Head Coach Dennis Allen. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: What are your thoughts on Matt Schaub?
Coach Allen:"Obviously, I'm real excited about it. This is a guy that we identified very early on in the process that we thought could potentially be available to us. He was a guy that we really thought highly of. I've had a chance to know Matt Schaub for a long time. I was there in Atlanta when we drafted him back in 2004 and had a chance to follow his career. I think he's been a very good quarterback. He's been a top 10 quarterback throughout his career. I just thought he'd be a great addition to this football team, and I was glad that both Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis and everybody within the organization was all on board with this thought process and this was something that we've had our eye on for a while now. I'm glad that we were able to make it happen."
Q: Why do you think that he is a good fit for this offensive scheme?
Coach Allen: "I think anytime you get a chance to get a veteran quarterback of his stature, I think that's always a positive. This is a guy that is a two-time Pro Bowl player. When you get an opportunity to add those type of players, that's what we're looking to do. We've got some young players that we feel good about. We've been wanting to add some really solid veteran players that can come in and contribute to the football team and help us win games. The quarterback position is the most important position on the football field. We feel very confident that Matt Schaub is the guy that can come in and lead this football team. He's proven that he can do it in this league."
Q: Will Matt have to face open competition like last year or is this his gig from here?
Coach Allen: "We brought Matt Schaub in to be our starting quarterback. We feel very confident that he is going to be able to come in and function in that role and be outstanding for us. Obviously, we love having competition within the team, but right now Matt Schaub is our starting quarterback.
Q: When you look at how Matt Schaub played last year with the Texans, what made you think that was an aberration?
Coach Allen: "I think some of it was just a little bit of unfortunate. Some of it was some bad situations. I don't think, when you really watch the whole tape, I don't think all of it was his fault. I think what happened was that there was just a wave of momentum against him and that was really hard for him to overcome. But, I think we've all seen guys …. A guy that comes to my mind is a guy like Kurt Warner, who went to a Super Bowl, won a Super Bowl with St. Louis, went on to go play for the New York Giants, his career didn't go as well as everybody would have thought. Really, a lot of people thought he was done. Then he goes into Arizona and kind of resurrects his career. So, I think a change of scenery will be outstanding for Matt. I just think it's a good situation for both Matt Schaub and for the Oakland Raiders."
Q: Are you going to be making anymore moves with the offense? Or after finding the quarterback are you pretty much done?
Coach Allen: "We'll never be done. Exactly what those moves are going to be, it's hard to pinpoint those things because I don't know what's going to happen between now and the draft or really even after the draft. But, we're going to continue to look for any way that we can improve this football team offensively, defensively, in the kicking game and I would doubt that this is the last move that we make to try to help our football team other than the draft."
Q: Does this in any way change your interest in drafting a quarterback as well?
Coach Allen: "I don't know if it changes your interest. Obviously, that's still a position that we'll look at it. But I think what it does is it is you don't feel that pressure that you have to go out and try to draft a quarterback. You kind of let everything kind of fall to you now. So, that's why I thought going out and getting the veteran quarterback, and especially a veteran quarterback of Matt Schaub's stature, I thought that was the best thing for us as a football team."
Q: So if Matt plays well, can you see him being the starter for the next three, four years?
Coach Allen: "Yeah, absolutely. I think as you look around the league, you're seeing these quarterbacks play for a long time. With the way the rules have been set up to try to protect the quarterback and the different ways – you can't hit them too low, you can't hit them too high. There are a lot of rules that are to the benefit to try to keep these quarterbacks healthy. I definitely can see Matt Schaub being the quarterback of the Oakland Raiders for more than just a year or two. He's 32 years old and will be 33 when the season starts. You look at Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, all these guys are beginning to get up there in age, so I think that this guy can play for a while."
Q: What are going to be the challenges of blending so many new faces? To blend everybody as a team in just a few minicamps and a training camp.
Coach Allen:"Obviously that's the challenge you face when you have as much turnover as we've had. The good news is that we've had some experience in that area. I think the thing, when you look at the guys that we're bringing in here, they're guys that have been a part of championship teams and they understand what it takes to win and win at a high level in this league. They're guys that can help us bring along some of these young players that we feel like have a chance to develop into good football players for us. It's a challenge, but that's the fun part. Any time you can bring a talented group of men together, the key is that we get everybody fighting for the same goal."
Q: What does Justin Tuck bring and do you think his signing has been a domino effect for some of the other guys you've brought in?
Coach Allen:"Yeah, everybody recognizes guys that have played in this league at a high level and there is a lot of name recognition with those guys. I think the fact that we've been able to bring in guys of his stature, when people look around the league, they understand that we're doing some good things here and we've got a vision and we're trying to win. I think bringing a guy in like Justin Tuck with the notoriety that he has, and the resume that he has to go along with it, and the fact that he can still play. He had 11 sacks last year, so this is a guy that can still play the game. I think that helps us. Probably not too totally different, guys, than when we brought in Charles Woodson last year. Charles was a little bit older, but the same concept that we're thinking about with so many of these other players, was what we felt like we got out of Charles. Charles brought a great leadership role, but he could still play the game and that's what was most important."