy like Kaluka [Maiava], where you’ve seen him play for other teams. He’s not new to the league, but at the same time you haven’t seen him in your scheme. How crucial is this little period of time?

Coach Allen: Well, I think it’s important. I’ve got a pretty good feel in what we have with Kaluka, but I do want to see him go out and play, and I’m hopeful that he’ll have an opportunity to do that on Thursday night.

Q: Was Matt Flynn’s ineffectiveness because of his elbow issues?

Coach Allen: I don’t know that that was a major factor. As a team, I don’t think that we performed the way we needed to perform the other night.

Q: Will Tyler Wilson play in this game?

Coach Allen: I think Tyler will probably play in this game, yes.