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News

"It’s going to be a great test for us"

Posted Aug 19, 2014

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Tuesday's practice as the Raiders get ready to head to Green Bay.

Opening statement: “Basically Day 2 preparation for Green Bay. I think our guys are excited about going up there. It’s going to be a great test for us. We’re excited about the challenge. I thought we had a good practice today. Guys were flying around, they seemed like they were on point with what we were asking them to do. We’ve still got some things that we’ve got to clean up before we get into game day, but I like the direction where we’re headed.”

Q: Marcel Reece was out there today. I assume the MRI came back clean?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, he was back out there working on a limited basis today. We’ll kind of monitor him on a day-by-day basis, but it was good that he was able to get back out and get some work.”

Q: Brice Butler getting back out there, that’s got to be a positive for somebody who had a pretty good week last week to get right back out there and continue what he was doing?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, that was good to have him back out there. All these guys are still finishing up the protocol, but it’s an encouraging sign for most of these guys that they’re close to being back.”

Q: It seems like there are a lot of guys for a couple of those wide receiver spots on the back end, it looks like the back two spots could be pretty competitive.

Coach Allen: “Well, I’ve said all along that I thought the wideout position was a very competitive position. I think all those guys have gone out and competed and done some good things, each one of them brings a little something different to the table. These last couple of weeks will be probably critical for determining exactly how many and who those guys are that make the 53-man roster.”

Q: You guys have had a lot of continuity on the offensive line compared to last year ...

Coach Allen: “Yeah, I think any time you can put the same group out there for as many reps as they’ve been able to get through the offseason and through training camp has been a positive. I think that group is beginning to gel together as a unit. I think they’re playing with confidence and I think that’s going to be a position that I think is going to be one of the strengths of our football team. They’ve got to continue to work and continue to get better. It’s been nice to see some of these young guys come along. A guy like Menelik Watson, who really didn’t play last year, he’s come out and performed really well at right tackle. As well as a guy like Gabe Jackson, has done a good job in there at guard. So, I think the depth and the quality of the depth on our offensive line, is going to be pretty good this year.”

Q: One of the organizations that grades out every player had Donald Penn as the highest graded offensive lineman. Did you have it the same way and how do you think he has been playing?

Coach Allen: “Well I think he’s done some good things. I’m not going to get into exactly where we have everybody rated, but I think he’s done a good job for us. I think he continues to get better. He brings a little bit of a veteran presence out there at the left tackle. He’s got some veteran savvy and understands how to play the game, understands what people are trying to do to him. So, I’ve been pleased with where Donald Penn is at and like I said before, I think where we’re at right now in the offensive line is totally different from where we were a year ago in the offensive line, and I mean that in a positive way.”

Q: Do you have to make a decision pretty soon about whether you’re going to let DJ Hayden go on the PUP to start the season?

Coach Allen: “Well that decision comes, I think the deadline is next Tuesday, to make that determination. So, we’re going to see how the rehab process goes over the next few days and get a better feel for exactly when we think he’s going to be available. That decision, it hasn’t been made yet.”

Q: Is it worth it to rush him back?

Coach Allen: “I think that’s what you’ve got to look at. I think you’ve got to look at are you rushing the guy back, or is he going to be ready. He’s not ready right now. Could he be ready in the next few days? That’s a potential. If he’s not then obviously the reserve/PUP is an option for us.”

Q: James Jones got work with the first team last Friday, but technically he’s listed as second on the depth chart. What do you need to see from him for him to solidify himself as a starter?

Coach Allen: “First of all, like I said, I don’t know this was a couple weeks ago, the depth chart is written in pencil. That hasn’t been totally determined yet. I want to see him go out and compete and make some plays for us. He’ll get some more opportunities this week against Green Bay. Again, he’s another one of those veteran players that we brought in that has had success in this league. He’s played at a high level and I want to see him continue to play at that high level, and if he does, there are going to be plenty of opportunities for him to make plays for us.”

Q: Do you think that maybe lit a fire under him?

Coach Allen: “That’d be a question you’d have to ask him. I don’t know the answer to that. I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen out of James Jones. Like I said, he’s made plays for us and the majority of the time the ball goes in the air to him, he’s coming down with it, and that’s a good thing as a wide receiver.”

Q: You thought the offensive line played well against Detroit’s ones?

Coach Allen: “Yeah I did. I definitely thought there were some good things that I saw out of the offensive line. Listen, that’s why you play the preseason games. I mean, it wasn’t perfect, and I said this the other day, any time there is any pressure on the quarterback, first thing everybody wants to do is look at the offensive line and say it’s an offensive line issue, and that’s not the case. I thought they played well against Minnesota. I thought they played well against Detroit. There are obviously still some things that we’ve got to get cleaned up, and this will be a great test for them this week going against the Packers front. The Packers have got a lot of guys that can rush the passer, so it will be a heck of a test for us.”

Q: How about your tight end situation, David Ausberry won’t play in this game will he?

Coach Allen: “No, he won’t play in this game. We’ll have to see where we’re at, probably after this game, and who’s going to be available for us. I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen out of ‘Bemidj,’ Brian Leonhardt. I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen out of him. Mychal Rivera, I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen out of him. We don’t have the depth that we need at that position, I’m still looking for who’s going to be that other guy, and we’ll see how the rest of the preseason plays out.”

Q: As it stands now, would Khalif Barnes play conceivably play a tight end spot in a certain situation?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, we’ve used him in that role and a lot of teams I’ve been on have used an offensive tackle in that role. I think that’s another one of the things that when you have depth on the offensive line, that’s certainly an option for us.”

Q: Looking at what Jadeveon Clowney has done, he’s dominating and blowing past people. Is it unfair to say Khalil Mack is talked about in that same way and he isn’t doing that?

Coach Allen: “No, I mean, I haven’t watched Jadeveon Clowney, so I don’t know exactly what he’s been doing. I know I saw him in the draft. I thought he was a heck of a player. But, I’m pleased with what I’ve seen out of Khalil Mack. Khalil’s going to be an impact player for us this year.”

Q: Being asked to do more dimensions than he’s used to doing, is that some of this? Like the drop-back, or the read?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, he’s still a rookie, and there are still a lot of things that he has to learn and every day is a new learning experience for him, but he’s continuing to get better. We’re going to increase his role and do some different things with him. I guess people are worried about it. I’m not worried about it. I think he’s going to be a really good player for us.”

Q: Immediately, Day 1?

Coach Allen: “Yes.”

Q: How will you tweak your quarterback rotation in this game, how will you rotate them?
Coach Allen:
“Well, Matt [Schaub] is going to go with the ones and then we’ll see where Derek [Carr] is health-wise, and see if and how much we play Derek Carr in this game. And then Matt McGloin would be after that.”

Q: Do you have a snap count for the first team?

Coach Allen: “No.”

Q: Factoring in what to do with DJ Hayden, does your overall health at the cornerback spot play into it with Chimdi Chekwa maybe being uncertain for that first week, you might not want to carry another cornerback that’s not ready to go?

Coach Allen: “There’s a lot of variables that go into it. Primarily what is DJ’s health, is he 100 percent ready to go? If he is, then I think we want him up on the roster. If he’s not, then that becomes a potential, but right now we’re kind of getting into the hypotheticals.”

Q: If you do bring him up, is he not eligible to go back on it?

Coach Allen: “That is correct.”