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News

Coach Allen Wednesday

Posted Oct 2, 2013

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Wednesday's practice as the Raiders prepare for the San Diego Chargers.

Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: All right guys, injury report today. Tyvon Branch did not participate. Jason Hunter was limited. Lucas Nix was limited. [Darren] McFadden did not participate. Stacy McGee did not participate. Tony Pashos was limited. Tracy Porter was limited. Terrelle Pryor was full. Marcel Reece was limited. Menelik Watson was limited. Stefen Wisniewski did not participate, and Charles Woodson did not participate — non-injury related. Hey listen, we’ve dug ourselves a little bit of a hole, and we’ve got to fight, battle, scratch, claw and do everything we can to fight ourselves back out of it. The only way I know how to do that is go to work. I thought our guys went to work and practiced well today. I thought they competed hard today, and I think they’re looking forward to a chance to get out and play again. These guys are fighters in that locker room, so they’re going to continue to battle.

Q: Is [Terrelle] Pryor symptom-free?

Coach Allen: Symptom-free.

Q: So he’s cleared?

Coach Allen: He’s cleared. He’ll start at quarterback this week.

Q: It looked like Matt McGloin was taking the number two reps during the open period.

Coach Allen: Yeah, we’re going to take a look at Matt McGloin as the backup quarterback.

Q: Are you just looking at him during the week or for sure all weekend and in the game?

Coach Allen: He’ll be the backup quarterback in this game.

Q: Is that because of stuff he’s been doing in practice, or more because of what you’ve seen from [Matt] Flynn?

Coach Allen: I think it’s a bit of a combination of both. I’d like to get a chance to look at him and see what he can do as a backup quarterback.

Q: Was [Marcel] Reece being out there today a pleasant surprise?

Coach Allen: Yeah, that was good. He got a chance to run around a little bit yesterday and test it out. He felt good and went out there and practiced today. I thought he looked pretty good in practice today. We’ll continue to look at him and monitor him throughout the week, but I was encouraged to see him out there today and see him working.

Q: Could he play some halfback if Darren [McFadden] is out?

Coach Allen: Yes.

Q: He obviously did that pretty well last season.

Coach Allen: He filled in that role nicely last year, did a really good job. He’s always been kind of the next man up in that role and kind of our fourth halfback, so if Darren’s not able to go for whatever reason, then he would be the third halfback in the game.

Q: You mentioned after the game that you really wanted to get a look at the film to assess how you thought [Rashad] Jennings had done. After you got a look at it, the amount of tackles that he broke, the amount of things that he did, was it as an exceptional game as it appeared?

Coach Allen: Well I thought it was a good game. I thought he did a lot of good things. I thought he ran the ball hard. I thought he ran with power. He did break some tackles. I also thought he did a nice job in the passing game receiving the ball. Really I thought that’s where he probably ran the ball even better, when he got the ball out in the open field, breaking tackles. So I was pleased with the way that he played in the game.

Q: This will be the latest kickoff time in NFL history. Is that a concern for you? How do you feel about this late kickoff time?

Coach Allen: We’ve got to tee it up whenever they tell us to tee it up. I mean I don’t think you can look at that. Let’s don’t build in any excuses. Let’s go play. If they wanted us to tee it up today, we’d tee it up today, so you take that and go with it. We’ll adjust the schedule maybe a little bit at the end of the week, but we’ll be ready to play when we tee it up at 8:35 I believe it is on Sunday night.

Q: Can you talk about the difficulties of defending a guy like Philip Rivers who seems to be playing exceptionally well?

Coach Allen: Well it’s tough, and he’s got some good weapons to throw the ball to. I think Antonio Gates is playing exceptional. I think Danny Woodhead is a guy that they’re using in the passing game. Eddie Royal’s done some really good things for them. I think the key is that Philip Rivers is playing probably as good as he’s played throughout his career. I think he’s playing outstanding. He’s playing exceptional. He’s going to the right guy with the ball, and he’s throwing the ball with timing and accuracy. You know, it’ll be a challenge. It’ll be a challenge. I think they do a good job with what they do offensively and using their personnel.

Q: You obviously know [Mike] McCoy from Denver when he did the [Tim] Tebow thing when they changed their offense around. Then they had Peyton Manning for a year. I’m just curious. What kind of offense is he running now? What can you see from what they’re doing?

Coach Allen: I think it’s a combination of things that both he did in Denver and what [Ken] Whisenhunt did in Arizona. You see a little bit of both of what they do. They’re going to get 11 personnel and do some of the things that Denver was doing. I think they’ve done a nice job of combining a couple systems. They’ve given [Philip] Rivers some things he can do. It looks like he’s doing a lot more audible, checking at the line of scrimmage, and trying to get themselves in the best play available. Again, it’ll be key for us to be able to handle the tempo, handle the pace, do a great job at communicating and make sure we’re in the right spots.

Q: So are they another one of those teams, a tempo team?

Coach Allen: Yeah, they’ve got some tempo to their team. It’s not every snap, but it’s a pretty good amount of tempo.

Q: Do you have Terrelle [Pryor] doing anything different this week in terms of trying to avoid hits?

Coach Allen: I think if you start trying to limit the things that he does you limit his effectiveness. I think you’ve got to let him be the quarterback that he is and let him make plays.

Q: You guys have been struggling on third down in the last two games. Is there anything you’re going to do differently this week with the offense?

Coach Allen: Well we’re going to continue to work on it. We’re going to try and look and see what things we’re doing well so that we can convert third downs because that’s key to our offense and being able to stay on the field, sustain some drives, and keep the defense on the bench. I think having Terrelle [Pryor] out there will help us in that.

Q: Are you going to use Terrelle [Pryor] more on the running side without [Marcel] Reece and Darren [McFadden]?

Coach Allen: We’re going to let him do the things that he does well. I’m not going to tell San Diego exactly what we’re going to do.

Q: Is [Lamar] Mady your backup center, or is [Andre] Gurode your backup center?

Coach Allen: Andre is, but we worked Mady some there today. Obviously with ‘Wiz’ [Stefen Wisniewski] not being able to practice today, you’ve got to be able to mix and match a little bit. I’m hopeful and anticipate that ‘Wiz’ is going to be able to play. He wasn’t able to practice today, but I’m hoping as the week goes on that we’ll be able to get him in there and get him some work.

Q: Is there any progress or updates with Darren McFadden?

Coach Allen: No real updates, nothing really to report. He’s still got a hamstring, and he’s trying to rehab it and get back in there as fast as he can.

Q: Are you going to ease Menelik [Watson] back into the flow of things? Maybe be more conservative?

Coach Allen: I think what we all have to realize with Menelik is he’s got very limited reps this whole year, so yeah. We’ve got to take some time to evaluate him and see where he is and what he can do. There’s a lot of upside to that player, but we haven’t had a chance to get much work with him.

Q: How did Andre Holmes look compared to what you saw four weeks ago?

Coach Allen: I thought he looked good. I thought he did some good things. It looks like he’s still in great shape. We’ll see how he does this week in practice, see what type of physical and mental shape he’s in and see if he can help us this weekend.

Q: When you think back to two years ago with you and [Mike] McCoy both in Denver, is it kind of interesting now that you guys are both head coaches in the same division? You’re going to see each other twice a year now.

Coach Allen: Yeah, well I don’t think you see it very often, but there was no doubt in my mind that Mike McCoy was going to be a head coach in this league. He’s an outstanding coach, a good friend of mine and I think he’s done a really nice job with that San Diego team. He’s got them playing hard, playing fast and they’re executing. He’s done an outstanding job.

Q: Did you guys ever sit together and say, “One day we’ll both be coaches”?

Coach Allen: No, no we never really talked about it, never really had those conversations, but he is a guy that’s a good friend of mine. We do have a lot of conversations together.

Q: If [Rashad] Jennings is the number one running back this week, what does he bring to the mix?

Coach Allen: I think he brings a kind of toughness — a thumper-type of runner. I think when you have him and Darren [McFadden] that’s a nice mix and a nice change-up.

Q: Is the dirt a home-field advantage?

Coach Allen: It’s something we’ve got to work with. It’s something we’ve got to deal with, but both teams have to deal with the same thing. I think that the fact that we’ve played on it for a couple of games already this year … I don’t know if it’s an advantage or not. It’s certainly not something we think a lot about.

Q: How do you think Brandian Ross has done subbing in for Tyvon [Branch]?

Coach Allen: I think he’s done a good job. I think any time you’ve got to replace a player of Tyvon [Branch]’s stature, it’s a tough job and a tough thing to do. He’s a guy that’s still relatively young at the position. He’s still learning. He makes some mistakes, but he’s one of those guys that learns from his mistakes. He gets them corrected, so I’ve been pleased with where he’s at. I think Usama Young is another guy who’s come in for some situational stuff and done a good job for us.

Q: Would those guys both have some responsibility with [Antonio] Gates? Does Gates look better than last year?

Coach Allen: Well he looks real good. Whether he’s better than he was last year or not, I don’t know, but I know he’s really tough to defend this year. He’s had a lot of explosive gains down the field. He’s always been a challenge to cover because not only can he get down the field on you, but he’s really good at the underneath stuff and working away from leverage, and Philip [Rivers] does a nice job of putting the ball in the right spots and giving  him a chance to make a play.

Q: What do you think of their pass rush, especially now that [Dwight] Freeney is done for the year?

Coach Allen: I think they have a lot of guys that are going to come after you and work hard. Obviously in losing Freeney, they lose a little bit of that speed edge-rusher type of guy and lose a little bit of just that stature of having that guy come off the edge, but they’ve got a quality team. They’ve got some depth there at that position. I’m sure they feel comfortable with the guys they got in there rushing the passer.

Q: [Matt] Flynn was a guy that you brought in to be the starter, and now I guess he’s third string. Is that a surprise?

Coach Allen: Listen, it is what it is. It hadn’t worked out like we anticipated. We’ve got to make decisions, and we’ve got to move forward and continue to go. Matt’s going to continue to battle and scratch and claw. I still believe that he’s a capable quarterback, but we’re going to give [Matt] McGloin a chance.

Q: Coach, what does [Matt] McGloin give you that maybe you don’t have with [Matt] Flynn?

Coach Allen: I like what Matt brings to the table — I’m talking about McGloin — as far as his competitiveness. He’s got some moxie to him. He just understands how to play the game, and I don’t think it’s too big for him. I think he’ll come in, and if he’s called upon to come in and run the offense, I think he’ll come in and do a good job. He’s smart. He throws an accurate ball. He’s got good arm strength. He’s good in decision-making. I like what this kid has to work with.