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News

Coach Allen Talks About Jets, Personnel

Posted Sep 2, 2014

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Tuesday's practice as the Raiders get ready to open the season against the New York Jets.

Opening Statement: “Today we got into kind of a normal routine as far as practice is concerned, getting ready for the Jets. Like I said yesterday, I think it’s a great challenge for us. It’s a good football team that we’re playing. They’re well coached. They play hard. They execute well. Again, it’ll be tough going all the way to the East Coast to open up the season, but I think our guys are up for the challenge.”

Q: When did you decide you would fly out a day early on Thursday?

Coach Allen: “It was just something that we looked at during the offseason and I wanted to do something different to give us an opportunity to maybe get our bodies right for the East Coast time. I also thing going there as a group and having the opportunity to kind of bond there in the hotel, I thought was a good idea. We did something similar to that when I was with New Orleans and we were displaced with a hurricane and we went up to Indianapolis for a week, practicing in Indianapolis, and then came back to New Orleans to play an opening game. It’s something that we’ve done something similar before, in the past, and I wanted to try this.”

Q: Is this something that you can do because it’s the first game of the season, or is this something you could possibly do later this year in the Eastern time zone?

Coach Allen: “The plan, as of right now, is that this would be a one-time thing for the opening game. It kind of works out that way, with players’ days off and that type of stuff. But certainly, if it’s effective, that’s something that we can consider later in the year.”

Q: Do you think that the whole body clock thing has been a factor?

Coach Allen: “I don’t know whether it is or not, but in my mind, the definition of insanity is keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result. To me, it’s something different. It’s trying something new. We’re trying to find every small little advantage that we can that will give us an opportunity to play well. We’ll see how it goes.”

Q: You guys have been high on Derek Carr for a long, long time. Can you recall when you first became aware of him in terms of scouting and started thinking this guy’s a really good quarterback?

Coach Allen: “The first time I saw him was at the Senior Bowl. In my mind, he was by far and away the best quarterback that was at the Senior Bowl. You could really see his ability to throw the football. That was obvious. His athletic skill was obvious. What you didn’t really know was what he is personality-wise. We didn’t really know what his intelligence level was, or at least I didn’t know what his intelligence level was at that point in time. We had an opportunity throughout the scouting process, us as coaches, to be able to spend a little bit of time with him, get to know him personally, as well as have him in some meetings and put him through some X’s and O’s things on the board. After going through that whole process, it was evident to us that he was very mature for his age and that he had a very good understanding of offensive football. He had a good understanding of protections. I’m sure a lot of that had to do with his relationship with his brother. That was kind of where we first noticed it and then obviously, since he’s been here, he’s continued to get better and better, really, in all areas.”

Q: Was his brother part of the process? Did you guys talk to him, too?

Coach Allen: “No, we didn’t spend a lot of time talking with David. It was more just getting a chance to know Derek, kind of what makes him tick, and then just where he is from a mental standpoint. We felt very comfortable with it.”

Q: Stefen Wisniewski said that he and Derek roomed together in Napa. Was that something you wanted, to put him with ‘Wiz’?

Coach Allen: “We’ve tried to do everything we could to try to hopefully expedite his development and his progression as a quarterback. I don’t know if that was a factor or not, but that was something that we did. I think it was good.”

Q: You mentioned how good of a coach Rex Ryan is in going after a rookie quarterback. How do you get Derek ready to see a defense like the Jets will present?

Coach Allen: “Part of it is getting Derek ready to see the Jets’ defense and we understand Rex Ryan’s mindset and how he likes to be aggressive and come after the quarterback. We all understand that. But really, we need some other players to step up and make some plays. That’s what happened in the game the other night, some guys stepped up and made some plays. That’s why it’s never about one guy. I mean, obviously, the quarterback position is a very critical position. But it’s not about one guy. It’s about 11 guys going out there and executing their job and making the plays that they have an opportunity to make. That’s what we need to do on Sunday to have a chance to be successful.”

Q: It seems that Schaub was throwing less today at practice. Is he still the No. 2 for Sunday?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, that’s the plan as of right now. We’re still working him in. It was a while since he had really thrown, so we’re kind of working him in and we’ll evaluate him as the week goes on. The plan is for him to be the backup quarterback.”

Q: Is his arm healthy? Is he 100 percent back from the elbow soreness?

Coach Allen: “I mean, I don’t know if it’s 100 percent. I can’t give you a number, but just watching him the last couple of days in practice, it seems like he’s throwing the ball pretty well.”

Q: Why is Chimdi Chekwa still not back?

Coach Allen: “He did not practice today.”

Q: Was Taiwan Jones limited or full go?

Coach Allen: “Taiwan was limited as far as the number of reps that he took, but the number of reps and the reps that he took were full go. So I anticipate him being up and ready to go in the game.”

Q: Is Nick Roach ascending in the concussion protocol?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, he’s going to go back and go through some more of the protocol today. Exactly where he’s at, I’m not 100 percent sure. It’s really kind of a subjective type of test. He still has some symptoms, but for my understanding, those things can be there one day and then not the next. So we’re going to take him one day at a time and see where he’s at. We hope that he’ll be ready.”

Q: How did David Ausberry respond to being out at practice the past two days?

Coach Allen: “I thought he did well. He was limited a little bit in practice yesterday. Again, it was more along the lines of limited as far as the reps that he took, but the reps that he took were full speed. I think all signs are pointing that he’ll be ready to go this weekend.”

Q: Is Menelik Watson’s health a factor in this offensive line shuffle that you’ve done with Gabe Jackson and Khalif Barnes?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, I think that’s a factor in it. We’ve said all along that we feel like we’ve got a good group of guys in the offensive line, that we’ve got some depth, we’ve got some versatility. When you really look at it with Menelik kind of not being [at] full health for the last couple of preseason games and Khalif Barnes, who we felt like played really well throughout the preseason – but we also felt the same way with Gabe. We thought he played really well and was deserving the opportunity to get out there and play. Right now, that’s our top five and that’s where that versatility fits in for us, because we’ve got guys that can go in and play different positions.”

Q: Can you talk about Barnes? He just seems so resilient. He can mix and match and always seems to be in that starting five.

Coach Allen: “What makes a guy like him so valuable is because whatever we ask him to do, he’s going to go out there and execute it to the best of his ability. Everything we’ve asked him to do, he’s gone out there and done a good job. Last year was starting out at right tackle and we moved him over to left tackle, and he played inside at guard, and then this year we started him out at guard and now we’ve moved him back out to right tackle. His versatility, it’s something that when you go to bed at night, you feel good about having a guy like that that can play a lot of different positions.”

Q: Not just in the past 24 hours or so, but even throughout training camp and since Carr’s been here, how have you seen the guys rally around him?

Coach Allen: “Listen, our guys are going to support whoever we put back there at the quarterback position and our guys’ responsibility, our players’ responsibility, is to go out there and perform and perform at a high level. But I do think that they’ve responded well to Derek. I think they all understand the talent that he is as a quarterback and I think they’re excited about him having an opportunity to go out there and play.”

Q: What influence have you seen Justin Tuck have with some of the younger defensive linemen?

Coach Allen: “I think Justin, as well as some of the other guys – you talk specifically about the D-line with Justin, Antonio [Smith] and LaMarr Woodley being three veteran players that we brought in here – I think they’ve done a great job with the guys in that room and trying to help them from a development standpoint, understanding some of the certain techniques that can help them to be successful. And also, understanding some of the keys and clues that you look into pre-snap to give you an idea of what the offense is going to do. That was part of the reason why we brought in so many veteran players, is to help develop some of these young guys to be the foundation for our future.”

Q: As far as Tuck’s skill set and ability to still play and dominate, that’s all still there from what you’ve seen in the preseason?

Coach Allen: “Absolutely. He can still play at a high level and I think he’s prime for a really good year.”

Q: With Chekwa out, is it going to be Carrie or Thorpe playing in the slot?

Coach Allen: TJ Carrie would be the next guy in the game.”

Q: You guys claimed Benson Mayowa. What are your impressions of him?

Coach Allen: “Obviously, we’re kind of throwing him into the fire a little bit in trying to learn what we’re doing from a defensive standpoint. But he was a guy, really, that kind of jumped off the tape at us last year and he ended up making their roster last year. Then what we saw this year from him, I see an athletic defensive end that has some pass rush ability. He can still play pretty stout. Really, I think a guy that in my mind, hopefully, can be a guy that can get in the rotation and help rush the passer.”

Q: Is he a special teams guy?

Coach Allen: “He was that way in Seattle. It’s rare that you get a guy – and I think that’s why you can kind of make the swap for a defensive lineman for a linebacker, because not only can he play defensive end, but he can also help us on special teams.”