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News

Saturday Conversation with Coach Allen

Posted Aug 16, 2014

Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media Saturday afternoon and broke down the Raiders 27-26 win over the Detroit Lions.

Opening Statement: “Just after looking at the game, again, I thought there were some real positives in the game, some things that we’ve got to get cleaned up. The game didn’t start off like we wanted it to. I mean, we had a good drive going there on the first drive and then we throw the slant route that bounces off of James [Jones]’ hands and into the safety’s hands and they start off the game in good field position. They hit us on a double move on the second play of the game and then we come out and three-and-out offensively, which was not good, and then the next drive of the game, defensively, we have them in a third-down situation, we got a chance to get off the field. We had a lapse in coverage there and gave up a first down, they ended up scoring a touchdown on that drive. Again, they got pretty good field position on that particular drive. But, really after that, I thought we were able to kind of settle in and we played a lot better after that series. I thought coming back there in the second quarter and having the long drive that culminated really with a 55-yard field goal by ‘SeaBass’ [Sebastian Janikowski], which was outstanding to see. Really the first time this year that we get to see that operation. We had some trouble with that last year, but to snap it, put the ball down, kick it up and through 55 yards off the dirt, was very encouraging to see. I thought it was a heads-up play on the part of our field goal team to get set and we kind of hurried that operation a little bit to try to catch them with 12 men on the field, we got the call, and then you always get a little nervous when you take points off the board, but taking points off the board there and then being rewarded by being able to finish off the drive with a touchdown I thought was really a positive. I thought we were able to get a little bit of pressure on the quarterback, we didn’t have nearly as many sacks in the game last night, but I did see some signs of our ability to affect the passer. I thought Antonio Smith specifically inside did some good things as far as rushing the passer early in the game, in the first half of the game. And then it was encouraging to see when we got into the second half of the game that the guys continued to fight. It was nice to see Matt, I’m talking about Matt McGloin, get in there and take us down to that two-minute drive and get us a touchdown to win the game. I recognize that it’s a preseason game, but I think when you’re trying to build something I think any time you’re able to come away with a win, I think that’s a positive for your football team.”

Q: Derek Carr’s injury …

Coach Allen: “Derek had X-rays on his ribs, they were negative. I spoke to Derek this morning. He’s feeling a lot better. He did have a concussion, so we’ll follow the protocol there and kind of take that day by day.”

Q: Tyvon Branch’s injury …

Coach Allen: “I’m not sure, it’s an ankle injury. It’s not serious and we’ll see whether he’s able to go out to practice tomorrow or not, but I don’t expect that to be anything that we have to worry about.”

Q: Was Tyvon’s injury related to his ankle injury last year?

Coach Allen: “No.”

Q: Gabe Jackson got a lot of time with the first team on the six-man formation. What did you see from him?

Coach Allen: “I thought he played really well. I thought he played exceptionally well. I think he’s a guy that continues to get better every day. I think he’s beginning to be able to adjust to the different things that defenses are giving him. He’s a smart player and he’s got good instincts, both in the run game and the pass game, so I saw big improvement in Gabe Jackson this week and I think that’s something that’s going to benefit us as we move on down the road.”

Q: Do you think Gabe Jackson is making a push to start?

Coach Allen: “Well, you know, I think he’s performed very well, but I’m real pleased with what I’ve seen out of Khalif Barnes, too. I think when you look at – and I’ve said this before – when you look at the depth on our offensive line, I like the depth of where we’re at offensive line-wise. When you go back and look at the game, I know probably to the naked eye it looked like there might be some pressure, and I think anytime the quarterback gets pressured, the common idea or the common theme is, ‘Oh my gosh, the offensive line.’ Well, there’s a lot of other elements that are involved in that and I think when you watch the tape and you understand exactly what’s going on, I thought the offensive line was solid in protection.”

Q: Did the Lions blitz more than the Vikings did in last week’s game?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, they gave us some different looks that they haven’t showed on tape, and I think you get that sometimes in preseason games, where they give you something different to look at. That’s a little bit of a factor of the fact that when you don’t do a whole lot of game-planning for these games, you’re going to see some things like that that are going to happen and sometimes you get a little pressure on the quarterback. But I thought we made some adjustments and I thought, as the game went on, I thought we performed well.”

Q: What are your observations of the pass defense so far and what are your thoughts on the upcoming challenge in Aaron Rodgers?

Coach Allen: “I think it’s still an area that needs to be improved. It’s not the finished product, but that’s not a huge concern of mine. I think when last year we were kind of in a little bit of the same boat. When you have that many new players and that many changing parts, it takes a little while to get that part of your defense down. It’s really not a concern of mine. Obviously, there are things that we’ve got to get better at, but when we get ready to kick the ball off against the Jets, I’m confident that we’ll play good defense.”

Q: Do you anticipate Derek Carr getting more time with the first team next week?

Coach Allen: “I wouldn’t necessarily anticipate that. Our game plan, probably, going in is to get some significant work for the one’s, because when you get into that fourth preseason game, they’re probably not going to get as much work. I think we’ll see a lot of Matt Schaub in this game.”

Q: You rotated in some new wide receivers with the first team in Denarius Moore and James Jones. What did you think of those guys playing with the first unit and how tight is that position battle?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, I think it’s a tight position battle. I think all these guys bring a little bit something different to the table. They’ve all got certain things that they do really well and certain things that they may not be quite as good at. I think that’s a positive for us. Each guy brings a little bit something different to the table, so that versatility I think is going to help us as we move forward. I like our receiver group. I think we’ve got some depth there and I think we’ll be able to find roles for all of those guys if they can help us.”

Q: It seems like Brice Butler is down on that pecking order, but he has had a couple good days including last night. What have you thought of him throughout this camp and especially over the last week or so?

Coach Allen: “I think the last few days I’ve seen some things that are very encouraging from Brice. I think Brice, again, he’s one of those young players that’s continuing to develop. I think he will continue to develop. I think a lot’s going to be determined over the next couple weeks with Brice.”

Q: Are you streamlining what you’re throwing at Khalil Mack now?

Coach Allen: “We’re doing a lot more with him in practice, so we really haven’t cut back on the things we’re asking him to do from a practice standpoint. We’ve been limited as far as what we’ve done game planning-wise in these first two preseason games with what we’ve asked him to do. I get a ton of questions about Khalil Mack and where he’s at. When you watch the tape, the sack totals, tackles, sometimes those things can be a little bit misleading. When I say that, I’m talking about if you don’t have a lot of sacks or you don’t have a lot of tackles, that doesn’t mean you’re not being a productive player. I thought Khalil, this week, was much improved on where he was last week. I think we’re going to see a lot of good things out of Khalil Mack.”

Q: Are any of your three PUP players close to coming off that list?

Coach Allen: “The one guy that I am hoping is going to be out at practice on Monday is Usama Young. I think he had a good week of rehab this past week, and I am hopeful that he’ll be back out at practice tomorrow.”

Q: Did you see a lot of improvement from Derek Carr from Week 1 to Week 2?

Coach Allen: “I did, yeah. I did see a lot of improvement. I saw some improvement in his accuracy. I saw some improvement in his reads. I saw some improvement on some touch passes. So, I think that’s a positive sign. There is obviously still a lot of room for improvement, a lot of room for growth. But, I did see him take a step forward from where he was at after the first preseason game.”

Q: Where is Justin Ellis at in his concussion protocol?

Coach Allen: “He is not ready yet. I don’t know whether it’s first level, second level, third level. I’m not sure exactly where he is at in the process. I know he has not been cleared for participation yet. We’re going to continue to go through the process and whenever he gets cleared, he’ll be out there. None of us want to see him miss because these are important reps that he is missing out on. But, obviously, we want to take his health into consideration and make sure we’re doing the right thing for him for the long term.”

Q: Have you added a tight end and placed Nick Kasa on IR yet or has that transaction not been made?

Coach Allen: “To my knowledge, we have not made a transaction. I would think that we would sign a tight end. What we do with Kasa, I don’t think has been determined yet.”

Q: How is the Sio Moore and Miles Burris battle going?

Coach Allen: “I think it’s still a good competition. I think both of those guys are doing some good things. The competition, I think, has brought the best out in both of them. I think both of them are going to be better football players because of it. But, I would think that sometime here in the near future, we’ll probably make a decision on the direction we’re going to head there. But, no matter how that shakes out, I think both of those guys are going to be able to help us this year.”

Q: In watching the game film, are there any young players that jump out?

Coach Allen: “We talked about Gabe Jackson already. I thought he played very well. You see some positive signs from certain players. I thought Jonathan Dowling, there were a couple of plays there where I thought he did some good things. There is still a lot of room for improvement from him. So, those are a couple of guys that kind of jumped out a little bit. Chance Casey made a couple of plays. So, I think all of those guys are competing, and I think we’re going to have a lot of interesting decisions to make when it comes time to cutting down to the 53-man roster.”

Q: How did Shelby Harris look overall to you?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, I thought Shelby was solid. I actually thought when we moved him inside, I thought he was a little bit more disruptive when we moved him inside in the nickel later in the game. I think Shelby is one of those guys that, I think at times he’s still trying to figure some things out. I don’t think he’s quite there yet, but what you get with some of these guys, and Shelby is no different than a lot of rookies, is you’ll see a couple of plays that kind of catch your eye in a positive way and then there will be a couple of plays that will catch your eye in a negative way. We’ve just got to continue to improve on those positives and try to eliminate the negatives.”

Q: Do you see Darren [McFadden] finishing runs stronger than he did most of last year?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, I was just talking to [General Manager] Reggie McKenzie earlier, and I think Darren is probably running the ball as well as I’ve seen him run it since I’ve been here. I think he’s probably more explosive than I’ve seen him since I’ve been here. I think part of that is that he’s remained healthy throughout the offseason, throughout training camp. There haven’t been any kind of nicks or nagging little deals that have slowed him down. So, hopefully that trend will continue because I’ve seen a lot of positives in what he’s done in the running game.”

Q: Is that still a battle between him and Maurice Jones-Drew, with who gets the most carries, or is that not really a concern of yours at this point?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, that really hasn’t been something that we’ve had a lot of discussion on. We started Maurice these past two games and I think we’ve had a nice little rotation in there between those two players. I think Darren had eight carries in the game the other day and MJD had six carries the other day. Both those guys are going to get significant playing time and both those guys are guys that are going to help us.”

Q: Is there any chance that DJ Hayden is back this week?

Coach Allen: “I don’t expect that.”

Q: Any update on him?

Coach Allen: “He’s getting closer, but again, it’d be pure speculation to say when I thought he’d be back on the field. He’s continuing to rehab, he’s moving closer, but he’s still not ready to go.”