Head Coach Dennis Allen took questions from the media after Wednesday's practice. *Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: Feel like you have enough time with only one more day to go?
Coach Allen: You never do. I've been pleased with the progress so far. I thought we had a real good practice today so that's been good.
Q: What did you feel good about today?
Coach Allen: I thought our mindset was right today. I thought our execution was really good. I thought our guys were flying around and I thought we made some good plays on defense. I thought we made some good plays on offense. So when it's balanced like that, you feel good coming off the field.
Q: What do you leave these guys with after tomorrow? What do you want them to do the next six weeks?
Coach Allen: I want them to make sure they keep improving on what we've already started. We've just laid a foundation for what we're trying to build here and so we have to make sure that between now and training camp that we don't just put football totally aside, we have to keep making sure that we're staying in condition, keep lifting weights as well as keep studying their notes and the playbook.
Q: Saw lots of plays made by a few different tight ends today and when Greg [Knapp] was with Houston, they did a lot of damage. Is that something we'll expect to see a lot of?
Coach Allen: I think we're going to try to figure out who all those weapons are that we have and we'll find out the things they do well and we'll try to get them to do those things and limit the times we ask them to do things that they're maybe not as good at. So the one thing I'd say about the tight ends is what was perceived to be an area of weakness coming in, I've seen some significant improvement and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do in training camp.
Q: [Richard] Gordon is a guy that came in and he only caught like 11 passes as a senior and he was labeled primarily as a blocker as they do when they come out, but he made some plays downfield today. Does that surprise you a little?
Coach Allen: I tell ya, he's athletic, for as big as he is, he's really athletic. He runs really good. He's learning to play the tight end position. He's a work in progress, but I think he's done a nice job so far.
Q: How many tight ends do you typically think you should be carrying on the team?
Coach Allen: Well, that all depends on the rest of our team. Typically you're going to be three, four, somewhere in there, but that'll be played out when we get to the end of training camp and we figure out who all we've got on the team and who want to be part of that 53-man roster.
Q: Would you say it's wide open right now? Does it help to have it wide open?
Coach Allen: As far as the tight ends position? Yeah, absolutely. And really, I don't really see it a whole lot different than a lot of other positions. We've got competition at every single position right now, which is healthy. It's good. It gets all of us better. I don't think there is a clear-cut favorite at that position for sure and those guys are doing the right thing. They keep coming to work every day and they keep trying to get a little bit better every day. As long as they do that, they'll be fine.
Q: How would you assess Pryor's development over the last couple of months that you've had him here?
Coach Allen: He's made progress, still a long way away, but he's made significant progress and the thing I've liked about him is his demeanor and the way he's gone about trying to work and get better. I think as long as he does that, he's got enough athletic talent that eventually he's going to become a player.
Q: Is part of it getting him to make the reads quicker?
Coach Allen: Yeah, that's part of it for him, but that's part of it for, especially young quarterbacks, but all quarterbacks. They've got to go through the progression and I think for him, being a real athletic quarterback coming out of Ohio State, a lot of times you'll rely on your athleticism and maybe not so much the fundamentals and technique and the progressions. He's been working extremely hard on getting that stuff down and he's done a nice job.
Q: The sequence yesterday where a few punt returners had trouble returning some of Shane's [Lechler] punts, which isn't all that unusual, but how do you see that position shaking out? Are you pretty sure that the guy that'll be returning punts Week 1 is currently on this team or do you think it could be someone else? Or is that a wide open spot?
Coach Allen: Well, I think it's a wide open spot. I'm not going to limit ourselves to saying that the person is on our football team. We'll look at all avenues to see where we can find somebody that can help us there. I do think that we have some guys back there that obviously pose a significant threat, but the first thing is we have to catch the ball, so we're continuing to work on that. We haven't worked on that a whole lot here in the off-season, but we're working on that more as we get into training camp.
Q: [Jacoby] Ford's a guy that's primarily a kickoff returner here. Do you see him…
Coach Allen: He's been working out there and he's a potential candidate to be that guy.
Q: What are your impressions of Owen Schmitt so far?
Coach Allen: I've been impressed. He's done a nice job. Obviously, that particular position, you're going to find out a lot more about guys when you put the pads on and really start hitting. There's a few positions, offensive and defensive line, that's a position and fullback, linebackers, those are the positions that you kind of have to wait to figure out until you put the pads on. But I've liked what I've seen so far.
Q: He's he more your traditional fullback? I know he can catch the ball, but is he more of a block first type of guy?
Coach Allen: I don't know if he's necessarily a block first type of guy. But he does fill that role pretty well.
Q: How about Rod Streater?
Coach Allen: He's done a nice job. He was a guy that during the draft process we had our eye on. It's strange how the draft process works out sometimes. You don't take a guy let's say the 6th or 7th round, but you really like him. And here's a guy that happened to be there as a free agent and he was a guy that we really targeted and wanted to get in here.
Q: How is [Darren] McFadden looking?
Coach Allen: He looks extremely good to me. He looks fast, he looks explosive, he knows what to do, he knows how to do it. I think, as we all know, the key is can we keep this guy healthy, and if we can, I would expect him to have a good year.
Q: Streater, he's filling in for Denarius [Moore] with the first team. What's the story behind that?
Coach Allen: I think he's earned the right to get the reps and he's done a nice job. He's a young guy, he's continuing to improve, but he's obviously caught our eye enough that he's earned the right to get a couple first team reps.
Q: Is it his hands or his feet? What's he done best to catch your eye?
Coach Allen: It's a little bit of both. He's caught the ball extremely well. He's run very good routes. He knows how to get open. He's been an explosive receiver and again, he's still a young guy, so he's still learning, he's still making those young rookie mistakes, but from an athletic standpoint, from a skill set standpoint, he's impressed.
Q: Are reps always earned during practice, additional ones, or are there times where you'll think, 'let's just throw this guy in there and see how he does?'
Coach Allen: I don't think it's ever that cut and dry where you just throw a guy in there and see how he does. I think there's part of that to it, but he's earned the right for us to say, 'let's put him in there and see how he does.' In that regard, it's earned, but sometimes you're just trying to get a look at somebody.
Q: Is it in any way that perhaps that he fills the same type of role that Denarius fills in the offense and that's why he's filling in for him?
Coach Allen: I think we're getting ahead a little bit and he's a young player that's done some good things and earned the right to get a couple of first team reps. I'm not ready to say he's the next coming of Jerry Rice, but he's done a nice job.
Q: Is he a similar type of player though?
Coach Allen: Yeah, I think he's probably a little like the same type of player. He's a good route runner. Not unlike Denarius – not a lot of people knew a whole lot about him when he came in here and he did a nice job and caught a lot of people's eye and that's what this kid is doing.
Q: Denarius likely out for tomorrow but fine for training camp?
Coach Allen: He'll be fine for training camp.
Q: What about [Aaron] Curry? Is he out tomorrow also?
Coach Allen: Yeah, that's more of a precautionary deal on our part. He practiced yesterday and his knees are a little bit sore so we're holding him out for a little bit.
Q: And Travis Ivey, what's his situation?
Coach Allen: Travis Ivey had a concussion the other day lifting weights.
Q: Lifting weights?
Coach Allen: Yeah, he got hit in the head with a bar.
Q: How bad?
Coach Allen: He's fine.