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News

Coach Allen in a New York Groove

Posted Nov 6, 2013

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Wednesday's practice as the Raiders get ready to head to New York to take on the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: I’ll go over the injury report – Tyvon Branch did not practice today. Juron Criner didn’t practice. Sebastian Janikowski didn’t practice. Kaluka Maiava did not practice. Matt McCants, Darren McFadden, Tony Pashos, all those guys didn’t practice. Limited in practice today was Andre Gurode, Andre Holmes. And then full participation in practice was Tracy Porter, Terrelle Pryor and Rod Streater. We’re excited about getting back here to work. We’re excited about getting ready for the New York Giants. We have a tough challenge going up there to play them in their place. This is a good football team that we’re playing. They’ve won a couple of World Championships with the leadership that they have in place and we’re going to have to be ready to play. You look at them offensively and they’re able to throw the football. They’ve got an outstanding quarterback. They’ve got a couple of really good receivers. Obviously we know Brandon Myers really well from the time that he was here. And then defensively their engine really starts with their front and their linebackers. They do a great job up front of applying pressure. They’ve done a great job of stopping the run, so we’re going to have to be ready to play.

Q: How did Pryor look moving around on the knee?

Coach Allen: He looked good. Yeah, he looked good.

Q: Any updates on McFadden or Criner?

Coach Allen: No real updates. Their status really hasn’t changed.

Q: Criner was in a sling, did he break a collarbone or dislocate a shoulder?

Coach Allen: No, he’s just got an AC sprain, shoulder sprain.

Q: Giants sack totals are pretty low, but are they getting more pressure than that?

Coach Allen: Well they had four sacks the last time they played and this is a team that has traditionally been able to get after the quarterback pretty good. It’s not always about sacking the quarterback; it’s about getting pressure on the quarterback and they’ve got some guys up front that can really do that. Our protection is going to have to be really solid in the game and we’re going to have to do a good job of blocking in the run game because, like I said, they’re really triggered by their front. Jon Beason, I think, has really improved their run defense. They’ve really improved over the last few weeks.

Q: If McCants can’t go, I assume Watson.

Coach Allen: Yeah, he’d be the next man up.

Q: Against Justin Tuck? How did he grade out in the 50-something snaps?

Coach Allen: He actually played pretty well and that’s what we would expect out of him. Obviously, if he’s the guy that goes in there, it’ll be a tough challenge because he’s going against, whoever they line up over there on his side is going to be a good player that’s played really well in this league and been a part of championship teams. If he’s the guy that is called on to go, he’ll have to step up and perform.

Q: If Andre [Gurode] is healthy, does he move back into starting at left guard?

Coach Allen: We’ll see. I think we’ve got to monitor him throughout the week and see how he practices and see how he looks. He was a little rusty today, but that’s to be expected after some time off. I’m not really ready to make that decision yet. We’ll see how he does this week.

Q: What about [Watson], how he plays or how he studies, that allows him to step in without a lot of experience and still manage the game well?

Coach Allen: I think the first thing you have to look at is he’s an extremely talented athlete. For as big as he is, he’s a great athlete. He’s got good power. Fundamentally, he’s got to continue to work to improve. That’s probably the biggest area he needs to work to improve on because he hadn’t got a lot of experience. He’s been here. He’s been paying attention in the meetings and gone through the mental process; he just hadn’t had the reps. This is the National Football League – if you’re called upon to go in there to play, you have to go in and perform.

Q: Who would be the backup to Watson if he got hurt?

Coach Allen: Again, based on injuries, we’ll have to see. Jack Cornell is a guy that we’ve used in the past. We’ll see who we have available when game time comes.

Q: Have you gotten enough production out of your tight ends, both as a run blocker and catching balls?

Coach Allen: That’s an area we’d like to see a little bit more production from. I think those guys are going in there and battling and doing the things they’re capable of doing. But yeah, that’s an area we could use a little bit more production.

Q: Is [Nick] Kasa coming on at all? He missed that time during the off-season, but is he making strides?

Coach Allen: He’s making some strides. He’s not there yet. He’s still behind the other two guys, but he’s gotten better. It was good to get him in the game the other day and get him some game-time experience. Hopefully we’ll be able to get him some more experience.

Q: Do you think everything [DJ] Hayden went through last year enables him to sort of get past this rough past that he’s having now? Does that contribute at all the fact that he was able to get through something as serious as he got through to sort of manage a few tough games?

Coach Allen: Listen, nothing in football can compare with what he had to go through and the type of mental toughness it takes to battle through the injury that he battled through and to be able to come back like he’s been able to come back. I got no doubt that he’ll be able to respond. He’ll be able to come back and he’ll perform at a high level. Again, not a lot of people have gone through the things that he’s had to go through. Being a rookie is one thing and that’s got its own unique challenges, but being a rookie after suffering through the setback that he had is a challenging thing, but he’s done a nice job.

Q: How much will it help him having an off-season where he can build up physical strength to be able to go up against NFL receivers?

Coach Allen: That’ll be big for him. Obviously, we really didn’t have that opportunity with him and that’ll be something we’ll address when that time comes. Right now, he’s just got to work on continuing to prepare, continuing to put himself in those positions, and then when he gets the chance to be in position to make a play, he needs to make the play.

Q: Ideally you’d like him bigger and stronger than he is now?

Coach Allen: Yeah, I think the bigger, the stronger, the faster guys you got out there, no matter what position, the better it’s going to be.

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