Q: Any chance McFadden’s back this week?
Coach Allen: “I’d say there’s a chance, but I don’t know how good that chance is. I think we’ll see. A lot of it is probably is if he’s able to do anything tomorrow would be a good sign. If not, it’s probably doubtful.”
Q: So you expect him to play before the season is over?
Coach Allen: “I don’t know. We’ll see. He’s getting closer. Again, we’re right at the end, so either he’s going to be able to go or not and that’ll be something we’ll continue to evaluate.”
Q: How much was Denarius able to do?
Coach Allen: “I thought he moved around pretty good. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him after practice to see how he was feeling, but I thought he did some pretty good things out there and was able to be functional. It’s a matter of how does he respond tomorrow and if he continues to respond positively, then I think there’s a chance he could be available Sunday.”
Q: Is there full mobility in the shoulder?
Coach Allen: “I don’t know if I can answer that question. I don’t really know that. Like I said, he was out there running around and catching footballs. I didn’t see a lot of limitation.”
Q: In the four most recent losses you’ve had, the third-down problems are well over 50 percent. And the one game you won, Houston was like 2-for-16. Is there a common denominator in what the problems are on third down? Is it tackling, coverage or both?
Coach Allen: “Listen, I think it really boils down to those teams out-executed us in those particular situations. That’s an area that we had made … We didn’t start out the year playing great third-down defense. We went through a stretch in the middle of the year where we played pretty good and then we’ve gone through a stretch in these last four games or at least three of the last four games where we haven’t been as good on third down. I think that’s the difference between being able to win these games and not and staying on the field a lot longer on defense. It’s been an area of emphasis and it’s going to continue to be an area of emphasis because we need to be able to get off the field on third down. When we do, we’ve played pretty good defense. When we haven’t, we’ve struggled. That’s an area that we have to get better at.”
Q: You guys have done a good job the last few years on Jamaal Charles. What have you been able to do to limit him?
Coach Allen: “Again, I think the biggest thing is, number one, you have to understand where he is on the field at all times. A lot of times you face these runners that are just effective at running backs but they don’t give you a whole lot in the passing game. This is a guy that in both areas, he’s extremely explosive. Number one, we have to understand where he’s at. They do a lot of different things with him. They get him the ball out of the backfield. They also flex him out. He really runs routes like a wide receiver out there when he gets out there wide. We have to understand the things they like to do with him and how they want to get him the ball. When they do get him the ball, we have to get 11 hats around the ball because, as with all great running backs, it’s hard for the first guy to get him on the ground all the time. It’s going to take a great effort, a swarming effort, by our defense. We’re going to have to play really fast and really aggressive.”
Q: Tamba Hali has been pretty good against this team, even against Jared [Veldheer] in the past. Why is it that he seems to be so effective?
Coach Allen: “He’s a good player. He’s a Pro Bowl player. And generally those guys that are Pro Bowl players, they affect the game. They’re tough to block. I think when you look at their defense overall, I think they’re solid all the way through. I think their front is very stout. Their linebackers are very aggressive and they’ve got a great pass rush and I think they do a good job in coverage with the guys that they have back there. They like to be aggressive. They like to play a lot of man-to-man type of coverages so it’ll be important for us to be able to win our one-on-one match-ups on the edges and we’ll have to do a great job in protection against these guys.”
Coach Allen: “No, listen, as you go through a season, you’re going to have some ups and downs. You’re going to have some games where you don’t play as well as you do in others. I thought he made progress in the Jets game. Obviously, they did a better job of getting the ball out a little quicker so getting to the quarterback was a little harder to do in that game. But I’m pleased with where Lamarr is at. He’s got to continue to work and continue to play and he will. I think he’s done a great job for us this year and I expect for him to finish out the season strong.”
Q: Two weeks of practice for Tyvon, does it look like he might actually get into the game this weekend?
Coach Allen: “I don’t know. I think it’s still questionable about whether he’ll be able to go or not.”
Q: What makes their return game so good?
Coach Allen: “Two things – I think they do a great job of blocking. I think, obviously, their special teams coordinator’s done a great job in the league. They did a great job when he was there in Chicago. They understand what they’re doing and I think they have some explosive returners. When you do a good job of blocking, and I think sometimes when you have those explosive returners like that, I think there’s a little bit of a sense of urgency of the guys up front to block for them because they know at any point in time they could spring one. When you look at this team and some of the things that are a maybe a little bit hidden, they’ve scored I think it’s 10 non-offensive touchdowns, miscellaneous touchdowns, whether it be fumble recoveries, interception returns, punt or kickoff returns and those are areas we have to make sure we’re on point on those because those are the things that turn a game around. So we have to do a great job with our coverage units of taking their returners out of the game.”
Q: How important is it for you guys to get a win against a real quality team? I don’t think you’ve had a win against a team with a winning record the last two years. To take out a team that’s 9-3, 10-3, on its way to the playoffs, what would that do for the program?
Coach Allen: “I think that would be a huge step for us. I don’t think we can get too much focused on that. I think we just have to really about … We have to go out and execute our responsibilities and do the things that we’re capable of doing and if we’re able to do that and we’re able to do that for four quarters, then we’ll see how the game turns out. But I think we really have to focus a lot more on what doing and the things we have to do to try to be successful on Sunday.”
Q: You guys had a lot of success early in the season with disguised looks on defense and blitzes. Do you think teams have kind of caught up a little bit with you guys in terms of that?
Coach Allen: “I don’t know whether teams have caught up. Obviously, we haven’t been as effective in the last couple of games in being able to do the things…Really, it’s more of a consistency issue because the first half of the Dallas game I thought we played really well on defense and then not as well in the last two-minute drive in the second half. And then obviously I didn’t think we played as well as we’re capable of playing against the Jets. Our job is to, just like I talked about Lamarr, sometimes you’re not going to play as well as you have in other games. Our job is to put that one behind us, learn from our mistakes, let’s move on, let’s get ready to play Kansas City.”
Q: If you do get Moore back, would you have Holmes go into the slot? He’s played some there.
Q: How tricky is it to navigate the whole idea of playing a second quarterback and having a prearranged series or two when the other guy might be going well?
Coach Allen: “The quarterback is a unique position. I think where we’re at with the quarterback position is a little bit unique in that we’ve got two guys we feel good about. Obviously
Q: When you evaluate Terrelle on the season, do you take into account the O-line problems you had when he was playing?
Coach Allen: “We take into account all of it. The evaluation process, like I said, it’s not one-dimensional. There’s a lot of factors that are involved in it. We look at the whole picture.”