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News

Coach Allen Talks Texans, More

Posted Nov 14, 2013

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Thursday's practice and discussed the Raiders offensive line, what makes the Texans offense go and more.

Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: “Guys that didn’t practice today – Tyvon Branch, Juron Criner, DJ Hayden, Matt McCants and Darren McFadden. Guys that were limited in practice today – Seabass [Sebastian Janikowski], Kaluka [Maiava], Tony Pashos and Terrelle Pryor. That’s the injury report.  It was good work today.”

Q: How much was Pryor able to do and what were your impressions?

Coach Allen: “He was limited. He got some reps with the first team and, again, we’ll see how he looks tomorrow.”

Q: What were your impressions of Matt [McGloin] in his first team work?

Coach Allen: “He’s done a good job. Obviously, these are practice reps, but he’s done a nice job and continues to impress us, earlier in the year as he’s going through on the show team and now getting some reps with the first team. He’ll be ready if he’s called on to go in and play.”

Q: Given that you can’t always tell during practice what you’re going to be able to tell during a game, as evidenced by Pryor last week during practice and the game, how do you change your evaluation this week? How can you really tell if he’s ready or not?

Coach Allen: “All you can do is watch practice and go with what you see on the practice field. We’ll monitor him just like we do every week and see how he’s looking. If he looks like he’s at full health then he’ll be able to go.”

Q: This time around would you be more inclined to, if you see the explosion is not there on Sunday, make a move as opposed to leave him?

Coach Allen: “Yeah.”

Q: Do you trust his word?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, that’s what you have to do. Hey listen, he’s the only one that knows. I can’t tell. All you can do is based on what you see and if he’s okay, then he’s okay.”

Q: Do you almost have to activate Tyler [Wilson] as a precaution?

Coach Allen: “We’ll look at that. Those decisions don’t have to be made right now. Obviously, we have to get Tyler prepared, but again, we’ll see how things go tomorrow and we’ll make a decision.”

Q: Who is the right tackle if everybody is healthy? Do you go back to Pashos?

Coach Allen: “We’ll probably go with Pashos.”

Q: Did he do more today than he did yesterday?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, he’s listed at limited but he’s getting a good amount of work.”

Q: Houston made a change at quarterback this year to go to Case Keenum and Arian Foster is out for the year; what do you see from them now offensively as the year’s gone on?

Coach Allen: “I still see an explosive offense. When you look at them, I think they’re ninth in the league in total offense. As Case Keenum has come in there, he’s given them a little bit of a spark. They’ve really thrown the ball down the field and connected on a lot of deep passes, play action type of passes, double move type of routes, and so this kid looks to be pretty aggressive as far as trying to get the ball down the field. They still do what they do. They haven’t really changed a whole lot as far as what their offense is. They still run the zone-blocking scheme and still play action passes and try to hit the deep ball.”

Q: Do you remember evaluating Keenum during the draft at all?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, we looked at him and I thought he was a good player. He set all kinds of records in NCAA. I thought he was a good player and had a lot of the intangibles. He’s probably not the biggest, strongest, fastest prototypical quarterback you might look at, but he’s effective. He was effective in college and he’s been effective in the NFL.”

Q: You briefly mentioned yesterday that a tackle will have a challenge with [JJ] Watt. As a defensive coach, when you look at Watt, what separates him?

Coach Allen: “A lot. Number one, he’s a big, strong guy that’s able to anchor in against the run, but he’s got exceptional quickness and exceptional burst. For as big as he is, his burst to get to the quarterback is probably as good as I’ve seen. He does a good job of setting up inside moves and then beating guys on the outside and using his athleticism. I think when you really look at it, for a big guy, he’s exceptionally athletic.”

Q: He said that this year he just feels he’s a better run defender. When looking at film are you seeing that?

Coach Allen: “We didn’t study him last year, but when I watch him this year, yeah, he’s defending the run really well. They have a lot of guys that are playing really well. They’re number one in the league in defense. But he’s certainly a guy that we have to account for on every single snap.”

Q: When accounting for that, does that factor in at all with wear Pryor is at if his explosiveness isn’t there and you know someone like that is on the other side or do you just make that decision…?

Coach Allen: “The decision is solely based on what we feel like he’s capable of doing.”

Q: You’ve got two guys on the clock in [Jared] Veldheer and [Miles] Burris; how are they coming along so far?

Coach Allen: “Coming along well. Obviously, I think Miles is a guy that we need to make a decision on next week. Again, we’re continuing to evaluate him. Missed a couple days of practice last week, but he’s been able to go so far this week. He continues to get better every day. And then obviously we just started the clock on Veldheer, so we have some time to evaluate where he’s at.”

Q: Was Miles sore last week or what was the reason he…?

Coach Allen: “Just a little soreness.”

Q: Are you comfortable having Phillip Adams playing that nickel corner as he did last week?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, when Phillip’s gone in and played in games for us, he’s done well. I thought he played pretty well in the game the other day and he played well for us last year when he got the opportunity to go in there. He’s a guy we’ve got confidence in going in and playing. I think he’ll go in and do a good job.”

Q: Usama Young went from playing very little against Philadelphia to playing 30 something snaps the next week. Was that just a package thing against the Eagles?

Coach Allen: “A little bit of both. He’s a guy that we want to get more involved. We want to see his reps increased. He’s earned that right. And then also a package deal. Against Philadelphia we didn’t have some of the same packages weren’t up as much during the game based on how they tried to attack. But we’ll see. I would expect we’ll see a little more of Usama and, again, it’ll be based on what they’re doing offensively and how we can get him into the game.”

Q: Where’s DJ at right now? It seems like it might be an emotional week for him.

Coach Allen: “In terms of?”

Q: Position, where he is mentally, where he is?

Coach Allen: “Well physically he’s got a groin injury that won’t allow him to participate right now, so I brought him into the office and spoke with him this morning. Listen, he’s disappointed because he wants to be out there player, but right now with the injury, he’s not able to do that. DJ is going to be fine.”

Q: Is his injury worse than you thought it was?

Coach Allen: “I wouldn’t say it’s any worse than what we thought of, but it’s an injury that is going to take a little time to rehab from.”

Q: Why did you feel the need to call him in? Did you think he was a bit fragile emotionally?

Coach Allen: “I wanted to check on him. I wanted to make sure he was doing okay, get his spirits up and get ready to go.”

Q: When you watch Veldheer do you get a sense that he’s close?

Coach Allen: “That’s all speculation. I really have no idea. That’s a determination that the doctors are going to have to make when they feel like he’s totally ready to go to full contact, but in the meantime, we’re going to keep working, keep practicing him and see where he’s at.”

Q: His conditioning, are you comfortable with where it’s at right now?

Coach Allen: “That was something we ramped up about a week and a half ago knowing that he was going to be cleared to participate in practice. So that’s something that we’ve put a lot of emphasis over the last couple of weeks in trying to get his conditioning up and get him ready to go, again, so the time frame from the time he’s actually able to begin to practicing to the time he’s actually able to play is shorter.”

Q: When a veteran like [Khalif] Barnes has a rough game like he did against the Giants with a costly false start and, I think, three holds, do you handle that differently than you would a younger player?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, Khalif has played and he knows how this game is and really two of those holding calls they came back and said weren’t holding calls. But that’s the way it is. It happens sometimes and you have to move on and he’ll respond the right way. He has every time he’s been challenged, he’s responded.”

Q: Regarding Rashad [Jennings], he was such a special teams guy, are his special teams assignments just as much now as a starting running back as it is…?

Coach Allen: “No, his role on special teams has been reduced because he’s taken more responsibility with the offense, so on one hand it shortens you a little bit from a special teams standpoint, but he’s really helped us offensively as far as the way he’s run the ball. There’s really always a balance where usually your starters aren’t going to play much on special teams based on how many guys you can have active and how many plays that they can play in the game. You really want to make sure…everybody has a role to help this football team. Some guy’s roles are on special teams, some guy’s offense, defense. His role has kind of switched a little more to the offensive side and other guys have had to step up in his place. I thought last week we did a good job in special teams without having him. He’s been the guy that’s blocked all the punts and we were able to get our hands on another punt the other day. We have guys that have stepped up and taken on that role.”

Q: In that same vein, it must help him as a running back to be able to focus on one assignment instead of being so much of a multiple?

Coach Allen: “I don’t know if it’s from an assignment standpoint. There’s only so many plays you can play in a game physically and be at your best so you have to distribute those responsibilities amongst the 46 guys that are active on game day.”