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News

Coach Allen Thursday

Posted Oct 3, 2013

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Thursday's practice as the Raiders prepare for Sunday night's game against the San Diego Chargers.

Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: All right, I’ll update you on the injuries and then I’ll answer any questions you’ve got. Tyvon Branch didn’t practice today. Jason Hunter was limited again today. [Darren] McFadden did not practice. Stacy McGee was limited. Lucas Nix was limited. Tony Pashos was limited today. Tracy Porter was full. Terrelle Pryor was full. Marcel Reece was limited. Menelik Watson limited. Stefen Wisniewski did not practice and Charles Woodson was back full today.

Q: Was Reece better today than he was yesterday?

Coach Allen: Yeah, I thought Marcel looked pretty good today and we’ll keep looking at him as the week goes on, but again, I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen out of him.

Q: Darren, any closer?

Coach Allen: No, he wasn’t able to practice today. Really, no update, no change.

Q: Is it a thing given his position and his experience that he could still play…

Coach Allen: If he’s ready to go, he’ll be ready to go. It’s not a situation where he needs a lot of reps.

Q: What do you have to see out of him Friday?

Coach Allen: I don’t necessarily have to see anything out of him Friday, but I have to see something before the game if he’s ready to go.

Q: You said earlier in the week that you might adjust practice based on if the game was really late…

Coach Allen: Well, I’m not going to adjust practice per se. We’ll adjust some of our meeting schedules and stuff like that towards the end of the week, but we’re going to stay pretty consistent with what our practice schedule has been.

Q: I remember one time a few years ago they actually brought lights out here and practiced at night. There was no thought given to that?

Coach Allen: No, no. A couple years ago we practiced at the stadium or last year at the stadium for the Monday Night game, but we’re not going to do that this year.

Q: In the past, you’ve had some success against [Antonio] Gates with [Mike] Mitchell and Branch and [Michael] Huff. What’s the plan on Sunday?

Coach Allen: Well we’ll have somebody on him. Listen, he’s a great player. We have to try to put guys on him that we feel like have a chance to have success on him and so they’ll be a mix and match of guys that end up matching up with him. It’s something that you have to, we spend a lot of time on how we’re going to play Gates, how we’re going to play Eddie Royal in the slot, how we’re going to play 39 coming out of the backfield or lining up wide. They present some challenges with the guys they have from a matchup standpoint.

Q: Does Kevin Burnett’s ability to cover against the pass, does that give you some options?

Coach Allen: Yeah, he’s a guy that we feel good about in pass coverage and his ability to matchup with people. We’ll have a plan for how we use him. We’ll have a plan for how we use our safeties and we’ll be ready to go.

Q: San Diego has had a lot of turnover on the defensive side of the ball, the days of [Shawne] Merriman and Shaun Phillips are over; who do they have on defense now that presents a challenge? What kind of defense are they?

Coach Allen: They’re an attacking, aggressive style of defense. I think they do a good job. And, again, with Terrelle, it’s always interesting to see how people decide to defend him. I don’t know that we see the same things on a week in and week out basis, so we might see on tape what they do on some other teams. It always is interesting to see how defenses decide to defense our offense and Terrelle specifically.

Q: Sebastian’s [Janikowski] misses have been wide left for a left-footed kicker. They generally come from the left hash-mark. Do you guys put any thought at all into maybe trying to get more into the center of the field or to the right before attempting a field goal?

Coach Allen: Well the first thing is you’re trying to get a first down. You can’t control all the time where the ball ends up. That operation is something we’ve continued to work on. I think both those guys, all three of those guys, are getting more comfortable working together. I’ve seen improvement. That’s going to get worked out.

Q: What are your impressions of [Ryan] Matthews? Seems like they stray away from him in passing situations. Whenever he’s in, he gets the ball. Does that help you knowing that when he’s in it seems like he gets the ball and what do you think of him as a rusher?

Coach Allen: I think he’s a good runner. I think he’s a really good runner. I think he runs hard. I think he runs physical. He’s also got speed to get to the edge. Listen, they do a good job of utilizing their personnel and trying to put their guys in the best position to have success and do the things they do really well. Obviously, we know [Danny] Woodhead is in there probably a little bit more in passing situations. We have to know who’s in the game and what they might do with those guys that are in the game.

Q: When you have a guy who has had some fumbling problems in the past, does that become a real emphasis, ‘hey, get after this guy?’

Coach Allen: It’s an emphasis every week. We have to create more takeaways. We don’t have enough this year. We have to create more takeaways. We talk about it all the time about attacking the football. This game won’t be any different.

Q: Does not having Wiz change in any way, shape or form what you can or can’t do?

Coach Allen: I don’t know if it’s going to change what we can and can’t do. Obviously, you want to have Wiz in there. I think he’s a really good football player and does a great job for us in there and handles a lot of the communication for us. That’ll be a little bit of an adjustment if he’s not able to go. But, if he’s not, I feel confident that Andre Gurode can go in there and do the job. He’s played center in this league for a long time and been a good player in this league for a long time.

Q: Has Wiz made any improvement at all?

Coach Allen: Yeah, he’s made some improvement and we’ll see if he’s able to practice tomorrow. We’ll see if he’ll be able to go.

Q: Rivers has had a history of, ‘Look, I throw the ball up to my guys and I trust them to go up and get it.’ Not so much this year, but the last few years he’s had a problem with interceptions. Does a guy like that sort of wake up the secondary in that, ‘hey, this guy is going to put it up; He’s going to give us a chance?’

Coach Allen: They’re doing some different things with him. They’re giving the opportunity to get the ball out of his hands a lot quicker. They still throw the ball vertically down the field but they’ve got a little bit more mix of some of the underneath passing game and giving him the opportunity to get the ball out of his hands. We’re looking for opportunities that we can try to take the ball away and the way you take the ball away against guys like that is you have to be able to affect him in the pocket. If he stands back there with a clean pocket all day long, it’s hard to make a lot of plays on the ball. So we have to find ways to affect him.

Q: With all the upgrades you made in the secondary, to go through a quarter of the season without an interception, are you surprised?

Coach Allen: We’re all hungry for it. But they’re going to come. I don’t know when that’s going to happen. I don’t know when it happens, but it’s going to happen. We have too many good players back there in the backend of the defense for it not to happen. We just have to keep working, keep plugging, and look for our opportunities and take advantage of them when we have those opportunities.

Q: If Wiz can’t go and Gurode is the center, would Nix go back to left guard then?

Coach Allen: Yeah.

Q: How has his progress been? He’s been limited for what seems like a couple weeks now.

Coach Allen: He’s a lot better this week than he was last week. I feel good about where he’s at.

Q: Going back to Seabass – he had that calf injury in the preseason; is that at all a factor still?

Coach Allen: No, I don’t think that’s a factor and I don’t know, really, if that was a factor earlier in the year or not. Again, I think it’s really just more a product of we’re trying to get a new holder in there and that comfort level of you’ve been working with a guy for as long as he worked with Shane, it takes a little bit of time to get that comfort level.

Q: Is there any one specific part about that? Is it spinning the laces the right way, getting it right where he wants it? Have you talked to Sebastian and he’s pinpointing anything?

Coach Allen: We’ve talked and I think it’s really just a matter of probably developing that confidence that it’s going to be put in the right spot. All he has to do is worrying about just going and kicking it. He’s missed three field goals. Let’s not make more out of this than what it is. He’s missed three field goals; he’s going to get better.

Q: Is the bar simply set so high because he’s been so good for so long?

Coach Allen: Yeah, and you look at the one’s he’s missed and they’ve been long field goals, ones that you anticipate he’s going to make, but he’ll be fine.

Q: Any interest in Josh Freeman?

Coach Allen: I don’t know.