Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: **All right, injury updates. We've got Jacoby Ford, Vance Walker, Chimdi Chekwa and Mike Brisiel. We put [Brisiel] through some individual work today. We didn't do any team work with him at all, so we put him through some individual work to get a feel for where he's at. Guys that were injured during practice, [Brian] Leonhardt had some cramps. It's no big deal. [Nick] Kasa's got a quad bruise. We'll see how that goes. We started today, first real preparation day for Chicago. Obviously it's going to be a big challenge. I think they're extremely good on defense. They're very good upfront, the front seven. Their linebackers are very fast. They've played good defense for a long time. They've taken the ball away a lot, so we've got to make sure we protect the football against this team. Offensively they've got some weapons. I think Jay Cutler is a really good quarterback. Brandon Marshall obviously can win some challenges in the passing game, and they've got two backs that can really run the football. It'll be a good challenge for us, and we're ready to get out to the Coliseum and see what we can do.
Q: I guess there was a sequence yesterday where there was a few turnovers in rapid succession. Were you better at taking care of the ball today?
Coach Allen: Yeah, we were better at taking care of the ball. We understand that we've got to protect the football, and that's the first we talk about is protecting the football. We know that's going to be a challenge this week against this team, so we've got to have a sense of awareness with that and make sure we do everything we can when we have it to keep it.
Q: Is this the first week where you're really comfortable saying your regimen is closer to regular season practice and focusing on the other team a little more?
Coach Allen: Yeah, we'll be here for the next couple of days. We'll break camp. We'll go back to Alameda. We'll have our walk-through on Thursday just like we would on a normal in-season week, so even though we're here in camp, we're trying to get kind of the rhythm and flow of what we're going to do in the regular season and get guys to begin to get in their routine of how they're going to prepare for a game on a weekly basis.
Q: How did Vance Walker look? Was he able to move around as well as you expected?
Coach Allen: I thought he looked fine. I thought he looked well. We're trying to ease him back into it, and I thought for his first day back, he did some good things.
Q: [DJ] Hayden was cleared for practice yesterday, but today you guys were in pads. What did you see from him? Did he get hit at all?
Coach Allen: Well out there in the corner I don't know that you get a ton of hits in you, but I thought he competed today. I think we're all anxious to see, and I think he's anxious to see, what it's like when he gets out there in game action.
Q: Coach, the first cut-down day is looming. What do you hope to see from the team this Friday night?
Coach Allen: It's going to be important for a lot of guys. We've got to get down to 75 after this game. It's one of the unfortunate things in this business. We'll make some cuts and have some tough decisions, but I'm hoping to see better execution on both sides of the ball.
Q: Have you seen some improvement in the defensive line in the last couple of days?
Coach Allen: Yeah, I mean I've seen some improvement. We've still got a long way to go. Obviously we've got a couple of guys that we anticipate being starters, Vance Walker and Lamarr Houston, back out here, so I think that helps. Hopefully we'll get Pat Sims back out here sooner rather than later, and we'll get a better feel of it then.
Q: What is Pat Sims going to bring you when he's completely healthy?
Coach Allen: I think when we brought him here our anticipation was that he was going to be a good run-stopper kind of player. He plays square. He plays with some power. That's my hope. He's a little bit better rusher than I anticipated, but the primary focus for him is I want him to be a run stop and defensive tackle. What we get out of him from the pass rush standpoint is a bonus.
Q: I don't know if there was really a gentlemen's agreement about defenses not being too exotic in the preseason, but obviously that's not the case anymore. With your remarks earlier about the Bears, it's almost like you're welcoming the chance to play against a defense that does some interesting things.
Coach Allen: Well they're not real complicated in the things that they do. They have their system of defense. It's very similar to what they've done in the past there. They execute very well. They're extremely fast. They put a lot of pressure on you from the standpoint of their front four and their front seven. There are a lot of good defenses in this league, and we're going to have to face them. This is one of them.
Q: You don't mind if teams pull blitzes and stuff like that?
Coach Allen: Listen, we're going to see a lot of different things throughout the year, so we've got to be able to adjust and be able to adapt to anything a defense might give us. I just think that's part of the process of preseason games.
Q: You said the other day that [Juron] Criner was closer to coming back than [Jacoby] ford, but Criner was here today. Does that mean that Ford was back sooner than expected or that Criner is a little bit behind?
Coach Allen: It's probably a little bit of both. Jacoby had a really good day the other day in his rehab process. We felt like he was ready to go, so we were able to get him out here. I think Juron is close, but again, we've had a situation where we've brought some guys out here and they've reinjured themselves. I think we want to make sure that guys are back and ready to go so that we get a chance to evaluate them.
Q: How much are you expected to see CB DJ Hayden in the game this week? How many reps?
Coach Allen: I haven't put a number on it yet. I anticipate him going out there; he'll start in the game. We'll see how he is on a football-shape standpoint and see what all he can do.
Q: The guys that are healthy, will they go out in the third quarter?
Coach Allen:We'll see how the game plays out. The thought process going in is that they'll get a few more reps than they got last week.
Q: How do you balance the wish of treating it like a dress rehearsal for the regular season, but also seeing guys you really want to see that are maybe-yes, maybe-no.
Coach Allen:I think it's a delicate balance and I think that's why you have four preseason games. Generally, you play your guys you anticipate being your ones, you play them longer in the third preseason game and not quite as much in the fourth game. We've still got two more chances to go out there and get a good evaluation of everybody.
Q: Some of the defensive players weren't happy with their performances last week in New Orleans, nobody was. Did you see the response you wanted to see this week, after that game, in terms of them coming back and getting back on track?
Coach Allen:Yeah, I think they're responding. I think they all understand what they have to do. I'm not going to press the panic button because of one preseason game. Obviously we have to play better than we did. That's our goal and that's our focus moving forward. We need to learn from our mistakes. We can't move forward if we're always looking back.
Q: Do you see Menelik Watson to the left or do you see him as a right tackle?
Coach Allen:I think that's something that is a possibility. We have to get the best five guys that give us a chance to have success. Whoever those best five are, we'll put them in the positions that give us a chance.
Q: Was Jacoby Ford's injury related to last year's injury or was it something different?
Coach Allen:No, Ford had a hamstring.
Q: What about Juron Criner?
Coach Allen:Not telling.
Q: How about Latavius Murray?
Coach Allen:Not telling you that either.
Q: Coach, what are your thoughts on Matt Forte? He'll be the first true feature back that you've faced this season.
Coach Allen:I think they have two good backs. Matt Forte is an exceptional runner. He's good in the passing game. Then they can bring in a guy like Michael Bush and try to pound the ball. I think they've got two good runners in the backfield and it's a little bit of a change-of-pace situation with those two guys.
Q: Another unwritten rule, in the fourth exhibition game a lot of teams don't play their number ones a lot. Given your situation with competition, will you go away from that?
Coach Allen:We'll look at that as we go to that game. Right now, our focus is on Chicago. I'm planning for Chicago, I'm getting ready to play Chicago. Whatever we decide to do in the fourth preseason game, we'll look at that after this one. I'm not there yet.
Q: How did Sio Moore and David Bass look on film? Did they make strides from the first game?
Coach Allen:I thought both of them made some improvement. They still both have a long way to go. They still both have a lot of improvement that they've got to work on. Every day they come out here, they see something new, they see something different and that's just part of being a rookie.* *Yeah, I saw some improvement but I also see a lot of improvement to be made.
Q: Which areas?
Coach Allen:Sio, the details of his job. In Bass, I want to see a little more explosion out of him. I thought he had a nice rush in the game, which is something I think he's got a little bit of that ability, but I need to see him a little more stout against the run.
Q: Did you mention Tyvon Branch in the outset of who didn't practice?
Coach Allen:No, Tyvon Branch wasn't out here today. He's got some ribs that are sore. He tried to go yesterday and wasn't able to go and he still wasn't able to get through today. I'm pleased with where Tyvon is, so I want to make sure that he's ready to go.
Q: Brandian Ross is the next-guy-up there?
Coach Allen:Ross is the next guy up at the strong safety position.