Head Coach Dennis Allen answers questions from the media. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: I saw that [Denarius] Moore came off the field; is it his hamstring?
Coach Allen: Yeah, he’s got a little hamstring. He’s going to be fine. We’ll evaluate it when we get back in here and kind of see where we’re at, but usually those things might take a couple of weeks or so. So we’ll see where he’s at.
Q: Are you pretty happy with the fact that you have everybody here, except for a couple guys who are hurt, and the fact that they’re all healthy?
Coach Allen: We’ve got 100% attendance, so everybody’s here. Obviously, we wish we were 100% healthy and had everybody out here practicing, but we do have everybody here, and I was pleased with the work that we got today.
Q: I see from [Matt] Shaughnessy, you’ve got him out there working for the first time that we’ve seen anyhow. Is it nice to have him out there?
Coach Allen: Yeah, it’s nice to have him out there. Obviously he’s rusty. It’s been a long time since he’s lined up and played defense, so he is a little rusty. But hey, listen, it’s good that we get him out here and get a little work.
Q: Is it good before camp opens to actually see him test himself like that?
Coach Allen: Absolutely. Practice - that’s the only way you get better. So the more he has the chance to get out here and practice, the better he’s going to be.
Q: What did you see that you liked coach, and what you didn’t like?
Coach Allen: Well, I thought overall, I though the effort was pretty good. I thought offensively, I thought we executed and were able to hit some plays down the field, which I felt was good. I think speed of the game; I think we can play the game just a little bit faster. But overall, I think the guys are working. We’ve got to work on our execution and get a little bit better at our execution.
Q: Dennis, you said, obviously these are mandatory, but having 100% attendance - how does that help you just jumpstart this thing with what your vision is?
Coach Allen: We’re building a team and the only way you can build a team is if you have everyone here to build the team. So we’ve got to work together, build the chemistry, build the camaraderie within the team, and at the end of the day, it’s those bonds that you develop during these times and in training camp that take you through the rest of the season.
Q: Looking at this defense, if you had healthy [Matt] Shaughnessy and Richard [Seymour] and Tommy [Kelly] in the middle, how good can this defensive line be?
Coach Allen: As good as they want to be. I think it’s dependent on how much those guys are willing to put forth as far as the effort to continue to improve. If they’re willing to put in the effort to continue to improve, they’ll be as good as they want to be.
Q: When you have a defensive line, what are your options in terms of what you can do in the back?
Coach Allen: I think the key to playing football in the National Football League is find ways to affect the quarterback, and you do that by rusher coverage. So when you’ve got guys that have the ability to get after the passer, it allows you to do some different things in the back end to help with the coverage aspect.
Q: Haven’t seen [Richard] Seymour in awhile. How did he look out there?
Coach Allen: I thought, for the most part, he looked pretty good. I’ll go in and take a look at the tape and get a better feel for it, but I think just with the naked eye he looked pretty good.
Q: What are you expecting out of him this year? Is his role going to be any different than you think it’s been in the past?
Coach Allen: I wouldn’t say that it would be any different than what it’s been in the past. I would expect good things out of him. He’s been a Pro Bowl player, and I would expect that to continue to be the case, and I’m expecting him to make big plays when we need him to make big plays.
Q: [Jared] Veldheer started out as a small college guy. Came in, started 11 games as a rookie. Seemed to take a step up last year; had some really good games against some real key players, then a few games where he struggled. Do you expect to see him take another quantum leap this year?
Coach Allen: I don’t know about quantum leaps. What I do know is that he’s been out here every day working. He’s working extremely hard to get better, and I know that if you keep working hard every day to get better, you’re going to get there. You’re going to get better. Now, how good does he ever become? I don’t know. But I’m not going to set limits on him, and if he keeps working he can be a good player in this league.
Q: It seems, in the team drills, that the offense is really clicking along. Have you seen any improvement in the defense? They’re picking up the playbook and everything, have you seen any proof of that?
Coach Allen: Absolutely. I think when you go through these practices and you go through training camp, what you want to see is a little ebb and flow. You want to see the offense win one day, the defense win the next day and vice versa because you’re going to have to play the game with all three phases of the game. So we’ve had days out here where the defense has stepped up and made a lot of plays and days where the offense has looked a little bit better. So I like seeing the flow switch around a little bit.
Q: Are there plays during these sessions that we may not notice where a defensive player is in position to make a play but just doesn’t make it because he can’t?
Coach Allen: Yeah, because of the way the rules are right now. There’s a lot of plays. There’s a lot of things that happen on the line of scrimmage that we’re telling our guys to get off on the ball and then they basically have got to kind of pull off, and that’s the way we’ve been coaching them and that’s the way we’ve been teaching them. So there’s times where it looks like it’s a big play, but when you go in and study the tape, there was a guy there that had an opportunity to make a play.
Q: [Dave] Tollefson have an injury?
Coach Allen: Just a little calf deal. He’ll be fine.
Q: I know you said that [Stefen] Wisniewski was probably out until training camp, same with [Mike] Mitchell and [Manase] Tonga or…?
Coach Allen: Yeah, I think probably. I think Tonga’s probably a little bit further along, but we’re probably going to be precautionary and keep those guys until training camp.