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Coach Allen Discusses Bye Week, Defense


Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen**: Couple good days of work for the young guys. Some maintenance stuff for the veteran players. We'll still use these next few days, those guys with injuries, they'll be here getting their rehab, but the guys that are healthy will get a little bit of time off, get a chance to rest up a little bit, relax with their families a little bit and be ready to go next week for Pittsburgh. That's where we're at.

Q: After you guys had the week off last year, you guys came out of that and played perhaps your best game of the year. Is that a coincidence or is that a key?

Coach Allen: I think getting the rest, obviously, will be critical. We have to do a good job as coaches of having a great plan for our players and put them in position to have success. So we'll use the rest of today and tomorrow and then we'll have a couple extra days next week to try to put a good plan together for Pittsburgh and we'll need a good plan because it's a good football team. I don't pay any attention to records. I pay attention to what I see on the tape and we'll have a tough challenge coming back after the bye.

Q: You talked about doing self-scouting during the bye week; how much self-scouting are you guys able to do during the year regularly not on bye week and how beneficial is it?

Coach Allen: You do a lot of it during the year on a week-in and week-out basis. To really get a chance to sit down, watch all the plays, watch everything you're doing -- the different situations, first and second downs, you get to evaluate the run game both offensively and defensively, you get a chance to see what you're doing in the passing game, third down, red zone, two-minute, all those situational type of deals -- you get a chance to look at and see what you're doing well and the things you need to improve on.  And then again, you get a chance to look at your personnel and the guys that are making the plays and the guys who are doing what they need to do. This bye week is good for us.

Q: Does it mostly reinforce what you knew before or do you often learn a lot?

Coach Allen: Well sometimes it changes your opinion. It changes your opinion schematically – are we doing the right things? And who we're asking to do those things. So there's a lot of things that come up during the bye and through the course of your self-scout to see what you can do better.

Q: You guys did some real good things defensively against Philip Rivers where he looked kind of confused and wasn't sure what was coming. Alex Smith noted after the game the other day, he said that because of all the looks you gave, he wasn't always quite sure what was coming or who was coming from where. Yet, when you talk to defensive players in there, they all say, 'what we do is pretty simple.' How is that achieved, something that the offense thinks looks complicated, but the defensive guys it's not complicated?

Coach Allen: Well, you have concepts that you do defensively and what you try to do is try to change the look up a little bit, but it's really not different for your players. And we try to do that in every game so the offense can't just get a beat on where we're coming from and what we're doing. That's critical to the success of our defense. I think our guys have done a pretty good job of understanding how we can just change a couple of different players in a particular concept and it looks totally different to the offense, but it really it's not anything different for us. You try to be as complicated as you can from a look standpoint for the offense, but yet not change too much defensively so you don't make the mistakes.

Q: Is it important for the defensive guys to know what the other guys are doing or maybe not know, just know what they're doing?

Coach Allen: No, it's important. The more you understand about the concept of the defense, the better we're going to play. Listen, playing good defense is all about knowing where your help is. That can be the front, maybe you have a particular pressure that's coming from this side over here and you have to understand it if you're here on the other side you have to turn it back to the pressure. I think the more our guys understand really conceptually what we're trying to do defensively, the better we're going to be.

Q: What makes [defensive coordinator Jason] Tarver good at teaching that?

Coach Allen: I think he's really smart. He's able to take something that might seem complicated, break it down and make it as simple as you can for the players. I think sometimes, I think, us as coaches, sometimes we over-coach. When you over-coach, you tend to slow your players down. You want to try to make it as simple as possible so that your players can play fast.

Q: What's the plan for both Jared [Veldheer] and Miles [Burris] coming out of the bye?

Coach Allen: I don't think either one of them is ready yet. The plan is for Jared, obviously, when he's healed, then we begin to get him into football related activities. Really, Miles it's really a matter of putting a few days back-to-back and being able to come out without any type of soreness or anything like that. We're getting closer with both those players. I don't think we're there yet. We won't do anything to activate those two guys until we feel confident that they're ready to go.

Q: When you look back on DJ Hayden's body of work the last six games, are you satisfied with the way he's coming along?

Coach Allen: Listen, satisfied? No, he's got to play better. But, encouraged by some of the things I've seen and some of the things he's done over the last couple of weeks. He's responsible for two takeaways the last two weeks, so he's' getting better. He's improving. But he's still got a long way to go. We just have to keep throwing him out there and let him keep getting experience and the more experience he gets, the better he's going to play.

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