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News

Coach Allen Wednesday

Posted Sep 4, 2013

Head Coach Dennis Allen addressed the media after the Raiders Week 1 Wednesday practice.

Opening Statement: Alright, I’ll start with the injury report. David Ausberry did not practice with a shoulder. Sebastian Janikowski did not practice — right calf. Jared Veldheer has a triceps. He did not practice. Menelik Watson was limited in practice today with a knee, and Matt Flynn was full participation in practice with a right elbow. I thought we had good work today. It was the first real work day on Indianapolis, so we’re excited about the challenge. We’re looking forward to going up there and getting a chance to compete against the Colts.

Q: Is [Sebastian] Janikowski going to be kicking on Sunday?

Coach Allen: He’ll be fine. Yes.

Q: Is [Menelik] Watson’s injury something that just came up?

Coach Allen: Yeah, he tweaked his knee today in practice, so I don’t know the extent of it yet. We’ll find that out later, so he was limited.

Q: Does [David] Ausberry still have a chance to play this week?

Coach Allen: I’m not going to make that decision yet. He’s not ready to go yet, but I don’t have to make that decision until later in the week. We’ll see how he continues to progress as the week goes on, but he wasn’t able to practice today.

Q: How different does their offense look with Pep Hamilton as opposed to when [Bruce] Arians was there?

Coach Allen: I don’t know that it’s a ton different. We had a chance to look at what they did in the preseason obviously, and we looked back at some of the things that he was involved in at Stanford. I wouldn’t say that it’s a whole lot different. There are a few things that he does a little bit differently, but they’re still an explosive team. I think the quarterback kind of runs the ship there, and he does an outstanding job. That’s the key to their offense.

Q: Are you going to stay with a no-name starting quarterback, or are you going to name one?

Coach Allen: I’m going to stay with a no-name starting quarterback.

Q: Do you really think that there’s a competitive advantage?

Coach Allen:  If I didn’t think there was, I wouldn’t do it.

Q: But the starter will be taking all of the first-team snaps?

Coach Allen: Yeah. Listen, we’ve got a plan. Really at the end of the day, I’ve kind of addressed where we’re at and what I’m doing with the quarterback situation. It is what it is, so I think we’ve kind of got to move on from that. We’ll have a quarterback out there ready to play on Sunday.

Q: Is this a week-to-week thing?

Coach Allen: We’ll see.

Q: Have you had to go up against a team who didn’t tell you who their starting quarterback was, and how much of a disadvantage was it preparing?

Coach Allen: Well, you’ve got to prepare for a lot of different things. Whether it gives us an advantage or not, we’ll see. We’re preparing to play the Indianapolis Colts, and we’ll have a game plan in place. Our guys are ready to go, and they know what we’ve got to try to get executed to try and win this football game.

Q: Do you plan to dress three quarterbacks or two?

Coach Allen: Again, I don’t want to get into gameday activations. We’ll have our activations on game day.

Q: Are you guys any closer to a decision on [Jared] Veldheer?

Coach Allen: I think we have a plan in place. Again, there’s no hurry to make this decision, so we’ll continue to evaluate it. When we feel like the time is right to make some sort of decision, we’ll make that decision.

Q: He could free up a roster spot for you though. Are you OK with getting 52 spots?

Coach Allen: Well I think there are a lot of teams that have done that. When you face any type of injury and a guy’s going to miss a week, you’ve got 52 guys active for that week. I don’t see this as being anything different.

Q: With the [Menelik] Watson issue, if he can’t go, who moves over to left tackle?

Coach Allen: We’ll probably put [Khalif] Barnes over there, and Tony Pashos will go up.

Q: You said during camp that you like the attitude on your roster and the way they were approaching the games and so forth. Now that you’re on the edge of the season, what are your concerns about your team? You’ve had some health issues. Obviously nobody wants to talk about health issues, but you’ve had knocks. What are your concerns?

Coach Allen: Well I think the big thing is, is that we’ve got 26 new guys on the roster, so getting the opportunity in a regular season game to see how these guys respond — how they go out and work together, and how they come together as a football team. I think that’s the biggest thing. How does this group of guys come together as a football team and work together? We’re going through that process. Again, I still like the demeanor of this team. I still like the attitude of this team, and now we’ve got to go out and execute and play.

Q: Do you have captains yet?

Coach Allen: We do have captains. We have Marcel Reece, Lamarr Houston and John Condo.

Q: In camp you said you were waiting for a number one receiver to emerge. Has anyone emerged yet?

Coach Allen: Well, I think we’ve got a lot of good receivers. I think all of those guys can step up and make plays. I feel good about where we’re at from a receiver position. I think we’ve got guys that can bring different elements to the table, that have different strengths. We’ve got to find ways to put those guys in those positions so that we can utilize those strengths.

Q: How do you feel that communication is going defensively now that you pretty much have your defense in place?

Coach Allen: We still haven’t played a game with our starting 11. This will be the first game that we go into where we’ve got the full 11 out on the field, so I think it’s been a growing process. I think we’ve gotten better day by day at that, and I think that’s something that we’re going to have to continue to get better at as the season goes on.

Q: Is a guy like [Andrew] Luck the kind of guy that can really exploit communication breakdowns?

Coach Allen: Yeah, I mean all the really good ones can, and I think this guy is a really good quarterback. I think he’s exceptional at what he does, so our ability to communicate, be in the right things and to give some different looks will be critical in this game.

Q: Having [Jason] Tarver, who has practice opposite him and also Pep Hamilton, that’s got to be of some help.

Coach Allen: It’s obviously a benefit, but it’s really going to boil down to between the lines who executes better. Do the Raiders execute better or do the Colts execute better? That’s what are main focus is. Let’s go out there and execute what we’re supposed to do — play fast and let the chips fall where they may.

Q: Nick Roach will have the dot?

Coach Allen: Yeah.

Q: How has Lamarr [Houston] evolved as a vocal leader with guys like Andre [Carter], [Richard] Seymour and Tommy [Kelly] no longer here?

Coach Allen: Lamarr was a guy that going into this season we kind of pegged as a guy that we wanted to be a leader for this team. He began to take a little bit of that role at the end of last year, and I think he’s continued to improve in that regard as we’ve gone through the offseason and training camp. I think he’ll continue to develop as a leader for this football team as we go forward.

Q: Can you just say how you thought Pryor played this summer through training camp and through the games?

Coach Allen: I thought there were times where he really gave us a spark. He really did some good things where he can create. There’s still a growing process he has to go through and we’ve had to take some lumps, I guess would be the term. I think overall I’ve been pleased with my impression of Terrelle Pryor.

Q: He was going to play no matter what in some packages?

Coach Allen: Yes.

Q: Do you have to change the offense dramatically?

Coach Allen: No, not really. That was something we already had in our plans. When Terrelle is out on the field, we’ll have some things that hopefully he can do really well.

Q: The Colts picked up some guys, obviously, defensively in the off-season. Can you talk about if you believe they’re improved from a year ago, watching the game film from the preseason?

Coach Allen: What I’ll say about that is I think they play extremely hard. They play really fast, they do a pretty good job of getting after the quarterback when you watch the preseason games, and they do some nice things in the rush game with some different packages they’ll use. I think this is a good football team all the way around. I think it’s an improved defense, and I think we’re going to have to be really ready to go to have a chance to be successful against them.

Q: No matter how much Pryor plays in the regular season, you talked about a growing process for him. Is that something you’re willing to do when every play matters during the regular season?

Coach Allen: When you have guys out there and you have young guys out there they have to grow and that’s where we are. I’m looking for continued growth out of him as we continue to go throughout the season.

Q: When you read or see or hear about people having such low expectations for your team, does that sit with you or how does that register with you?

Coach Allen: Listen, the expectations and what we are as a football team will be defined inside this building and that’s the only way you can look at it.  We’re focused on doing the best that we can to continue to improve, and we’re really focused on how we’re going to try to win this game against the Indianapolis Colts. That’s our only focus right now.

Q: Do you think those assessments are unfair, uninformed?

Coach Allen: I can’t concern myself with what anybody else thinks. All I can concern myself with is the 53 guys on that roster and the coaches I have on my staff. We’re doing everything we can to get ready to play football and that’s the only time we have to focus on anything. We don’t have time to focus on anything else.