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Coach Allen Monday


Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: **Listen, not anything new as far as the injuries are concerned. Obviously, last night we reported about Rashad Jennings; I don't think that's a major issue, but obviously we'll see how he responds to the hamstring. Talking about the game last night, just like I said last night, I thought it was a great team win. I thought all three phases contributed to the win. I thought offensively for us to start out the way that we did on our first two possessions – one, a one-play 44-yard-drive touchdown, and the next series out taking it 88 yards and eating a bunch of time off the clock and going up 14-0 was a huge deal for us. I thought our defense did a great job of being able to take away the ball with five takeaways in the game. Anytime you win the turnover/takeover ratio at five to nothing, you're going to win a lot of those football games. I thought defensively we did a great job there. Again, I thought the four-down stop down there on the goal line in the first half was a critical momentum builder for us and then our offense was able to take the ball off the goal line and move it out and put us in a little better field position. I think there are still things we have to continue to work on and continue to improve upon. We have to finish the game better. Obviously we had a 17-0 lead there coming back out after halftime and really the offense moved the ball down the field and had an opportunity; we had an unfortunate penalty where D-Mo [Denarius Moore] got bumped a little bit and went out of bounds, it would have been a touchdown to put us up 24-0. That penalty took that touchdown off the board and then we took the sack there that knocked us out of field goal range; I thought that was something that we have to get cleaned up because that was a critical situation in the game. I think if you go up 24-0 in that situation, you're feeling a lot better about where you're at. And I thought in the four minute situation, we can't have the critical alignment penalty, stop the clock, basically give them an extra timeout. They should have gotten the ball, worst case scenario at the end of the game, with 45 seconds to go in the game. Instead they had, I think it was a minute and a half or so to go in the game in a two score game. Those are the little things that are critical and can come back to bite you, but I'm proud of those guys in that locker room. Our backs were up against the wall a little bit and they came out fighting and they came out swinging and we were able to get it done, I'll open it up to questions.

Q: What did you think about the play of the offensive line overall with the reshuffling and all you had to do?

Coach Allen: We take about all the time, about next man up philosophy and everybody talks about it, but really I thought those guys did an outstanding job in the game the other night. With not having Wiz [Stefen Wisniewski], not having [Tony] Pashos and having guys like [Andre] Gurode have to move into center and [Lucas] Nix come back to guard and Matt McCants step in and play, and play as well as he did in the game, I think that's a tribute to those offensive linemen, the way that they prepare throughout the week. I think it's a tribute to the coaching staff, Tony Sparano and the way he works with those guys. I thought those guys did a great job.

Q: Dennis, when you look at your defense now  as opposed to the preseason, where, being kind, it was terrible in the first half, and now with the exception with one of game, it's given you the chance to be in every game. Besides the obvious cliché of familiarity and that sort of thing, what's really transpired or transformed to have this unit do what it's doing right now?

Coach Allen:Listen, preseason is preseason and you're working on some different stuff and you're doing some different things. Really, we had a lot of injuries throughout the preseason and that kind of wore the guys down a little bit. I think we were tired during the preseason and I don't think we played as well as we could have played. I thought you saw some signs of it picking back up in the Seattle game and I think the guys are just developing some confidence in themselves. They play the game the right way, they go out there and play hard, they play fast, and they play the game physical. If you play the game that way eventually the breaks are going to come your way. I know we may not have the most recognizable names on that defense, but we have some pretty good football players out there.

Q: Has there been a guy that's stepped up and been sort of an unforeseen contributor?

Coach Allen:It depends on what your definition of who is it unforeseen too. We brought these guys in here for a reason; we thought they were good football players and we thought that we could have success in a system of defense that we want to run and we thought those guys fit the things we wanted to be able to do. There are a lot of unsung guys that have stepped up and made plays. Kevin Burnett had an outstanding game the other night. Nick Roach has played extremely well for us, guys like Tracy Porter and Mike Jenkins, a guy like Brandian Ross stepping in for Tyvon Branch. There are a lot of guys that have stepped up and made some plays. It's never one guy, it's a collective group that has to step in there and do the job and they've done a pretty good job so far.

Q: Speaking of Brandian Ross, Charles Woodson got a lot of praise for the fumble return for a touchdown but it seemed like Ross actually scooped it out of the pile and kind of couldn't hold onto it and said, 'Here you go Woodson,' he let him take it.

Coach Allen:I told him during the game, I said, 'He's had enough, you don't have to give it to him (laugher).' Hey listen, you get enough guys running around to the football and good things are going to happen. I thought on the play, really, Brandian Ross and Nick Roach both were kind of at the point of contact when the ball came out and then Brandian was able to scoop it up and finally Woodson got it and he knew what to do with it when he got it.

Q: How critical was shutting down their running game last night?

Coach Allen:Well, huge. I think anytime that you can make a team one dimensional, and we were able to do that, and a couple of factors played into that. Obviously, getting out to a 17-0 lead helps your run defense a lot because they're chasing points and they're going to throw the ball a little bit more. I thought our guys did a great job of really trying to control the line of scrimmage and we were able to get off some blocks and we didn't give them a lot of seams to run the football.

Q: Can you speak to the atmosphere last night?

Coach Allen:I thought it was outstanding. I love playing night games. I love playing night games at the Coliseum. I thought the crowd was great. It's our responsibility to play well, and when we play well it's a great environment, when we don't, the environment won't be nearly as good. So, it's really our responsibility.

Q: Why did the Matt Flynn signing not work?

Coach Allen:You know, I don't know exactly what the reason was to why it didn't work, but it just didn't work. And Terrelle [Pryor] came in and took over the job, and he's earned the position that he's in. So we felt like it was probably best to just move on from that.

Q: Where do you go from here as far as bringing in a backup or a third string quarterback?

Coach Allen:Well, we'll look. We'll always be looking at what's out there. Obviously right now we've got Matt McGloin who's on the roster; we've got Tyler Wilson who's on the practice squad, and we feel good about those two guys, but we'll always continue to look and see if there's options out there that can make us a better football team.

Q: Has [Tyler] Wilson improved? Is he in the running for the third string spot?

Coach Allen:He has improved.

Q: Could you assess Terrelle Pryor's development; it seems like he took another big step last night with his decision making, is that accurate?

Coach Allen:Yeah he did. I've been very impressed with the way Terrelle Pryor has played. The one thing that you worry about a lot of the times with a young quarterback is critical mistakes. He made a couple critical mistakes early in the year, but he's learned from it, and the last couple of times he's been out there, he's protected the football and not made the critical mistakes. Even with all of that, he's been able to scramble and make the spectacular play and create with his feet and still get the ball down field. I think this kid is going to continue to improve; I think he's probably leaps and bounds ahead of where we thought he would be at this point in time. The key for him is that he continues to work and continues to strive to get better on the little things, because he's always going to have the elite athleticism; the ability to create, it's now about the timing, the decision making, the accuracy and all of those things. He's improved in those areas, and that's where we hope to see him continue to improve in.

Q: Have you seen anyone improve as quickly as he [Terrelle Pryor] has?

Coach Allen:Well, I think it's hard to say. I would say it stands out more when it happens at the quarterback position. He's improved tremendously. When you go back and look at where he was at the end of last year in the San Diego game, and then compare that to the way he played last night, it's night and day how the kid performs. So, he's done a great job. I'm glad we have him. I'm glad he's our quarterback, and he'll continue to be our quarterback.

Q: Can you give an example of him [Terrelle Pryor] making critical mistakes that he was making that he's not making now; can you give examples of some instances of when he did that?

Coach Allen:Well he's protected the ball. If you go back to the Indianapolis game, and we had a couple situations where he turned the ball over and were situations that were costly to the football team. Since then he's done a great job of protecting the ball; when we've had it, he's kept possession of the football, and he hasn't turned it over. Again, that's the thing that you always worry about with a young quarterback is that they turn the football over, and he hasn't done that…he needs to continue to do that.

Q: Has the team made any decisions on what to do with Andre Holmes?

Coach Allen:Yeah, we're going to bring Andre Holmes to the active roster.

Q: Is he a corresponding move for [Matt] Flynn at the moment?

Coach Allen:Yeah, as of right now, yeah.

Q: Fans and the media sometimes go nuts when they see teams fall back and play "coverage," sometimes it's called "prevent" – I know that coaches never call it prevent – was last night an instance of the team playing prevent, that helped you win the game?

Coach Allen:The key is, in those situations is that the only way a team can beat you is to get the ball over your head; we let them do it one time in the game the other day, and one time is too many. So, we don't use the term, prevent defense, we'll never use the term, prevent defense, but there is situational defense. And you have to be smart, you have to understand what an offense is going to try and do to you and at that point in time yards don't cost you anything, the only thing that costs you is points. The key for us was eliminating points, and when we got down in the red zone, defensively, we were able to do a pretty good job of keeping them out of the end zone.

Q: Do you need to bring in another running back this week?

Coach Allen:I don't know. We'll see. We'll go up and talk about it this afternoon, but I don't expect Rashad [Jennings] to be a big issue, and hopefully Darren [McFadden] will be back soon.

Q: Were you encouraged by the success of the running game early in the game before Rashad [Jennings] got hurt?

Coach Allen:Yeah, I thought we were able to run the ball fairly well early in the game. I think having Terrelle Pryor back there helps our running game because he's a guy that teams have to account for; whether he's got the ball in his hands or not, teams have to account for him. So, I thought that helped our run game; we ran for over 100 yards again in the game. For us to be a good offense we're going to have to be a balanced offense; we're going to have to be able to run the ball and throw the ball, and I think we did a pretty good job of that last night.

Q: How big of a lift is last night's win - to then go into face an unbeaten Kansas City team - after coming off probably your best game of the season? Coach Allen:It's a huge confidence builder to our football team. And again, I thought that was our most complete game that we've played all year long, offensively, defensively, and in the kicking game. We understand that the challenge that we face going up against Kansas City; they've got a lot of good football players, they're playing really good football right now, and it'll be a tough environment to play in. I understand that they're trying to set a world record. So we'll have to be prepared for that environment.

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