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News

Coach Allen in a New York State of Mind

Posted Nov 7, 2013

The Raiders head to New York this weekend to take on the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Thursday's practice.

Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: “Guys that didn’t practice today – Tyvon Branch, Juron Criner, DJ Hayden with a groin, Matt McCants, Tony Pashos, those guys did not practice. Guys that were limited in practice today – Andre Gurode, ‘Seabass’ [Sebastian Janikowski]. And then guys that were full in practice today were Tracy Porter, Terrelle Pryor and Rod Streater. I think that’s everybody.”

Q: Did DJ get hurt yesterday?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, he strained his groin yesterday. He was able to finish practice. I wasn’t really aware of it until after I got done in here with you guys, but he wasn’t able to go today. We’ll have to evaluate him and see how he’s doing and see how quickly that thing responds.”

Q: Did ‘Seabass’ actually kick today?

Coach Allen: “He did, yes.”

Q: So you don’t anticipate any problem?

Coach Allen: “No, I really don’t.”

Q: Earlier this year, you ended that streak of 10 years of not winning a game after a bye by beating Pittsburgh. Now you’ve got 11 games of not winning in the Eastern Time Zone. Is that something you even think about? Do you address it? Do you change your preparation at all for an East Coast game?

Coach Allen: “Not really. I kind of believe I don’t like to build in a lot of excuses. Our job as professional football players, as coaches, [is] to go play wherever they tell us, whenever they tell us and just prepare just like it was any other game. Really the only difference is we’ll travel on Friday as opposed to Saturday so we can get acclimated to the time change and get acclimated to the situation. I think it’s tough to travel that far the day before a game. I want our guys to be able to be fresh and be ready to go. So I don’t really spend a lot of time talking about per se the Eastern time zone, but we have talked about we need to go on the road and play well. That’s something that we’ve put a lot of focus on.”

Q: Is there anything about getting the body used to playing a 10:00 a.m. start, your wakeup call is six or seven and adjusting?

Coach Allen: “We’re up pretty early in the morning anyway. We start our meetings at 7:20 in the morning and that’s part of the reason we do that is so that guys are used to getting up early and used to getting their body going and getting ready to go out and play a game. Something that we have to deal with, but we don’t need to let that be any type of distraction.”

Q: The running game, other than Terrelle, has been kind of off and on. With Rashad Jennings the other day, I think he carried 15 times and I think he got positive yardage all 15 times. How much of that was you guys blocking real well and him running and how much was a factor of the Eagles maybe softening up a little bit because they had a big lead?

Coach Allen: “I thought we moved the ball and I thought we ran the ball well all game. And our run game has gotten better; it’s improving. So I think, really, that game the other day was a combination of our guys blocking it. I think it was a combination of Rashad hitting it up in there and making some good runs and that’s been a point of emphasis for us to continue to improve our run game, and I think it’s showing.”

Q: Do you need to get better play out of your left guard?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, there’s a lot of areas that we need to get better play. Obviously, Lucas [Nix] struggled last week and that’s an area that we’ve worked really hard to try to improve and try to get better and we’ll continue to try to get better in that area. There are a lot of areas we have to improve. I don’t really like to single out one particular area because our football team needs to get better.”

Q: Is the plan for him to start still, not slide Andre Gurode over?

Coach Allen: “Again, I’m still kind of waiting to see. I want to monitor Andre all week long because he’s missed significant time, so I want to monitor him all week long and we’ll make a decision later in the week what direction we want to go. All those guys are preparing in there and we’ve played a lot of guys on the offensive line. We’ve had a bunch of different lineups so I think it’ll be a little bit easier transition to plug a guy in if that’s we decide to do.”

Q: That defensive front seems very talented physically and imposing – the volume of guys. Is that really what the problem is – you can’t focus on one or the other?

Coach Allen: “Volume and ability. They have a lot of good players up there and they’ve played really well together and they’ve played really well in this league for a long time, so yeah, I think their ability to roll guys through and keep guys fresh, and not just keep guys fresh, but keep quality football players fresh and in the game is one of the benefits for them. I think their defense really runs through their front. I think that’s the catalyst of their defense, but they have a lot of good players all over the field.”

Q: If DJ can’t go, does [Phillip] Adams go outside and Porter still slides in the nickel?

Coach Allen: “Yes, and we’ve got all the confidence in the world in P.A [Adams]. When he came in last year and had an opportunity to play, he played real well. So I think, again, that’ll be another one of those it’s an easy transition for us because we have a lot of confidence in him.”

Q: What makes Tracy so effective in the slot?

Coach Allen: “I think he’s got really good quickness. I think he’s a really smart player and a really instinctive player. I think that’s what you have to be to play inside in the slot because things happen a lot faster inside than they do out on the edge. It’s not always just about your ability; a lot of it has to do with your mental ability. I think he’s really good in that area.”

Q: Giants have had some turnover and also some injuries at the running backs position. You still have to respect the run, I would imagine now that they have Peyton Hillis and they’re about to get somebody off of the return list from IR? Coach Allen: “Yeah, the last couple of weeks it looks to me, when you watch the tape, that they put an emphasis in the run game and they’ve run the ball better and they’ve had a lot more attempts at running the football. As with every game, our ability to stop the run will be critical in this game and I think that’s where you start everything is your ability to stop the run. You try not to let guys run it on them and kind of try to make them one dimensional if you can. It’ll be a big focus again this week. They’re big in the backfield. They’ve got a bunch of big, powerful backs so our front is going to have to do a good job and we’re going to have to tackle well against these good backs.”