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News

Coach Allen Talks Week 1 OTAs

Posted May 20, 2013

Head Coach Dennis Allen addressed the media following the first OTA practice.

Coach Allen: It’s good to be back out here again. I’ll just briefly — I won’t go into specifics but, obviously you guys were out there. [Nick] Kasa was not able to finish practice with a hamstring, Tracy Porter’s got a calf, Josh Cribbs has got a knee and Miles Burris had a knee. None of those guys were able to either practice or finish practice today.

Q: How impressive is it to have everyone out here?

Coach Allen: That just goes to show the type of guys we’re bringing into the program here. These guys have done a great job all the way throughout the off-season program. I think we’ve had about 98 percent attendance throughout the off-season program for the first five weeks. So, I think it’s important that we’re all out here. I think it’s important that we’re all getting the work and we’re doing this thing as a team.

Q: How is going into your second year having almost a completely new team? Does that make it easier maybe to implement what you’re trying to do?

Coach Allen: Well, I think its all part of the process, and I think Reggie [McKenzie] and his group have done a great job of trying to get the right type of people in here to be a part of this team. Now we have to take those pieces to the puzzle that he’s brought in here and try to formulate the picture that we’re really looking for. So, I think it’s been good, and again, I’ll reiterate, our guys are working extremely hard and they’re trying to do everything they can to help this football team win.

Q: QB Matt Flynn got his first extensive look. He’s coming in as the starter, I’m assuming, how does he look and what does he bring to the table?

Coach Allen: I think he’s looked pretty good. Obviously, this is the first day that we’ve actually been out there and had a chance to go offense versus defense. We still got a long way to go but, again, just like everyone else, the key is these guys are out here working. They’re trying to do everything that we’re asking them to do and we’re going to let the whole process play out. Nothing’s set in stone with anything that we got right now and being that we do have a lot of new players, we are trying to evaluate and trying to get to know these players a little bit more. So that’ll be something that we’ll be able to get a better feel for as we go throughout these OTAs, mini-camp and then we get into training camp.

Q: At this point, is there more instruction or more evaluation? What’s the goal?

Coach Allen: Well, it’s obviously a combination of both. We’re really trying to set the foundation for the upcoming season and this is where you get it. And we set that foundation with the knowledge base of what we’re going to be offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. And we’ll set that foundation, but we’re also trying to evaluate and see what guys can and can’t do. The learning process is a part of that evaluation.

Q: Do you have any guys that fall into that category where they can’t practice because of their college situation…

Coach Allen: Yeah, we’ve got two guys, Deonté Williams and Kyle Padron. Both those guys are on a quarter system, so they’ll miss most, if not, all of the off-season program because of the league rules.

Q: What kind of carry over do you have from last year when you have so many new guys? Is it just in, you hope that guys who were here from last year can kind of pass it on to the guys?

Coach Allen: Obviously, there’s a lot of new faces in the building so carry over…I don’t know if there’s a whole lot of carry over as far as what we’re doing or how we go about doing things. We’ve got some guys that have been in the building, Marcel Reece, Darren McFadden, Lamarr Houston. Those are guys that I think we can kind of lean on to show some of the other guys and some of the other new guys that are in here how we want to go about doing things, the type of culture that we’re trying to create here.

Q: Most of the changes have come on the defensive side; how much does that set you back or does it? Do you still try to do what you do last year or does it change what you were doing?

Coach Allen: I don’t think that’s going to be a setback at all. I think, again, these guys are motivated to come out and perform. And they’ve done an outstanding job throughout this off-season program in the meetings, in the weight room, when we have gotten out on the field, although we haven’t had the chance to go through practice and go offense versus defense. But they’ve done a nice job of really understanding what we’re trying to ask them what to do. I think we’ve got a smart group of guys. I think they’ll pick up on everything pretty quickly and then it comes down to their athletic ability being able to take over.

Q: You’ve got guys, I assume, that fit better with what you want to do defensively. Do you feel that you’ll be able to do more defensively than you did a year ago?

Coach Allen: Well, I think that’s part of what we’re doing here in the OTA process. I feel like that with the guys we’ve brought in here, that we’ll be able to move a little bit faster, move forward and do a few different things, but we’ll let this off-season kind of dictate how much we can do. We’ll try to do as much as we can without slowing our guys down.

Q: Were there things last year that you wanted to do defensively that you couldn’t do or you wish could’ve done?

Coach Allen: Coming into the program in the first year in the system, you’re a little bit limited as to what you can do. But again, what I’m excited about, I’m excited about the guys we’ve got in the building here and I’m excited about the big picture of what I think we’ll be able to do with these guys.

Q: Is [Brandian] Ross a safety now?

Coach Allen: Yes, Ross has moved to safety. That’s something that I’ve done in my past with New Orleans. Usama Young came in as a corner, we moved him to safety.  We did the same thing with Malcolm Jenkins. We’ve had some success with guys like that and making that move.

Q: What dictates it?

Coach Allen: Well, when you bring them in as a corner, you let them go out there and you see how they do and their skill set at the end of the day dictates that. Guys like Brandian Ross can go out there and play corner in this league and be able to hold up, but his skill set probably lends him a little bit more valuable as a safety.

Q: Which skills, exactly, are you talking about?

Coach Allen: Well, I think when you look at it, when you look at a corner, who is a 4.5 guy playing out on the Autobahn, that’s a tough proposition at times. So, moving him in our system and what we want to try to do, being able to man those guys up on the corner, it takes a lot of athletic ability. They can do, but yet, that athleticism and skill set probably suits him better as a safety.

Q: Were you trying to get Charles Woodson in here?

Coach Allen: Well, we’ll see. I want to do anything we can to help this team get better so we’ll see how that process goes.

Q: You mentioned Darren [McFadden] and Marcel [Reece] and Lamarr [Houston]. Any other guys you look at as potential leaders?

Coach Allen: Andre Carter is a guy that comes to mind right now and that’s one of the big reasons why we brought Andre back is because he does provide that leadership, and he’s the type of guy that we’re looking for that has those characteristics, that loves football, he wants to work and he wants to do anything to help this team win. So, the more guys that we can get like that, the better we’re going to be.

Q: Jason Hunter, a guy that missed most of all of last year pretty much, but he’s out there working with the first team, at least today, looks fairly imposing. You can’t tell without hitting and stuff, but does he look like somebody who can contribute right away?

Coach Allen: Yeah, I mean, he was a guy that I had in Denver and got a chance to work with him in Denver. I knew about him. Again, he fits those qualifications, those characteristics that we’re looking for. I think he’s going to be a nice fit for us.

Q: What do you like about [Mike] Jenkins and [Tracy] Porter, and how much more comfortable are you with cornerbacks this year than you were last year?

Coach Allen: Well, they can cover. And I think that’s the biggest…I mean, when you look at, and I said this when we drafted DJ [Hayden], that’s what you look for is can a guy go out there and cover. Those guys have done it. They’ve done it on a high level in this league. So I’m glad we got them and the key is, again, those guys have to be able to stay healthy.

Q: You have five quarterbacks on your team right now, which is a little bit unusual; what is the thinking with having that many quarterbacks?

Coach Allen: Well, number one is Kyle Padron is not going to be able to take part in a lot of this, so, being able to have the extra quarterback in here for the OTAs is a plus. And the good thing is we get the chance to evaluate another guy.

Q: Do you have any time during these OTAs where you specifically save it just for the rookies or are they just supposed to just, ‘the vets are here and we’re just trying to get these things going.’ Are they supposed to just jump on board and go?

Coach Allen: Well, we get a lot of extra meeting time with the rookies. They’re not under the same time restrictions that the veterans are on right now. So, we kind of separate them out a little bit. We let them lift separately so we get a little bit more individual attention. We get a lot more meeting time with those guys, but as far as on-the-field time, it’s pretty much the same time as OTAs.

Q: We normally don’t see Sebastian [Janikowski] here for OTAs and that sort of thing is usually just the mandatory camp and that’s it. He also looks like he’s in pretty good shape. Does this mean you guys talked him about it or is it just something he did on his own and he’s going to get here at the beginning?

Coach Allen: Well, that was something that we talked about and I called him really at the start of the off-season program and we kind of laid out a plan for him. He won’t be here for every single OTA but we’ve got a plan for him to be here. The great thing about it is that he wanted to. It wasn’t something that he fought. It was something that he was all onboard for, ‘Coach, anything you want me to be there for, I’ll be there.’ That’s the great thing about these guys is they want to be a part of it; they want to be involved in it.

Q: Do you see Lamarr Houston picking up the slack a little bit in pass rush and doing more?

Coach Allen: Absolutely, and then when you look at there’s some different things that we can do to try to create some pass rush. Also, look at a guy like Andre Carter who missed half the season last year, coming off the injury, and so, having him with us for the whole off-season and being able to go through OTAs and mini-camp, I would expect that he would give us a little more in that area too.

Q: I know it’s only day one, but your impression of Tyler Wilson, the young quarterback.

Coach Allen: I think he does some good things. Obviously, he’s a rookie and he’s got a long way to go. He’s not the finished product at all. The same thing I would say about him just like I would for any other rookie is just, ‘put your head down and go to work. Try to get better everyday, try not to make the same mistakes day-in-and-day-out and continue to get better.’ I think with his type of work ethic, he’s willing to do that.

Q: Tony Bergstrom is now a left guard?

Coach Allen: Tony Bergstrom is playing left guard, yeah, absolutely.

Q: Just same thing, skill set fits in there?

Coach Allen: Yeah, and that was something when we drafted him that was our kind of long-term vision of what we saw in him that he would be a guard and he’s been a nice fit there at the left guard and we’ll see how everything plays out throughout the off-season. We plan on mixing and matching that a little bit and just seeing who stands out.