Head Coach Dennis Allen answers questions from the media. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Q: How'd [Darren] McFadden look today?
Coach Allen: I thought he looked pretty good. He's out here running around and it looks like he's running full speed, so I've been pleased with the way he's looked.
Q: Any limitations at all?
Coach Allen: Not that I can see.
Q: Was he at full speed the mini-camp before the draft?
Coach Allen: Yes.
Q: It's got to be encouraging with a guy like that. What he went through last year to see where he is now.
Coach Allen: Absolutely. We want him to be healthy. We want him to be able to stay healthy. We're going to do everything we can to try to keep him that way.
Q: You've had to game plan against him. What sort of things does he bring to an offense?
Coach Allen: Explosive, homerun-hitter on any given down. Those are guys that are tough to deal with because you might bottle them up for awhile, but all it takes is one play and he hits a homerun and ends up beating you. He's an exciting player. He's working hard out here everyday to get better, to learn the system, make sure he knows what to do and how to do it and to make sure he can execute it under pressure.
Q: What have you seen out here that you like so far?
Coach Allen: I've liked our effort. I think our guys are flying around, they're working hard. What we preach is to get a little better every day which is what they're doing, so I am pleased with the guys' effort.
Q: How would you characterize your style of what you like to see at this point, when obviously guys aren't in pads but you can determine certain things about your players out here?
Coach Allen: I'm looking for guys that know what to do, they know how to do it, how we're coaching them to do it, and they can execute it under pressure. So when we get into these team periods and things are going faster, and people start moving around making sure that they know what their assignments are and that they're able to execute it. So our guys are doing a good job, they're working hard to try to get better. That's really, at the end of the day, that's what we're focused on.
Q: Lots of plays by [Juron] Criner today, I mean a lot. Has it been like that pretty much every day or was today the exception on that regard?
Coach Allen: It's been a learning process for him. I think every day he gets a little bit better. He's learning more what to do, so I was pleased with the way he practiced today. It's not a whole lot different than what we saw on him on tape in college. So that's what we expect out of him.
Q: Some guys that weren't here today; [Richard] Seymour and [Rolando] McClain. Any reason?
Coach Allen: Seymour, it's kind of been a tradition for him. He hasn't been to a lot of the offseason conditioning programs, so I'm not real concerned with that. He's a veteran player. He was here for the mini-camp when we had it earlier and did a nice job. He's been in touch with us and we're well aware of what he's doing. Then, obviously, McClain's got the legal issue that he's trying to get taken care of back in Alabama this week.
Q: And Mike Mitchell…?
Coach Allen: Mike Mitchell's got a little bit of a knee deal.
Q: Talk about the quarterback play.
Coach Allen: I've been pleased. I think you saw out here today that the quarterbacks are putting the ball on the money and they've really been doing a nice job, so I've been pleased with the quarterback play in general.
Q: I know it's early but can you talk about the chemistry of bringing Matt [Leinart] in strictly for Carson [Palmer]? What do you notice about those three guys, what the chemistry is like in the room or even on the practice field?
Coach Allen: I think the chemistry's been good. I think they're all working together. And I think they understand that for us to be good, they've all got to be pulling the rope in the same direction, and we can't have factions going one way or the other. They've been great together. They're competing, they all want a chance to play and that's what we want. It's been a healthy competition, and I've been pleased with it.
Q: Do you see Carson [Palmer] having a leadership role on this entire team?
Coach Allen: Absolutely. He's taken a leadership role on this team. I think when you're good, your quarterback is the leader of your team and he's obviously done a good job this offseason in taking control of that.
Q: What types of things has he done?
Coach Allen: I think just his vocalness and the way that he's approached his business. He's come in and he's worked extremely hard. He's been in the weight room, working extremely hard. He's been putting in the extra hours and the extra time and he's worked with the young players. He's had the wide receivers out here throwing when we were able to get them out here and throwing when the coaches couldn't be out here. He's taken a leadership role in that way.
Q: What's your assessment of [Matt] Leinart overall?
Coach Allen: Overall, the assessment of Leinart's been good. Again, he's just getting back into the fold so it'll take him a little bit to really get caught up to speed, but I think he's done a real nice job so far.
Q: [David] Ausberry looks bigger. He came in as a wide receiver last year, converted to tight end, looks like he's grown into that role a little. How important has it been for him to keep those wide receiver skills he has but also put the size on?
Coach Allen: I think it's important. Obviously, the bigger you get he's not going to run around the exact same way he did as a wide receiver, but he's still plenty agile to run routes, and I see us using him in that role as a pass-catching tight end. He's bulked up a little so we can really work on his blocking and that's something that he's made an emphasis on and he's done a nice job in that way.
Q: Look like you're mostly four man line on defense. I know you're going to be multiple, but is that just easier to get them to start in the 4-3?
Coach Allen: Yeah, you can't throw everything at them at one time so we've started out in the 4-3 and showed them a few looks in that. As we go throughout this OTA we'll start to add some of our three-man stuff.
Q: Are there signs that you're seeing that the group as a whole is buying in to what you want them to do?
Coach Allen: Absolutely. I think when you look at the way they're working out here, I think you can see that they're buying in to what we're selling. Again, this is a process guys. It doesn't happen overnight. We're going to preach the message of those guys getting better one step at a time, one day at a time. As long as they worry about the process and getting better, the end results will take care of themselves.
Q: You take a lot of the time during practice to step aside and let your coaches coach. Is that kind of what your style is going to be?
Coach Allen: I believe this; I believe as a head coach, ultimately you're in charge of the product that goes out on the field. But part of being the head coach is you want to hire good people. You want to declare your expectations, what you expect out of them. Then you want to get out of the way and let them work. That's kind of my style. That's what I'll do. But I'm a coach at heart and I'll get my hands dirty when I need to.
Q: Will a lot of that happen when you're in the meeting rooms and that kind of thing as opposed to on the field?
Coach Allen: Yeah, but I think that as you continue to be out here and watch us practice, you'll see me get more involved as we go along in the teaching aspect of it.
Q: [Matt] Shaughnessy; is he completely recovered from the shoulder or is he still working?
Coach Allen: He's still in the recovery process but his recovery's been going great. I would expect him not to miss any time when we get to training camp. We'll see how the rest of the offseason plays out.
Q: [Stefen] Wisniewski and [Mike] Brisiel; what are their situations? Either of those guys work today?
Coach Allen: Wisniewski is still coming off the shoulder injury so he's kind of in the same boat as Shaughnessy. Brisiel's just got a little hamstring, but he'll be fine.
Q: How important is Shaughnessy to the defensive front, in terms of what he can bring?
Coach Allen: I think he's important. I think he's a tough, physical type of player. He's kind of the type of player that we're looking for. So he's important to our front. I think we've got a nice mix of guys, some new blood that we brought in there, and when we get to training camp we'll see how all of that plays out.
Q: Did [Stefen] Wisniewski have a procedure on his shoulder or is he just rehabbing injuries from last year?
Coach Allen: He had a little procedure in the offseason, but he's been rehabbing since the season was over.
Q: Is someone needed to fill in for Mike Bush, or do you have that guy here?
Coach Allen: Right now I think we feel good about the stable backs we've got, but I think we'll always, just like in any position, we're going to look at what's out there and what's available. If we feel like there's something that's going to make our team better we're going to take a look at it.
Q: You guys let [Rhett] Bomar go this week. Was it your intention to come into this camp with three quarterbacks on the roster?
Coach Allen: No, that's not the intention. At the end of the day, Rhett's a little bit more of a veteran type player and probably wasn't going to get as many reps, so we felt like we'd give him an opportunity to move on and we'll look and see what's out there about bringing another guy in to help these quarterbacks with an arm in camp.