Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: **All right guys, I'll update you. There's really not a lot injury-wise other than what we've already discussed. You know Andre Gurode had the quad in the game. Tony Pashos has a hip flexor, and Tracy Porter's got a little shoulder injury. I think this bye is coming at a great time for us. We've got a lot of guys down right now with some injuries, and we need them to be able to get some rest, get healed up and get ready to go for Pittsburgh. When you look at the game from yesterday, this disappointing thing is we've got this game — it's a one score game — with 4:18 left to go in the game, and then it snowballed on us from there. I think the thing we've got to learn how to do as a football team is we've got to learn how to finish games when we have opportunities. Again, we had the ball second-and-five on the 36-yard line. We've got to find some ways to make some plays. Even though things didn't go our way for the majority of the second half specifically on offense, we still had a chance to win the game. I think the more times our guys put themselves in those situations the more we're going to learn from those situation and the better we're going to be as we keep moving forward. It was a learning experience for a lot of young guys in a tough environment. I thought their team played outstanding, but I think we obviously have to play better. The crowd I think was a factor in the game. We had too many penalties in the game. The false starts, the communication, getting out of the huddle—those are all things that we've got to get cleaned up. That starts with me, and I'll do a better job at that — getting our guys prepared, understanding what the game plan's going to be and how we've got to execute. In a game like that you can't turn the ball over. We knew it was going to be a field position, turnover takeaway game. Our starting field position was the minus 20. Theirs was the 36. We knew points were going to be hard to come by, and we had to do some things defensively and special teams to create field position. We weren't able to do it like we needed to. Bottom line is as a football team we didn't play well enough in that game to win, and there's a lot of things that we've got to get better at. We'll use the bye to do two things: to work on some things we need to get corrected as well as get some rest for some guys — get them a chance to get recovered and get ready for the second half of the season starting with Pittsburgh. We'll give them some time off. They'll be off on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We'll take the next couple of days to get a couple of things cleaned up, so I'll open it up to questions.
Q: As far as your offensive line goes, you're using a third-string center and guys that are so out of position. You really have to reach depth. Have you ever been around a situation like that where you have to make so many changes to your lineup in such a short span?
Coach Allen: Well last year we lost our two starting corners in the first two weeks of the season.
Q: How about just offensive line-wise?
Coach Allen: No, I probably haven't been in a situation where I've seen that many injuries at one particular position, but again everybody deals with injuries in the National Football League. We're not going to use that as any type of excuse. We've got to go in and do our job and execute. I think a lot has been made of the offensive line in that game. Obviously I think we all know and they all know that we've got to be better, but it never falls on one guy. It never falls on one position. It's a team game. Offensively there are 11 guys out there. All 11 have to do their job on every single play. It's offense, defense and the kicking game all coming together as a team. That's how you win games. That's how you lose games.
Q: What do you hope the offensive line looks like when you play the Steelers?
Coach Allen: Well I hope it's healthy. To be honest with you I have no idea right now. I think this week is critical for that group to get rested and get recovered. We'll probably know a lot more at the beginning of next week as to who's going to be available for the Pittsburgh game, but right now I don't know the answer to that.
Q: Are you planning to sign a number three quarterback this week?
Coach Allen:Well, we'll see. A lot of these personnel decisions have to do with the health of your football team and what you can and can't do. I think we'll obviously look at where we're at as a football team, and we'll see if a third quarterback is an option or if it's not.
Q: Coach, with the delay of games with [Terrelle] Pryor and the play cock, were the plays coming late or does Pryor need to be more efficient?
Coach Allen:It's a combination of a lot of things. One of the things that we deal with, with Terrelle being a mobile quarterback, is that a lot of the pocket quarterbacks are right there in that area, where the next play is going to be, and a lot of times he's not right there in that area. So, we've got to do a better job as a football team – all of us, getting back into the huddle, getting the play call in, getting it communicated. We've got to be faster than that. We can't have the delay of game penalties, the false starts that we had. We can't burn timeouts because we can't get the play called in the huddle and get that communicated. That's one of the elementary things in football and we've got to be better at that.
Q: Did [Terrelle] Pryor injure his hand during the game?
Coach Allen: He had a little cut on it, but I don't think it was anything, no.
Q: With the quarterback helmet, how quickly does that communication happen between the offensive coordinator and the quarterback after the play is blown dead?
Coach Allen: Typically it's pretty quick. Again, there's a chain of communication that comes from the offensive coordinator to the quarterback. Terrelle [Pryor] had some issues with what the communication was. But, listen guys, that's an area that we've talked about in the past and we still have some issues there. We've got to continue to work to get that cleaned up.
Q: You're up 7-0, late in the first half, and it's third-and-10, DJ [Hayden] has a pass interference penalty. If you can go into the half with that lead, do you think it changes the whole dynamic of the second half?
Coach Allen:Well, yeah. I think that was a big momentum swing in the game – that two-minute drive. It's the first points I think we've given up in the two-minute situation this season. I was hard on the defense; critical on the defense because we knew what type of game it was going to be, and you can't give up points in that situation. So, it was disappointing, it was frustrating. I thought we had a chance to make the tackle on the screen play earlier in the drive, which kind of game them a little bit of momentum there and DJ [Hayden], here's a young player that's out there against Dwayne Bowe, and I think he kind of panicked a little bit on the play – he was actually in pretty good position on the play. So again, he'll take a look at that play and see what he can do differently for the next time, and hopefully not make the same error next time.
Q: Do you continue to project Terrelle Pryor as your quarterback of the future?
Coach Allen: Yeah absolutely. I mean you know, I don't think he played as well as he would have liked. But again, he's still a young player – that was only his fifth start of the season. So he's still got a lot growing to do and a lot of getting better to do, but he's a talented player, and we're going to try and continue to build with him and try to grow with him.
Q: After the game, Terrelle [Pryor] said that this isn't the same 2-4 Raiders team as in years past, and even eluded to the fact that this team is possibly a playoff team. What do you feel about his comments? Do you agree?
Coach Allen:Well, I'm not worried about playoffs, that's the last thing I'm worried about. I'm worried about trying to get this team better. There are no moral victories in pro football. We're competing. We have chances to win games. We have to figure out ways to win games when we have those opportunities, and that's really the bottom line. But, we are what our record says we are, and we've got to be better.
Q: Can you talk about what you saw in [Darren] McFadden yesterday? Was he at full strength?
Coach Allen:I don't think he was one 100%, no. I thought there were a couple of plays that you would normally see him break free. But I thought he went out there and battled. I thought he fought through, and we didn't have any setbacks during the game, so I'm hopeful that this week, with a little bit of rest he'll be ready to go for Pittsburgh and hopefully be one hundred percent for that game.
Q: Coach you had three sacks in the first half and none in the second. What did they do? Did they solve your blitz package?
Coach Allen: Well we left a lot of opportunities on the field. We had one where we had the quarterback in our grasp, and he broke out on a second and one play and got the first down. That was the play right before DJ [Hayden] got the turnover in the red area. Then we had a couple of other opportunities where we had him in there, and he was able to break containment. I thought we were able to get pressure on the quarterback pretty consistently. The sacks didn't come like we wanted them to, but it comes down to when you get those opportunities you've got to make sure you take advantage of them. I thought we affected the quarterback in the game. I don't think he was a major factor contributing to the win. I thought we did a pretty good job on the quarterback.
Q: I think I read a stat where they sent almost five guys 40% of the time. Terrelle Pryor probably hasn't seen that pressure all year.
Coach Allen: It's not just those five guys. It's who those five guys are. They had some pretty good guys up front that were coming after the quarterback. Yeah, they brought some pressure on him, and I don't think we responded as well to the pressure as we needed to. There are some times when Terrelle's got to get rid of the ball. There are some times when the protections got to hold up a little bit better. There are some times when we've got to get open a little bit faster, so again any time you have that many sacks in never falls on one area or one player.
Q: It seems like the receivers aren't getting separation. Is that the case?
Coach Allen: I don't know. I think we knew this was going to be a game where we had to try to win on the line of scrimmage. Listen, there were times when we did — the slant route to Denarius Moore and catches it for a 39-yard touchdown. We won on that play, but the overall consistence of winning the one-on-one matchups, we've got to work to improve in that area.
Q: Coach, Sebastian [Janikowski] had another miss. Is it the same issue that's been the problem?
Coach Allen: There's obviously something we've got to look at because all of the misses have come off the left hash. We've got to look and see. Is it the operation? Is it something he's doing in his kicking motion? What's the reason for that? Obviously he mishit the ball. He kind of toed it a little bit, and that's a kick that we would normally anticipate him making.
Q: Coach the coverage on the kickoffs and the punt coverage has been improved, and you've been blocking field goals. What had Coach [special teams coordinator Bobby] April brought to this team?
Coach Allen: Well he's been doing this for a long time, and his units have always been at the top of the league. When you look over the long haul of his career and what he's been able to do, I think he's an outstanding fundamental coach. He brings a lot of passion and energy to the game, and I think the players feed off of that. He's done a nice job of putting guys in positions where they can go down and be effective and make some plays, and the guys are playing hard. The guys are doing a good job. I think Taiwan Jones is, if he's not the best special teams player in the league, he's one of the best special teams players in the league. He's a difference maker in all of our coverage units. I think our players are doing a nice job in responding to Bobby, and I think Bobby and K.B. [assistant special teams coach Keith Burns], both of those guys are doing a good job of coaching them.
Q: Speaking of Taiwan [Jones], I know he was tried initially when he came in as a kick returner, but he had some turnover issues. With his speed and his moves, have you thought about letting him return kicks at all?
Coach Allen: Well I think having Jacoby [Ford] back there on the kickoff returns, I mean he's an explosive player. We've got to do a better job of creating some space and blocking for him so that he can use that explosiveness. I think our lack of returns are a little bit more a factor of just blocking in space and not allowing our guy to make the tackle more so than it is a factor of who the returner is.
Q: Coach, Marcel Reece had I think one touch in this game. How do you get him the ball more?
Coach Allen: Well we've got to put him in positions where we know he's getting it. Turn around and hand the ball off to him. Throw him a quick screen. Do some things where there's not a lot of decision making involved. It's just we're going to give him the ball. I think sometimes you get in these games where it's kind of going the wrong way on you and going a little bit south on you. It's a little bit harder to kind of get into a rhythm where you feel like you can just call the plays to get him the ball. We've got to do a better job of making sure we put him in positions where he's getting his touches because he is a good player for us.
Q: You said that Terrelle [Pryor] is your quarterback and this is a team game, but would you say he took a step back?
Coach Allen: I think he had a learning experience. He probably played as good as he has played last week against San Diego. He didn't play as well this week against Kansas City. That's part of the growth of a young player. Now the key is does he learn from it, does he move forward from it and does he play better against Pittsburgh. That's what we're looking for. Again, when you get young players, especially at the quarterback position, you're going to have some ups and downs. You've got to give him an opportunity to continue to grow.
Q: Do you anticipate maybe during the Steelers-game week having a guy like [Miles] Burris start his clock and [Stefen] Wisniewski being back?
Coach Allen: I'm hopeful. Miles has continued to get better every day, and he continues to work with the trainers. He was able to put a few good days back to back. Really I think that's what we need to see. Can he put in some back to back days working with the trainers and not experience any type of soreness, not experience any type of setbacks? I don't think we're quite there yet, but I think we're getting closer.
Q: Is [Jared] Veldheer on target for Week 9?
Coach Allen: We'll I don't know if he's on target. He could potentially return at that point. I don't know if that's a realistic goal or not, but he is getting better. He is improving, and he's working extremely hard to get himself back out there.
Q: Will you talk about the progress of Sio Moore?
Coach Allen: Sio is progressing and getting better. I think the one area where we probably need to get him a little more work and give him a few more opportunities is in the nickel. Get him a chance to rush the passer a little bit more. He had a nice rush on the first play of the game. He got a sack. He's another one of those guys that, again with young player, you have a little bit of the ups and downs. There are a couple of plays in the run game where he's got to do a better job of setting the edge, using his hands and those kinds of things, but I've noticed over the last couple of weeks a little difference in his demeanor and his work ethic and his practice habits — the way he prepares for the game. I think some of that is showing up on game day. If he continues to learn how to prepare like a pro and work like a pro then you'll continue to see the progress out of him.