Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: **I'll update you on the injuries to start off with. Obviously we got a couple guys back today; we got Taiwan Jones back out here today, we got Brandon Bair back out here today. Jared Veldheer, he's got a torn triceps. We're going to do the surgery on Jared Veldheer, and he'll be a candidate for the I.R. [Injured Reserve] with the potential to return. So, I'll have more information on that probably later, but that's kind of the direction we're headed right now.
Q: What's your reaction to the news and how important he [Jared Veldheer] is to this team and this offense?
Coach Allen:Listen, it's a disappointment. I think it's a disappointment for all of us, but again, we're going to play 16 games this year. And the mentality in the NFL is that the teams that are able to push through those things mentally, those are the teams that have success. Everybody's got injuries and that's one we're just going to have to deal with.
Q: [Jared Veldheer] had an MRI last week, and then he came back out and practiced with an arm brace the entire time. Did it get worse during that time?
Coach Allen:No, there was an MRI. We had a second opinion. The second opinion was that we ought to go in and fix it, so we went back and took a look at it again. After sitting down, visiting with Jared, visiting with the doctors, we decided we're going to go ahead and get it fixed.
Q: But [Jared Veldheer] didn't make [his triceps] worse during that week [that he practiced], did he?
Coach Allen: No
Q: So will Alex Barron be the replacement?
Coach Allen: Alex Barron will go in at left tackle to start off with. Any time somebody goes down, it's an opportunity for somebody else, so it will be a great opportunity for him, and we'll see what he does with it.
Q: What has he done so far at practice filling in?
Coach Allen: Same as I've seen throughout training camp. I think he's done a nice job. Again, when the lights come on and he gets an opportunity to play a little bit more with the first group, we'll see how he does.
Have you been given a timetable for how long it will take [Jared Veldheer] to bounce back?
Coach Allen: You know, obviously there's a chance for him to return. I don't know exactly what the timetable is going to be, but it's going to be a significant amount of time. My hope is that we're going to be able to have him back at some point this year.
Q: If you IR [Jared Veldheer] can he play at all this season?
Coach Allen: Well you have one guy that you can IR with the possibly to return, so that's a potential for him. We don't have to make that decision now. That will come at a later time.
Q: Lamarr Houston is back. What's he looking like? Will he get reps on Friday?
Coach Allen: Lamarr's done a nice job. We'll see if we're going to play him in the game on Friday. You know, he hasn't had a lot of contact, so that's something that we've got to continue to evaluate. We'll make a game-time decision on Lamarr.
Q: Do you know what your rotation is going to be like? What guys are going to play?
Coach Allen: Yeah and I haven't talked to the team about it, so I'm not going to disclose that yet. We'll have a plan for how these guys are going to play. Q: Do you plan to play all four quarterbacks?
Coach Allen: I haven't talked to the guys about it, so we'll see.
Q: What have you learned from [Saints head coach] Sean Payton in your time there, and do you look forward to going up against him and seeing him?
Coach Allen: Yeah well, Sean's a heck of a football coach. I've learned a lot from him just as far as how he handles a football team, what his demeanor is and the swagger that he brings to his team. I think you'll see a different New Orleans Saints football team this year with having him back. That's where I feel like, in New Orleans, in those five years, that's where I feel like I really grew up as a football coach in the National Football League. It'll be fun to go back. It'll be fun to get a chance to see some of those guys. I'll get to talk to Sean and bounce a few ideas off of him and see what he has to say.
Q: Is [Sean Payton] as good of a play caller as there is out there right now?
Coach Allen: Yeah, I'd say he's up there at the top of the league. That's for sure. [The Saints] present a lot of challenges offensively in the way that they match up their personnel, their tempo on offense, the things that they do in the running game and in the passing game, so it'll be a great test for us. We're looking forward to the opportunity, and we'll see how it goes on Friday night.
Q: We're pretty deep into camp. How would you describe the competition for starting spots, roster spots, just overall?
Coach Allen: Well, they haven't been decided yet, but the competition's been outstanding. I think any time you can create competition it makes everybody better, and it's been healthy competition. I think everybody understands that we're all trying to win jobs here, but at the same time, the primary focus is what can we do to help the 2013 Raiders and what can we do to help this team win? I think the competition has been great.