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News

"We've Made a Lot of Improvement in Four Days"

Posted Jul 28, 2014

Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after the fourth practice of Training Camp 2014, presented by the California National Guard.

Opening Statement: “Four good days of practice, two days of pads. Tomorrow the players will be off, so it will be a good opportunity for them to get a little time to rest and recover. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we made a lot of improvement in four days. I’m looking forward to continuing this camp. I like the mindset of our football team and I think we’re getting better as a team.”

Q: What is the status of Rod Streater?

Coach Allen: “Streater had a concussion, so he’s going through the protocol. He went through the first step today and we’ll evaluate him as we go. Probably day-by-day on him.”

Q: What about some other guys who weren’t out there today, like Juron Criner and Shelton Johnson?

Coach Allen: “Both of those guys have hamstrings.”

Q: Is there any update on DJ Hayden?

Coach Allen: “No. No update yet. I mean, he’s able to do some things in the training room. Again, he’s still out of the boot, but he hasn’t gotten on the field and done any type of football activity, so I think we’re still a little bit to go before we get him out here.”

Q: Are any of the other guys on the Physically Unable to Perform or Non-Football Injury lists close to returning?

Coach Allen: “Well, I hope so. I think C.J. [Wilson] and Nick [Kasa] are probably fairly close. And really with those injuries, you never really know. Once they kind of turn the corner, then it goes pretty rapidly. So hopefully, we’ll start to get some guys back. Maybe an extra day off might help.”

Q: When did you make the decision to go two straight days with pads and what was the thinking behind that?

Coach Allen: “Well, we made the decision to go two straight days in pads back in the offseason. I think, specifically early in camp, it’s important to really work on your fundamentals and your technique, especially for the big guys up front. We’ve got a lot of new guys in those two particular areas, and there’s a lot of different coaching and technique things that we need to work on. So our thought process was to get some good work in pads early on in training camp, evaluate where the team is, and if we decide we want to pull back on the pads a little bit, we can do that as we get further into training camp.”

Q: I’m going to ask about a couple of under-the-radar guys. With Seth Roberts and Neiko Thorpe, are they both showing something?

Coach Allen: “Both of them I think have had a pretty good camp. Neiko’s a guy that, again, he’s kind of a big, long corner that can run. I’ve liked some of the things that I’ve seen him do in this camp. He’s done some nice things in coverage. But both of those players have improved from where we saw, from where they were at in the offseason.”

Q: In that last red zone session, Schaub looked pretty sharp …

Coach Allen: “Yeah, I thought he was real sharp in the red zone. When you go through practice, you want to see a little bit of give and take with the offense and the defense. But again, like I said yesterday, generally when the quarterbacks perform well you walk off the field and you feel pretty good about the way you practiced, and I really thought all of them again had another nice day and specifically Schaub down in the red zone.”

Q: With Marcel’s weight loss, do you plan on getting him more involved in the passing game this season?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, well we want to try to utilize Marcel. We think he can be a weapon for us. Based on how this season plays out and what we’re seeing defensively, yeah we’re going to try to use him and get him the ball.”

Q: Does the weight loss affect him as a blocker, or will he be OK as long as his technique is right?

Coach Allen: “No, I don’t think that’s going to affect him at all. I think where it’s going to help him is it’s going to help him in the passing game. Marcel’s been effective for us and we’ve been able to get Marcel the ball and we’re going to continue to get Marcel the ball. He’ll be a guy that we’re going to count on to help us this year.”

Q: What are you seeing out of Kory Sheets?

Coach Allen: “I’m seeing some nice run skills. Kory’s a guy that he’s still got some work to do from the protection standpoint, but as far as a turn around, hand him the ball and let him go run with it, he’s got some very good run instincts and he’s got an exceptional burst when he gets into open space. Again, I said this yesterday and I’ve said it before, that I like the depth that we have at the running back position. I mean, I think it’s a nice battle to see which guys are going to end up making the 53-man roster.”

Q: Did everybody finish practice today?

Coach Allen: Greg Little did not finish practice and he’s got a hamstring also.”

Q: How do you envision Pat Sims’ role this year?

Coach Allen: “Much the same as we saw last year. I mean, I see Pat as being a run-down player specifically and then he can help us some in the pass rush. Pat did a good job in the offseason of getting himself in shape. Last year at this point in time, he was out with a hamstring. He’s been through the first four days of practice and he’s done some good things in there for us.”

Q: How do you think Austin Howard’s transition to guard has been?

Coach Allen: “I think Austin’s doing well. I don’t think he’s there yet. Sometimes you look up and you say, ‘Wow, you know, this guy.’ I think yesterday he came around the edge on a pull and was pretty impressive, and then sometimes you see some things fundamentally, technique-wise, that he’s got to continue to work on. I think by the time we get to the regular season, I think he’ll be in real good shape inside.”

Q: From a mental standpoint, is that transition a big undertaking?

Coach Allen: “Well, I mean it’s obviously different. Things happen a little bit differently inside than they do on the edge. But I think he’s done a nice job of adjusting to it. I don’t think that’s going to be a major factor for him. He’s continued to work extremely hard. I think [assistant head coach/offensive line coach] Tony [Sparano]’s doing a nice job with him. I don’t really have a huge issue with that.”

Q: You mentioned the depth of this team with the addition of a lot of the veterans you brought on. Would you say this is your most complete team since you’ve been with the Raiders?

Coach Allen: “Well, it’s the deepest team. It’s the deepest team that we’ve had and really, we’ve got some depth in what I would call critical positions. I think we’ve got depth on the defensive line. I think we have depth at the quarterback position. I think we have depth at the offensive line position. When you look at your football team and you’re able to be deep and talented on the line and you’re deep at the quarterback position, it’s a good thing. It’s a good feeling to have.”

Q: What can the veterans bring to a lot of the younger guys out here?

Coach Allen: “Experience. I mean, all of these guys have a wealth of knowledge that they can pass on to the younger players. I’m sure you guys, as we’ve gotten done with practice, you’ve seen some of the older veteran players pulling some of the young guys aside and working with them. There’s only so much you can do as a coach. You can try to put them in the best possible position that you can put them in and give them as many clues as you can possibly give them. But at some point, that man across from you, he moves and does something different and you have to react to it. Those guys play the game. We don’t. So having that perspective, from both a coach’s perspective and a player’s perspective, I think helps young players out.”

Q: Do you find that sometimes coaches try and instruct a young guy on something and it doesn’t register as much as it does when another player explains it?

Coach Allen: “Yeah, I mean I don’t think there’s any question about that. Sometimes we don’t always speak the right language as coaches. Those guys have a great ability to relate to each other. Sometimes we might speak in a certain language and a veteran player can maybe bring it back down on a level that’s a little bit easier to comprehend or understand. This is a team. We’ve all got to be in this together, the players and the coaches. I think we’ve got a good mix of guys and we’ve really bonded together as a football team.”

Q: Can you talk a little about the progress of Mychal Rivera? Coach Allen: “Yeah, Mike’s done a good job for us and when you watch him, he’s a guy that we’re able to do a lot of different things with. We’re able to move him around and put him in different sports: flex him out, put him in the backfield, put him in motion. He’s a guy that has a great feel of the passing game and he’s really improved as a blocker. So he’s a guy that I’m excited about and can help us in a lot of different ways this year.”