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News

Q&A with Head Coach Dennis Allen

Posted May 22, 2012

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media following Tuesday's OTA day.


Head Coach Dennis Allen takes questions from the media. Photo by Tony Gonzales

Q: Looking out there today, what’d you like?

Coach Allen: I thought the guys were flying around again. I thought the execution was pretty good, and I think overall I’ve been pleased. I think when you’re the head coach and you come off of practice, you want the defense to look good at times and you want the offense to look good at times and I think we did that today.

Q: From a defensive perspective, does it get any better than ending a practice with an interception?

Coach Allen: Yeah, I’ve got to take a more well-rounded approach to it now, but I thought both sides of the ball made plays today and I was pleased with that.

Q: How are you going to approach Rolando’s [McClain] situation, being that he still has another trial coming up, he could be away from the team at certain time points; how are you dealing with this?

Coach Allen: Right now, as we look at it, Rolando’s part of our family, he’s part of our team, and we’re going to let the whole process play out before we do anything. Once the whole legal proceedings are finished, then we’ll determine what, if any, action we need to take.

Q: So, would you be more inclined to wait for the NFL to take action or could the Raiders decide to?

Coach Allen: I think we’re going to let the legal proceedings play out and then we’ll see where it’s at.

Q: I know to start the year both you and [Reggie] McKenzie talked about- you’re morals guys, and you want your players to represent the brand and the big picture out there. So have you had some private talks with Rolando [McClain] of what you expect from him, on and off the field?

Coach Allen: We’ve talked to all of the players about that and I think all of the players understand what we expect out of them. I think the thing that we’ve also got to understand is that we’re starting anew, so we’re not going to take into account past sins necessarily for everybody’s actions. But I think everybody knows what the standard is around here and we’re going to expect people to uphold that standard.

Q: With the uncertainty, though, of potential suspension, lengthy trial, potential incarceration; do you have to have a plan B though at middle linebacker, even if you do let this thing play out?

Coach Allen: You do have to have a plan no matter what in the National Football League. Injuries always occur and you have to have a plan. We have plans in place to take into account all of that stuff.

Q: [Travis] Goethel is the guy who’s flashed on two different defensive coordinators in two years and then gotten hurt and not been able to play. What have you seen from him so far?

Coach Allen: I think if he can stay healthy he’s got a chance to be a pretty good player for us. I’ve been pleased with the way he’s been out here working and we’ll continue to have him get better one day at a time and if he does that he’ll have a chance.

Q: On the field what are the things Rolando needs to get better at this year?

Coach Allen: Really just, in general, I think some of the coverage aspect is places that he needs to work. I think he’s done a real good job from a leadership standpoint. I think he’s very instinctive, he’s smart out there, he’s taking command of the huddle; so those things I’ve been pleased with; physically. The one thing, if you look at him, the thing he needs to improve on, and he knows this, is a little bit of the pass coverage aspect.

Q: Is he behind since he hasn’t been in here practicing?

Coach Allen: No, he’s not behind at all. He’s actually ahead. He’s really smart. He understands the defense and has done a real good job in that regard.

Q: He said he had some stem cell stuff done in the off-season. Can you see him moving better than he looked on film when you watched him last year? Does he move around a little better?

Coach Allen: I think he’s moving around good. Obviously he played with some injuries last year, so I’ve been pleased with everything I’ve seen out of Rolando this whole off-season.

Q: Is there anything specific that you want to see out of each OTA, each day after the sessions end?

Coach Allen: It’s nothing specific. I’ve said this from day one and I’ll say this until the season’s over with - we want to get better one day at a time, one step at a time. If we do that, at the end of the day we’ll like the results.

Q: Is your progress meeting your expectations?

Coach Allen: I think it’s been good so far.

Q: Denarius Moore and Aaron Curry, they were on the side there…

Coach Allen: Most of the guys you saw over there got a little soft tissue injuries; hamstrings, groins that type of stuff. It’s more of a precautionary measure that it is anything else, especially during this time of year.

Q: [Mike] Mitchell’s still away. Is his injury significant enough that he hasn’t come out?

Coach Allen: He’s got a knee injury that he’s been rehabbing and I don’t look for him to participate for a little while now.

Q: What about Tommy Kelly?

Coach Allen: Tommy Kelly had some personal things to take care of back home, so he missed today.

Q: And [Manase] Tonga hasn’t been out here last week or this week…

Coach Allen: Same thing. He had a little scope on his knee and he’ll be fine. We expect him back, if not for the next OTA, for sure by the mini-camp.

Q: Any progress on getting [Marcel] Reece in here?

Coach Allen: I haven’t heard anything new on that. Again, it’s kind of the same situation. It’s obviously a voluntary situation and we’re hoping that we’ll see him pretty soon.

Q: Isn’t it kind of strange for a guy who’s younger and hasn’t been in the league long to not be here?

Coach Allen: I certainly would hope that he would get in here pretty soon because he needs to get caught up to what we’re doing.

Q: Can you comment on [Matt] Shaughnessy’s timetable and what does he bring to your defense when he’s healthy?

Coach Allen: He brings some physical-ness, aggressiveness, some experience, and I would expect that he’ll be full-go for training camp, but probably won’t see much of him before then.

Q: Is there a symbolism reason for no emblems on the helmet? Is that something that you’re behind?

Coach Allen: No, we just started off that way, and I think, if anything, we’ll all earn the right to wear that symbol.

Q: What are been you impressions so far about Miles Burris?

Coach Allen: Miles Burris has done a nice job. Like any rookie his head’s swimming a little bit, he’s got a lot to learn, but I’ve been pleased with the way he’s progressing.

Q: Early impressions of [Mike] Goodson?

Coach Allen: Good athlete. He’s got some speed, some running skill, been real impressed with him. From the middle standpoint he’s done a nice job, so obviously I think there’s something to work with, with him.

Q: You have a familiarity with Matt Giordano from your days with the Saints. Smile to your face, obviously there’s some nice feelings with what he brings to the team as well?

Coach Allen: Matt’s a great guy. He’s great for the team; he’s great for the locker room. He’s one of those guys that, he’s a true team player and wants to do anything he can to help the team win. He’s smart, instinctive, knows how to play the game, so I think he’s a welcome addition.

Q: When you look at Tyvon [Branch], obviously the team invested in him. Obviously, his numbers speak for themselves, but what have you seen from him that you like as he serves kind of as an anchor on the secondary?

Coach Allen: The way that he plays the game with the speed, the effort, the tenacity. He enjoys playing the game of football, as well as he is as good an athlete as you could hope for. So I think, with our safeties, we’ve got pretty good athletes that we can do a lot with.

Q: As he becomes even more of a leader, I think he’s always played like that but the teams really investing that in him, too. I know you wouldn’t see a change necessarily, but do you see him taking on a leadership role?

Coach Allen: I think it’s still new for Tyvon. He hasn’t been here a long time, but he’s developing everyday. Again, just like everything else, I want to see him take one step at a time in that leadership role and see if he can get better and better at that every day.

Q: Do you see [David] Ausberry developing into an every-down tight end as soon as this year, or do you see more of platoon at that position?

Coach Allen: I don’t want to put a timetable on it, as to when he’s going to develop into a full-time player. I think he definitely has that ability to, and again, if he keeps getting better, we’ll play that out as we get through training camp and see where we’re at.

Q: The blocking, physical aspects, where is he in that? You can’t tell until training camp, possibly…

Coach Allen: When we put on the pads we’ll find out where he’s at as far as that’s concerned.

Q: How does it help having two safeties who have experience doing coverage stuff?

Coach Allen: Tremendously. The safeties are the guys in the secondary, they make all of your calls back there, they make all of your checks back there. Having guys with experience that have done it before really helps.

Q: The flexibility that they both can cover guys, is that sort of keeping you more options?

Coach Allen: Absolutely. I think anytime that you can keep your regular people out there on the field and have safeties that you feel good about covering tight ends, running backs, wide receivers, it gives you more flexibility.

Q: Is [Ron] Bartell completely, with the neck injury and all that, back?

Coach Allen: He’s showing that he’s completely back. I think it took him a little bit of time to get his legs back under him, but he seems to be back and we’ll find out more about him, again, when we start putting the pads on and we start getting the chance to hit a little bit.

Q: What have you seen from him so far though?

Coach Allen: The type of athlete that he is. He’s a big athletic corner that can run. That’s what we were looking for, and that’s what we got in him.

Q: How about the new quarterback? Is he just a camp arm, or is he more than that possibly? What do you guys like about him?

Coach Allen: I don’t think we bring in anybody that’s just for charity. We bring in guys that we think have a chance to compete and have a chance to be decent football players. That’s what I think about him. That was the plan all along, to bring in a fourth quarterback. We wanted to bring four to camp, make sure we did have four arms, and I think Kyle [Newhall-Caballero] will do a nice job there.

Q: What does he do well, what do you like about him?

Coach Allen: I think he’s smart, he’s athletic, and he’s got a strong arm.

Q: This is all still kind of a first lap for you as head coach. What have you learned so far?

Coach Allen: Well, I’ve learned that every day is something different. I wake up every morning and get excited about coming in to work and find out what everybody’s got in store for me. It’s been good. I’m learning more as we go; how to deal with both sides of that ball. I’ve been used to dealing with defense so much, but learning offense and learning special teams as we go has been a lot of fun.

Q: Has there been any guys in these OTAs that have made any significant progress, like surprising, significant progress?

Coach Allen: I think there’s been a lot of guys that have made some progress. I don’t know if I want to, for fear I don’t want to leave anybody out, but in general I’ve been really pleased with all of the progress of all of our guys.

Q: Is [Miles] Burris strictly an outside guy or could he also be inside possibly still?

Coach Allen: I think right now with the learning curve, we’re going to keep him right there as an outside linebacker and let him get his feet wet, and then we’ll figure out where he’s at probably closer to training camp, even closer to the beginning of the season.

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