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Coach Allen Day 5

Coach Allen: Okay guys, [I have] an update on the injuries: [Eddie] McGee has a hamstring, [Richard] Gordan has a lower leg infection, [Shane] Lechler still has the knee, [Aaron] Curry has the knee, [Ron] Bartell with the hamstring, [Travis] Ivey is still working on his conditioning, and Denarius Moore still has the hamstring.

Q: What happened with Ivey between the last time we saw him at camp and now? Did he put on weight or was he just not healthy?

Coach Allen: There's a certain position where we want him to make sure that he's able to stay healthy out here. Until he's able to get to that position he won't be able to be out here.

Q: Is he close?

Coach Allen: We'll see.

Q: Is it a weight issue or just a conditioning issue?

Coach Allen: It's a safety issue as much as it is anything else. I want to make sure that he's healthy, in shape, conditioned, and his weight's where it needs to be so that if and when he does get out here to start practicing he doesn't injure himself.

Q: Gordon was originally a hip flexor injury, was there something else that transpired afterwards?

Coach Allen: He got a little leg infection the other day but that's nothing we anticipate to be a big deal. It's more that now than it is the hip.

Q: Bartell was doing a lot of stuff off to the side and it looks like he's moving around really well…

Coach Allen: It looks like he's getting close. We would hope to have him out here pretty soon.

Q: How much work did Moore get in today? He was dressed up and out there…

Coach Allen: I'm not sure exactly when we pulled him out. We made the decision to pull him out; it was somewhere early around the first team period but I'm not sure exactly when it was.

Q: A year ago at this time he was making plays every single day, he was basically the rookie sensation. Did you get to see enough of him in the off-season before that hamstring [injury] to see what he brings to the table?

Coach Allen: I got a chance to see him last year up close and personal so I know what type of player he is and what he's capable of being. Those hamstrings can be a nagging deal so we're going to be cautious to make sure that at the end of the day we have him ready to go come the Monday night opener. That's really what we're shooting for so we're going to try not to put him in a position where he sets himself back a lot.

Q: Are you looking for one guy to back up Darren [McFadden] or are you looking for a combination of guys?

Coach Allen: We're looking for as many good players as we can find. Right now we have a couple options behind him that can do some different things. All those guys are explosive in space and that's what I really like about all those guys.

Q: Now that you've been in pads for a few days, what do you see defensively up front?

Coach Allen: I've been impressed with the front. We have to do better using our hands, our pad level is still high, we still have to make sure that we're disciplined enough to stay onsides, that's still been a little bit of an issue but up front I'm pleased with the way the guys are responding and the way they're attacking.

Q: How difficult is it to evaluate when you are not tackling to the ground and are not in a full game situation?

Coach Allen: Obviously it is not the same as a full game situation, but we teach body position, pad level and those types of things. I think you can really tell just by body position whether a guy has a chance to make a play or not.

Q: We didn't get to see [Matt] Shaughnessy in the off-season when he was rehabbing his shoulder. He hasn't missed a practice yet. How good is he at that stuff you are talking about, body position all that stuff?

Coach Allen: He is having a good camp. He is a big powerful guy. We probably don't have the real speed edge rusher. But the way those guys have been able to work together, we're able to collapse the pocket and get after the quarterback.

Q: [Richard] Seymour had said during the off-season camp that everybody talks about the run defense and that it is never one guy. He said that Shaughnessy losing him really hurt in that regard. Is that because of the positioning stuff you were talking about?

Coach Allen: Yeah. I think especially the way we are going to play our ends, it is important to have a guy that has got a little bit of size that can really set an edge for us. Matt is a big tough physical guy and he enjoys playing the game that way. I am looking forward to him producing for us and staying healthy for us.

Q: In terms of the offensive line, when are you going to weave in some of the younger guys?

Coach Allen: I think the evaluation process takes time. I am not going to set a time table as to when we work guys in. I think whenever we as a staff sit down and think we have seen enough to warrant somebody stepping in and getting some of those reps, then we will make those adjustments.

Q: I saw you were working with the linebackers early on their fundamentals. You know how sloppy the Raiders have been defensively. You turned it around in Denver last year, what are the keys to turning around the defense this year especially fundamentals?

Coach Allen: Well, obviously I think fundamentals are a critical variable in being a successful team whether it be offense, defense, or special teams. We believe in doing the little things right. We are going to continue to preach the little things because the little things become the big things if you don't have them corrected. Fundamentals are going to be critical in everything we do as a team.

Q: Having a defensive background, I imagine for your offense you are looking for things you didn't like to face, things you didn't like matching up against. I am just curious that with a zone running team, as a defensive coach, what was difficult about it? Why did you want it for your offense?

Coach Allen: It is being able to maintain gap discipline. I think the zone running scheme is the toughest running scheme in football. I think with our runners and the way that they can stretch you side to side and get you running and then find a crease, turn it north and south with the pads square is going to be a good thing for us from an offensive standpoint. It is a tough scheme and it is not just the zone running scheme. It is the way it is taught in this system has been productive for a long time and so it has always given us trouble. 

Q: Was it in your mind that when you were a head coach that you were going to want a zone running team?

Coach Allen: Absolutely. In my mind, it's the best scheme to run the football that there is.

Q: Is Mike Goodson enough of a change of pace back from Darren McFadden or do they have a lot of similarities or do they bring totally different things to the table?

Coach Allen: I don't know that they just bring necessarily totally different things to the table. I think they're fairly similar in some regards. I think both of them are explosive, both of them have the ability in open space and then the passing game to make things happen. Whether he's enough change up or not, I don't know that answer yet for sure, but we'll find out once we start playing some preseason games and see where these guys really are.

Q: What do you like about him that you've seen so far?

Coach Allen: Those things I talked about. I think he's, number one, picked up the offense pretty good, which I've been impressed with. And then just what he's able to do in open space from an athletic standpoint gives us a chance to exploit some things with him.

Q: Have you been pleasantly surprised with what he's done or does he come as advertised?

Coach Allen: I think from a mental standpoint is where I've been the most surprised. I think he's really come in and picked up the offense. Pass protection is another area where he's maybe a little bit better than I gave him credit for. And then he's a guy that can be an asset for us in special teams.

Q: Is he a change of pace back or is that something you guys need or do you have one on the roster?

Coach Allen: I think our guys give us an opportunity to do a lot of different things. Do we have that big pounding back?  I don't know the answer to that yet. Once we kind of get into preseason games and we start seeing what our guys are able to do, the answer may be one of those fullbacks and we can turn around and hand the ball off to them and that can be our guy that pounds it up in there. But I think all of our runners, although they may not be the biggest runners in the league, they all have a physical presence.

Q: How would you assess today's practice as opposed to yesterday's? Did you put another good practice together?

Coach Allen: I was pleased with the practice. Obviously, you're never going to be 100-percent pleased and we certainly have some things that need to get corrected, but the thing that I look for is are guys coming out and working and are they trying to get better every day. And I think for the most part, that they are. We just have to keep pushing them through because as you get through the grind of camp it becomes harder and harder to get that done.

Q: If you weren't pleased with a practice, would you say it?

Coach Allen: They would know.

Q: Would we know?

Coach Allen: I believe you would.

Q: So when you first put on the pads, it looked the defense had an advantage early on. Do you feel like the offense is catching up?

Coach Allen: I think it's been a little give and take. I thought early in practice, I thought the offense got after the defense pretty good in the running game and the 9-on-7 period. I thought the defense responded in some of the situational periods and red zone periods. But I don't think any of these practices have been totally dominated by one side of the ball or the other and that's a good thing. For us to be successful, we're going to have to be a balanced team and we're going to have to play well offensively, defensively and in the kicking game.

Q: It seems like [Shawntae] Spencer is struggling a little bit. Is that a fair observation or what's your impression?

Coach Allen: I think he's been a little up and down in camp. We're going to continue to push him and see where he's at. I'm not pushing the panic button on him yet, but obviously with all these guys, we want to continue to see some improvement.

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