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News

Coach Allen Wraps Up Mini-Camp

Posted Jun 13, 2013

Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after the final practice of the team's mandatory mini-camp.

Coach Allen: First of all, I’ll just say, I thought this was a good camp. I thought OTAs, I thought we improved. I thought we got better. I like this football team. I like their mentality. I like where we’re at. I like the way they’re working. Obviously, we’re going to give them some time off before we go to training camp, but I think we’re all anxious to get there and get the pads on and really see what we’ve got. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.

Q: Anything surprise you that you learned about the team for this month?

Coach Allen: I don’t know if surprised. I’ve been pleased with the work that these guys have put in and obviously, we’re not the finished product. We still have a lot of improvement to do, but I wouldn’t say that’s a whole lot different than any of the other 31 teams. But I like their mentality and I like the way that they work.

Q: What was the message that you left them with?

Coach Allen: I haven’t left them yet. I’m going to go back in there and meet with them and reiterate some of the things I’m telling you guys. I like this football team. I like the players we have on this team and I’m excited to see what they can do once we get into training camp.

Q: How about in terms of what is expected of them during their time off?

Coach Allen: We spoke to them a little bit this morning about that and we all understand we put a lot of work into this and this is a time of year that we have to mind our Ps and Qs and make sure that we do the right things. Come back to training camp in shape. Come back to training camp mentally and physically ready to go.

Q: This is obviously an important year for Darren McFadden. Is he approaching this different? Have you seen a different Darren McFadden out there?

Coach Allen: I don’t know if I’d say I’ve seen anything different out of Darren. Darren’s always been a guy that’s come in and worked. One thing that we have addressed with him a little bit is, and it’s something we’ve talked a lot about, is a leadership role on the team and helping that locker room. I’ve seen him do a nice job in that regard.

Q: In terms of the guys that have been injured and haven’t taken part in mini-camp, are any of those guys you’re concerned about being ready for the start of training camp?

Coach Allen: No, I anticipate everybody being ready to go.

Q: Have you seen something in this three days that you you’re saying to yourself, ‘I want to make sure that may have altered or may have influenced how you approach the start of the regular camp?’

Coach Allen: I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to influence the way that we start camp. But I will say that, again, we got a lot of change, a lot of turnover on this football team. The thing that I’ve been the most pleased with is the mindset of this team. I know there’s a lot of experts out there that might think differently, but I like this football team.

Q: What has Greg Olson brought to the offense that you can see so far?

Coach Allen: I think he brings an element of creativity. I like some of the things that they’re doing. I think with him and Tony Sparano in the run game, I like what we’re doing from that standpoint. And he brings some enthusiasm and brings and air of confidence to the team.

Q: A couple of the players remarked that he’s constantly stopping them in the hallways with ideas and different things they might be able to do to get this one guy going, that type of thing. Is there a difference sometimes between coaching in a way that, ‘hey, these are our plays and this is what we run,’ as opposed to having an offense that’s sort of an evolving thing?

Coach Allen: Absolutely, that’s what great coaching is. Great coaching is adapting a scheme to fit the players that you have, putting those players in the position to give them the best chance to have success. I think that he’s done a real nice job of that from an offensive standpoint.

Q: What have you seen specifically from the quarterbacks over the last month?

Coach Allen: I think they’ve gotten better. I really do. We’re not where we need to be yet, but we’re not playing tomorrow. I feel good about where we’re at from a quarterback standpoint. I think we’ve got some different elements at the quarterback position. I think all of the have their strengths and we have to try to put them in position to utilize their strengths.

Q: Once you adjourn today, how much contact can you have with the players?

Coach Allen: We can have contact, but I think it’s important this time of year, we’re going to keep tabs a little bit, make sure we know where everybody is, but at the end of the day, they need to get away a little bit too. Get refreshed and get ready to go for training camp because it’ll be a grind once we get there.

Q: Do they go home with playbooks and DVDs and that kind of thing or not?

Coach Allen: We generally keep that stuff in house, but they got a lot of notes they’ve taken over the course of the last 13 practices.

Q: As coaches, do you take time off at this point too?

Coach Allen: Yeah.

Q: I’ve seen from watching practice in the last three days almost like you pick two days ago and today and the quarterback play alone almost seems like night and day, like progressed in some way in the last three days. What do you attribute that to and is that promising?

Coach Allen: I think it’s continuing to get reps, continuing to get the work. These guys have done a nice job, all right? We knew going into this from the very beginning, not only with the quarterback position because that seems to be the focus of everybody, but with our football team, don’t worry about where you’re at right now. Just keep your head down, keep grinding, keep working. If you keep doing that, you’re going to get better. That’s what those guys have done.

Q: Seems like you, I don’t know if it’s extra time, but you seem to be at and with the defensive backs a lot. I know that’s your pet spot and all, but is that something that you are particularly addressing or does it just happen to look like that?

Coach Allen: I think you always go back home to mama and that’s a spot that I’ve got a great passion for. I feel like in the secondary that that’s the most critical to make sure you’re on it. I’ve got great confidence in the coaches that we’ve got back there. I’ve got great confidence in those players that we’ve brought in there, but that’s a place that yeah, I’ve spent a little more time.

Q: With [Latavius] Murray out, you’ve got an extended look at Rashad Jennings there; can you tell what you’ve seen with him?

Coach Allen: I think up to this point he’s done a nice job for us. He moves well. He’s a big back. I think the tell-tale will be when we get into the pads and does he run like a big back in the pads. We’ll find that out when we get to training camp.

Q: Having [Charles] Woodson in the back in the secondary, now you’ve had a chance to really see him really get down with the rest of the secondary. What difference is he making back there?

Coach Allen: I said this when we signed him, he brings an air of confidence to the whole group, not just the secondary, but really the team in general. Any time you can have a player of that caliber that still has a lot of football left in him and bring that into your team, into your organization, it fills your team with a lot more confidence. That’s one of the big things I think he brings.

Q: I noticed Jamize Olawale running with Matt Flynn and all that. He seems to be on the first team, hands team. Is he impressing you?

Coach Allen: He’s done a nice job in camp. He’s really improved from the end of last season to this point. I’m looking forward to getting him in training camp and see where he’s at.

Q: Obviously all positions are competitive situations, but on the offensive line, aside from [Jared] Veldheer and Wiz [Stefen Wisniewski], could that shake out pretty much a lot of different ways?

Coach Allen: Yeah, hey listen, we all have ideas and thoughts of where we’re at and you have a vision of what you think it’s going to look like, but really, at the end of the day, you let the competition play out. It’ll tell you who should be in what positions. It always shakes out in the end, so I’ve been pleased with the competition really we’ve had throughout the football team.

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