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News

Raiders Focusing on Preseason Finale

Posted Aug 24, 2014

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after Sunday's practice and discussed numerous topics and the Raiders get ready to host the Seattle Seahawks.

Opening statement: “Back to work today. I thought we had a good practice today. We’ve got a couple of days here to kind of work on ourselves before we get ready to play the Seahawks. Most of today’s practice was really working on ourselves.”

Q: Why wasn’t Matt Schaub practicing today?

Coach Allen: “Schaub has got a little soreness in his elbow. He came in yesterday afternoon with a little soreness in his elbow, so we gave him the day off. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and kind of take that day by day.”

Q: Is that a source of concern for you that maybe it’s been affecting him?

Coach Allen: “Well I hadn’t really seen it affect him, so the answer to that question would be no, but we’ll see how he does over the next couple of days.”

Q: When did it start bothering him?

Coach Allen: “He just came in after the game, yesterday afternoon I guess it was, and said his elbow was bothering him a little bit, so we started the evaluation process on that.”

Q: Is there any timeline on Sio Moore yet?

Coach Allen: “No.”

Q: What about David Ausberry?

Coach Allen: “No, he’s doing better, he’s getting closer. He was able to get out on the field and do a little bit of field work, so that’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully he’ll get better and be able to be out there pretty soon.”

Q: Since yesterday, have you discussed whether or not any of your first-team offense will play?

Coach Allen: “No, we haven’t really discussed that. We really worked yesterday on looking back at the Green Bay game and then kind of getting ready for practice today. So, we’ve got some time to make that determination, exactly who’s going to play and how much they’ll play in the game. We’ll see the starters that play, probably won’t play a lot in the game, and we’ll see a lot of the second-team guys get a lot of work. It’ll be good for us to see some of those guys get some second team work against a good football team.”

Q: How much work will you do on Seattle and will you at any point jump ahead with some of the guys to New York?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, some of this week we’ll begin the process of looking at a little bit of New York. Not exclusively, we’ve still got a lot of things that we’ve got to do, just concentrating on ourselves. We’ll probably spend about as much time on Seattle as we did in the first couple of preseason games, but we’ll really focus the next couple of days will be basically on ourselves.”

Q: Did Derek Carr or Matt McGloin take first-team reps?

Coach Allen: “Derek Carr did.”

Q: How did he look after being out?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, he looked good. He looked good. I didn’t see really any ill-effects of the ribs, definitely not anything from the concussion, so I think all signs are pointing that he’ll play in the game this Thursday night.”

Q: I know it’s early, but anytime that you hear about elbow with a guy that throws, it seems like a red flag. Is it a cause of concern for you?

Coach Allen: “I think that’s pretty similar that you asked me just a second ago. (laughing) No, it’s really not. We’ll evaluate him over the next couple of days and see how he’s doing.”

Q: Is this an injury that he’s complained of in the past that you know of?

Coach Allen: “No.”

Q: Usama Young didn’t play the other night. What is his status?

Coach Allen: “Well, you know, he was close last week. Kind of the intention was to be able to play him. We went out and worked him out before the game, he still wasn’t quite 100 percent as far as being able to open up, so kind of precautionary, we held him out. My hope is that he’ll be ready to go for this week.”

Q: Was there anybody on this staff that had any sort of connection with Neiko Thorpe? Where did you find him?

Coach Allen: “No, that’s a guy that [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] and his staff brought to us and signed to a future’s contract back in, I guess it was January or so. So, we really didn’t know a lot about him, but putting him out there, and actually we kind of started him out as a safety, and then somewhere in the offseason program we moved him out to corner and he’s done a heck of a job for us. I thought he played well in the game the other night. He really picked up where he left off in the offseason and in training camp. It didn’t look like he lost much of anything, so we’re really pleased with where he’s at and he’s made a good impression on us as a coaching staff.”

Q: He has pretty much done that while at Auburn and then at Canadian League, I believe, he’s done that moving around thing. Are his corner skills still real raw?

Coach Allen: “Well, I think probably the biggest adjustment for him is more kind of when we get into some of our zone coverages and that type of stuff, being able to read routes and that type of stuff, really from a man-to-man standpoint he’s done a really nice job. He’s picked up on the techniques that we’re teaching him. I think his physical ability gives him an opportunity to have success. I mean you look at kind of the trend in the National Football League now with the big corners. This guy is a big corner, long arms. He’s rangy, he can run. So, I think he’s got corner skills and really he’s got a corners mindset. There’s a little bit to that, kind of sense of confidence, maybe a little air of arrogance about yourself as far as knowing that you can go out and cover guys. I think to be successful in this league, you’ve got to kind of have a little bit of that and he’s got it.”

Q: An assessment of where you think the team is now offensively, defensively …

Coach Allen: “Well, we’re not where we need to be. And I said the Green Bay game was a good measuring stick, and I think it was. I think that’s a team, that’s a type of team that we aspire to be. There were some positive things in the game. There are obviously a lot of things that we’ve got to continue to work and get better at, clean up, and we’re working hard to do that. So, are we the finished product yet? No, we’re not the finished product, but we’re closer to that point than where we were probably four months ago.”

Q: What are the things you like versus the things that stick out as something you need to get better at?

Coach Allen: “Starting off on offense, I think we’re going to be able to run the football. I think we’ve proven that we’re going to be able to run the football. I think we’ve got some explosive players in the backfield. We’ve got a big, physical offensive line. I think you saw that in the short yardage play where MJD [Maurice-Jones Drew] found a crease, made somebody miss and was able to take it the distance. That was good to see. I think we’ve got to improve in the passing game, from an offensive perspective and all elements that are involved in that. The protection element, the routes, finishing the plays down the field in a contested environment, putting the ball in the right spots, those are all things that we’ve got to continue to get better at. Defensively, obviously we’ve got to start faster. I thought after the first drive we kind of settled in and we were able to affect the quarterback. I think we’re going to have the ability to rush the passer, not only with pressures but also with a four-man rush. Those are good things to see. I’ve been impressed with some of the things I’ve seen in the kicking game. The Detroit game, our return game was really solid and helped us with field position. I thought Marquette [King] punted the ball exceptional the other day with four punts down inside the 20. That’s a huge advantage for us as a football team and an advantage for us as a defense. Any time you can pin those guys back and they got 80-plus yards to go, it’s an advantage for you. We’ve still got improvement that we’ve got to make in those areas, but that’s kind of where I see the team right now.”

Q: Any chance that DJ Hayden is back in the next couple of days?

Coach Allen: “There’s a chance. Whether he is or not, I don’t know the answer to that. I talked to him today and he said he had a good day out on the field today. So, we’ll see.”

Q: Is Justin Ellis still taking steps or is he cleared? Allen: “He’s cleared. I would anticipate that he would play on Thursday.”