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News

"There are a lot of positives to gain"

Posted Aug 9, 2014

Head Coach Dennis Allen says he sees a lot of positives after watching the film from Friday's night's loss to the Vikings.

Opening Statement: “I’ll start off by saying that when you go back and you watch the tape, there are a lot of positives to gain from that game last night. I thought that you could really see some things that we were able to do, and the run game, I think we’re going to be able to have an effective run game. You saw some good things up front with the offensive line being able to move people off the ball. Overall, I thought we were pretty solid in protection. I still believe that’s a much-improved area on our football team. The defense, we were able to get some pressure on the quarterback, which was really a positive. I think that’s something that, as we move forward, that we can build on and gain from. The biggest thing in the game, and you go back and you look at it and say, the penalties were the biggest thing that we had to deal with. A couple of those are this year’s points of emphasis with the NFL and with the officials with defensive holding or illegal contact down the field. That’s an area that we have to get cleaned up. Illegal hands to the face is another area that they’re emphasizing. We had basically two of those. Brian Leonhardt was called for a facemask. That was one of those where you have two guys battling and his hand kind of slips off and grabs a guy’s facemask. That’s something that I don’t know that in the past that you would have seen some of these things called, but with the rules and points of emphasis, we’re going to see those things. So, it was good for us to get out, play a preseason game, see how the officials are going to call those things. We’ll get an opportunity to clean some of those things up before we go out and play the next game.”

Q: What does Latavius Murray bring to you guys that is maybe different than Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew?

Coach Allen: “Latavius is a big, powerful back that really also has exceptional speed. When he gets out into the open, he has an opportunity to take the ball the distance. I thought he ran the ball hard in the game [last] night. I thought he did a pretty good job, for the most part, of making the right reads and putting the ball where it needs to go in the run game. I was pleased, really, with all of those running backs – Kory Sheets included – of being able to run the football. So, I think that’s going to be a strength of ours this year.”

Q: Have you noticed a big difference in how Murray runs? I think Greg Olson said that last year he wasn’t running comfortably in the limited time that you guys were able to be with him before he got hurt. Is he running smoother than last year?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, absolutely. It’s obvious that when you go back in the mental picture of what you saw from him last year and what we’ve seen to this point this year, it’s obvious that he was not healthy last year. I think now that he’s back to being healthy, I think we’re seeing a little bit more the type of back that we felt we were going to get when we drafted him. I think, to this point in camp and really through the first preseason game, he’s done well.”

Q: When you go back and look at the tape of Khalil Mack’s first half, what did you see from him as the first half went on?

Coach Allen: “I think you saw a guy that is a rookie that was playing in his first game. I did see some things where …  A couple of times we activated him on rushes and he was able to cause some disruption. But then there were some times where, a little bit in the run game and a little bit in the pass game, he is just a little bit late in reacting to his responsibility. I think that’s a guy that is playing in his first NFL game. Again, we don’t do a lot of game planning. We’ll begin a lot more game planning when we get into the third preseason game. But for the first couple of games, there is not a lot of game planning that goes in. I want to watch these guys go out and play football and execute a little more of our base offense, base defense and just see him fly around and play the game. So, I don’t want them doing a whole lot of thinking. I want them just really basically reacting to what they see and go play football.”

Q: How do you think the cornerbacks held up? What did you think of their play as a group?

Coach Allen: “Well, I think overall I think it was positive. I think they had 270-something yards of offense, I believe it was, total offense, which is not a lot of offense. So I think overall it was positive. Obviously, when the first drive – the thing you look at is a couple of those throws to Cordarrelle Patterson, there’s some tight-window throws and contested catches and that’s what you want to see because I feel like if you continue to contest those plays, you’re going to get your fair share of them.”

Q: Considering the issues you had in the field-goal game last year, did you consider using Sebastian Janikowski just to get him out there with Marquette King?

Coach Allen: “Well, we actually were considering in the third quarter there using ‘Sea-Bass’ [Janikowski], and then we kind of get knocked out where it would have been, I think it would have been a 59-yard field-goal attempt, and Marquette really needs to work on his green punting, too. So I chose to go ahead and punt Marquette there. When it got in the fourth quarter, I didn’t want to take the risk of having ‘Sea-Bass’ in there with really, basically, the third field-goal protection team and risk the chance of somebody breaking through and getting on his plant foot or something and him potentially getting injured. That’s one of the reasons why we signed a kicker when [Michael] Palardy had appendicitis. We wanted to have somebody in here so we didn’t have to worry about kicking ‘Sea-Bass’ for the full game.”

Q: Were there any other injuries that came out of yesterday’s game, other than Justin Ellis?

Coach Allen: “No, the only other thing was Jansen Watson’s got a little bit of a toe injury and I don’t know what the extent of that is. We’ll probably know that probably better tomorrow, to see if he’ll be able to get out there and practice. But that was the only other injury-of-note that could potentially be an issue.”

Q: Which of the younger defensive players jumped out on film?

Coach Allen: “I thought there were a couple guys that kind of jumped out and did some good things. I thought Shelby Harris did some good things in the game. I thought he got a little tired late, but I thought kind of in the middle of the game, I thought he did some really good things. He was able to get some pressure on the quarterback, had a sack-fumble. I thought TJ Carrie played well in the defensive backfield. I thought [Ricky] Lumpkin did some good things in there as a defensive lineman – great technique. Some of the guys down the line that are battling for spots on that 53-man roster, I thought I saw some good things out of them.”

Q: When you looked at Matt Schaub’s throws and decision-making in those first couple of series, what did you think? I know he was sort of put in a hole sometimes as the wideouts didn’t make catches, but what did you think of his performance?

Coach Allen: “You know, I did not think that – I was pleased with what I saw out of Matt Schaub. I mean, two of the third-down throws, you know, he tries the back-shoulder throw down the middle to Mychal Rivera and that’s a catch that he’s made consistently in training camp. The corner route on a third down was an outstanding throw in a tight window against Cover 2 and Mychal again wasn’t able to come up with that play. We had a miscommunication on the first third down of the game where he was trying to get the ball to Andre Holmes, and those are some of the things that show up in the first preseason game that we get a chance to look at it, we get a chance to correct, coach it up, and hopefully we’ll be able to improve on that. I was not displeased with Matt Schaub’s performance. We obviously need to play better and we need to be more consistent. But again, I thought there were some things that we can build on.”

Q: Will you give Derek Carr a chance with the first team at all in the preseason games, or will that mostly be Matt?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, it’s not really part of the plan right now. We’ll obviously evaluate everything as we move along, but the plan is to work Matt Schaub as the starting quarterback and I think he’s done a good job in doing that.”