Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen chats with Raiders Report host JT the Brick during the Raiders preseason game against the Saints in New Orleans. Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Q: Are there any updates on injuries?
Coach Allen:Yeah, I have a few updates as far as the injuries are concerned. [David] Ausberry has a shoulder, and he's probably going to miss the rest of preseason. Tracy Porter had a groin. He's probably doubtful for this week, and we'll see where he's at after that. Brandon Bair kind of re-aggravated a hamstring injury. He's day-to-day. Kevin Burnett has a knee. He's day-to-day. Eddy Carmona with a head. He's day-to-day and then John Wetzel has a knee and he's probably out for a couple of weeks.
Q: What did you see from Marquette King? Do you think he took a step forward in the game?
Coach Allen:Yeah, I think both punters punted the ball pretty well. I think obviously I've been impressed with what Marquette's been able to do over the last probably week and a half of training camp, and what he was able to do in the last two preseason games. The gap has definitely closed. I think it's a really good competition that we have going there, and we're going to let that thing play out the rest of the preseason and see how it plays out.
Q: The Saints blitz a lot more than other teams do. Is that something that's good for you guys at this point in terms of seeing what you need to do?
Coach Allen:Yeah, I think the more looks that we can see, the better we're going to be prepared for those things when it comes to the regular season. Obviously they brought a lot of pressure, and we've got to do a better job in the passing game of being able to execute when we do have pressure. I think obviously the offensive line plays a part in that, and I think that everybody always looks at the offensive line when things break down and the quarterback is under duress, but there's a lot of things that go into that, and we've got to be better overall as a group at being able to handle pressure and being able to protect the quarterback, being able to get the ball out of our hands and execute the passing game under pressure.
Q: What do you do with the offensive line? Do you give it another couple weeks or are you going to make more changes to it? Is it kind of one of those things where you need to give it a little while?
Coach Allen:Obviously, some of our options have been limited due to injuries and some things are a necessity based off where you are injury-wise, but we're going to continue to look at the offensive line and continue to see if there are some other scenarios that we could go through and some other lineup changes we could go through to try to, at the end of the day, figure out who the top five guys that we go into the season with.* *
Q: How much of a concern right now is the lack of pass rush?
Coach Allen:Obviously it's a concern. We've had two games where we haven't really been able to get after the passer, specifically with four people, so that's something that we've got to continue to look at. When you go back and look at specific things, and I'm not just meaning the pass rush, but the game in general, it's never obviously as good as you think it is, and it's never as bad as you think it is. We made a lot of mistakes in the game overall as a football team. But the good news is a lot of those things are correctable mistakes, and so, we're going to work hard on trying to correct those things. And we've got some different things that we can do to try and put pressure on the quarterback too. It's something where you look at it, and it's not something where you go and bury your head in the sand and act as if it doesn't exist, but there will be some other things from a game-plan perspective that we can do to help in that regard.
Q: Is DJ Hayden going to be out of the red jersey tomorrow? Is he all good to go now?
Coach Allen:He'll be out of the red jersey and ready to go.
Q: How important are the next couple of weeks for him in terms of getting up to speed and being ready for the season?
Coach Allen:I think real important. Obviously missing a little bit of time with the hamstring earlier in camp was a little bit of a setback, but he's still been able to be out there and get a lot of reps. It'll be good to get him in a game situation and let him get out there and play. We brought him to New Orleans with us this week, we let him go through the pre-game warm ups, again to try and give him that feeling of being back out there on the field again, and I think he's anxious and excited about getting an opportunity to play this week.
Q: Do you think there's a mental hurdle he needs to get through, in terms of the first contact he has and the first hitting?
Coach Allen:Yeah. Obviously nobody knows how he's going to respond, when that happens. He's been very good as far as practice has been concerned. We're having to hold him back.He wants to do more, do more, so from that standpoint, I think he's got the right mindset going into this thing. So, I think it'll be a great opportunity for him to go out there and play this week and get his first game action under his belt.
Q: Coach, what did you think of Brice Butler's work from the slot, and do you think he's an option there moving forward? Did you like what you saw from him in that spot?
Coach Allen:Well, really there's a two-part answer to that. Yeah, I did like some of the things I saw from him. But also, I want to see a little bit more of the consistency and not have some of those rookie mistakes – the false-start penalty that he had, and the attention to detail on some of the routes. It's just part of the process of being a rookie and not being in there and not seeing everything. So my hope is that he'll continue to learn from those things because I think that there's some potential there, and I like his route-running ability and I like the fact that he's a big target.
Q: Any update on Jared Veldheer? I think he had the surgery yesterday?
Coach Allen:Yeah, he had the surgery, and we're really kind of in a wait and see how the recovery process goes over the next couple weeks, and then we'll make a decision on how we proceed from there.* *
Q: With [Jared] Veldeer being out, and based on what you saw Friday, are you actively looking to bring someone in to add to the offensive line?
Coach Allen: Well I think we've always got to look at what options are out there. [Hall of Famer] Anthony Munoz, he's not out there right now, so we're looking at the options to see what there is. If we feel like there's somebody out there that can help us then we're definitely going to go out there and try and make that happen, but in that's an area we've got to improve on. We didn't play well enough in that area the other night, and we've got to work to get better.
Q: The guys who have been out so far – [Menelik] Watson, [Pat] Sims, [Vance] Walker – any of those guys back next week?
Coach Allen: No, it doesn't look … well I shouldn't say that. I'm hopeful. I think Vance Walker has the best shot, and then I would say Menelik, and then I would say Pat Sims, but we'll have to wait and see.
Q: How about [Jacoby] Ford and [Juron] Criner [as far as injury status goes]?
Coach Allen: Criner's probably a little bit closer than Ford is.
Q: Coach, is there some concern that Pat Sims won't be ready by the start of the regular season?
Coach Allen: I don't think so, but we've got to get him healthy and get him out there. He needs some game action before we get into the regular season. I think everybody needs that.* *
Q: You said last night that you wanted to watch the tape before you assess the quarterback play. How'd you think [Matt] Flynn, [Terrelle] Pryor and [Matt] McGloin did?
Coach Allen: Well, like I said before, it's never as bad as you think it is, [and] it's never as good as you think it is. I think there were some inconsistencies in what we did as a whole group, but I though Matt [Flynn] did a nice job there in that two-minute drive, being able to move the team down the field. We converted a 3rd-and-15 I think it was, and were able to go down the field and score a touchdown, so I think that was big for his confidence. Again, it's a young group of guys. Matt [Flynn's] got the most experience in the group, but he's still relatively young as far as game experience is concerned. Every day's a learning experience for him, and I think he's going to continue to get better from that. Offensively, I don't think we ever got into any type of flow or rhythm in the offense, and I don't think we executed offensively like we needed to.
Q: Has anybody pulled ahead in the tight end race?
Coach Allen: Nobody's really separated themselves in that race, so we're going to continue to watch them as we go through the rest of the preseason and see if anybody takes the lead.
Q: Did anyone stand out last night on film?
Coach Allen:Both the punters I thought punted well. I thought both of them executed pretty well. There were a few players on defense I thought, in the second half specifically, stood out to me. I thought Brandian Ross played really well from the safety and the nickel position. I thought Usama Young played well last night. I thought Jack Crawford took a step forward last night. I think those were kind of the three guys that stood out really consistently. I mean, there were other players that made some big plays in the game, especially in the second half, but I think those guys were the most consistent as far as the way they played the whole time they were playing.