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Coach Allen Talks Injuries, Texans and More


RAIDERS HEAD COACH DENNIS ALLEN:** "Guys that didn't practice today – Tyvon Branch, Juron Criner, DJ Hayden, Sebastian Janikowski, Kaluka Maiava, Matt McCants, Darren McFadden and Terrelle Pryor. Tony Pashos was limited in practice. So we're hard at work now getting prepared for the Houston Texans. This is a very talented football team that they have. They're the No. 1 ranked defense in the National Football League. They're very aggressive. They're very physical and they have a lot of good players on that side of the ball. Again, kind of like last week, it's a group that's spearheaded by their front and they do a great job both in the run game and getting after the passer, so it'll be a tough challenge and we have our work cut out for us there. Offensively, they're an explosive offense. Andre Johnson really is back to being a premiere receiver in this league. He's got 5 touchdown catches and really is an explosive player for them down the field. They've done a great job, as they always have, in the running game. They've continued to run the ball really well and this quarterback has come in and really given them a spark and really thrown, I believe, it's 7 touchdown passes and no interceptions and I think that's been key to some of their improved play. We understand what the challenge is against this football team and having to go down there to Houston, go on the road, and try to win a football game on the road. So we're hard at work getting ready for that."

Q: Did you start the clock on [Jared] Veldheer today?

Coach Allen:"Yeah, the clock started on Veldheer today."

Q: Any impressions at all on that?

Coach Allen:"Not really. Mostly went through individual stuff today and we'll evaluate him as he goes through this week and we'll see when he's going to be ready to play. Hopefully it'll be soon."

Q: Are you just trying to rest Pryor's knee or is he questionable?

Coach Allen:"We'll have to see. I'll evaluate it again tomorrow and see how he's feeling and if he's healthy enough to play, then he'll play. If not, we'll go with Matt McGloin."

Q: Is his knee worse for the wear from Sunday?

Coach Allen:"I really don't know the answer to that. Obviously, it's bothering him, so I don't know if it's any worse or not, but it's obviously bothering him."

Q: Does he have a sprained MCL? That's what he said after the game.

Coach Allen:"He's got a sprained knee. I'm not going to get into the details exactly what it is, but he does have a sprained knee, yes."

Q: Was there a little bit of a disconnect between Terrelle and yourself last week and going into the game and knowing whether he was ready or not ready? It seemed like when he came out that he said as the week went on his knee seemed to get worse. You seemed to indicate that that was news to you that you didn't know he was…

Coach Allen:Yeah, I mean, I don't know that there was any type of disconnect or anything. We evaluated him during the week in practice and things seemed to be okay. Obviously, when you got in the game it was pretty evident early in the game that he just didn't have that same explosiveness that he normally has."

Q: In most cases, considering the position and a quarterback that runs, is he just going to have to learn to deal with playing that way sometimes?

Coach Allen:"Everybody in the National Football League at this time of year, there's injuries and there's people that you have to battle through some things. And sometimes you can't. Sometimes the injury is of the nature you just can't battle through it. We'll have to, again, monitor Terrelle as we go through the week and see how he's feeling as the week moves on."

Q: Taking out Terrelle's health, was there some desire to see McGloin at some point this year? Did you have some sense that you want to see him play?

Coach Allen:"I think we have our quarterback in Terrelle Pryor and we're going to go with him and see if he can help us win some football games. We'll evaluate it as we continue to go on and if we feel like there's a need to play Matt McGloin some, then we'll play Matt McGloin. I like what I've seen in this kid. I think he's done a good job for us. Watch him every day in practice, he's a good decision maker, he throws the ball accurately, he gets the ball out on time, so we have confidence in him that if we put him in the game, he's going to go in and do well."

Q: What areas has he progressed…since he hasn't had a lot of playing time, where has he gotten better?

Coach Allen:"I think he's got a better grasp of what we're doing offensively. He's continued to improve his decision making. He's continued to improve his accuracy and those are really things that you have to have as a quarterback is being able to throw the football. I think he's continued to improve as he's gotten a better feel for what we're doing offensively."

Q: Would you have to think about making a roster move for a backup quarterback if Terrelle…?

Coach Allen:"If Terrelle isn't able to go we'd have to get another quarterback up to the roster and we'd probably do that with Tyler Wilson. That's the other guy we've got on the football team right now."

Q: Has he been taking second team snaps today?

Coach Allen:"Well Matt got most of the reps today."

Q: Was there a deciding factor on bringing Veldheer back today? Did he pass any final tests or anything like that?

Coach Allen:"No, I think this is kind of the next step in the process. You go through the normal rehab process and the next step is you get in and you go through some football activity and work individual stuff and then you get into some team work and then it's kind of the evolution of the process and how that thing takes place."

Q: Do you see a scenario where Pashos could be ready to play this week? I mean, you have JJ Watt with a real experienced guy who hasn't played in four weeks or a rookie who hasn't played that much. Both of them would be difficult.

Coach Allen:"Well yeah, listen, no matter who you put over there, JJ Watt is a tough match-up. But Tony was able to practice today. He was a little limited in what he was able to do, but he did get some first team reps today. So again, as with everything, we'll see how does throughout the week, but yeah, if he's totally healthy, there's a good chance we'd see him in there."

Q: Anything new with Hayden or McFadden?

Coach Allen:"No, nothing new. McFadden was rehabbing today and DJ's got the groin injury."

Q: Did you see at all an emotional hangover from the last couple of losses at practice?

Coach Allen:"No. Listen, in this league, you have to be able to go from one week to the next and no matter what happens the previous week, there's nothing you can do about it whether it was good or bad, you have to move on to the next one. The only thing we control now is how we go out and play against the Houston Texans and that's what you have to do on a week in and week out basis."

Q: This is an issue we hit on probably most every week, but I think [Marcel] Reece had, I think, 17 snaps, 3 receptions, one he made a nice run with a screen. This is a guy who you brought back to the team as a guy you want that's part of your future, a team that needs to move the ball and he seems to never totally get into the mix. I know there are position groups, but are there ways you can get him in there?

Coach Allen:"Yeah and there's been times where we've had plays designed and up to try to get him the ball, but forever whatever reason, whether it be we didn't see it, the defense took it away, whatever the case may be, we hadn't been able to get him the ball. And the other day we actually had plans to turn around and hand him the ball a few times and really work a rotation with him and Rashad, but listen, Rashad was running the ball really well. I think when you get in those situations, you stick with the hot hand and you let the guy carry the ball. Again, this week we'll have a plan where we can get Marcel some touches and try to keep him involved in the offense and hopefully we'll be able to do that this week."

Q: We've all said this, I don't think you specifically said this, this year is a way to evaluate what you have at quarterback. By the end, you need to see what you have at quarterback. Has it been a fair evaluation so far? Do you think you've learned a lot about that position?

Coach Allen:"Yeah, you learn something every day as far as where you're at, at the quarterback position, and I'm not one of those that really likes to sit back in the middle of the year and try to reflect on where you're at. We'll evaluate the whole season, how we go at the quarterback position and then we'll have a good evaluation on what we have at the end of the year."

Q: With three of the next four games on the road, what does this football team need to do to win on the road?

Coach Allen:We have to go out and play well. We have to go out and execute. We have to go out and do our jobs and do our jobs right and do it full speed on every play. It's really not a complicated process. There's no magic formula. It's really we have to take our guys, go on the road, focus in and do our job for 60 minutes. If we do that, then we have a chance to have success. If we don't, then things don't work out the way we want them to."

Q: I think at least one of the Giants defensive players said they knew you guys liked slant routes and they were jumping them and that's what happened on the big interception. Did you notice that and do you think that's now going to be taken away?

Coach Allen:"Listen, every week you go into games and there's certain things that teams do well or do on a consistent basis and you try to gain whatever tips and alerts. We had tips and alerts on the Giants too. That was a situation where the kid saw it, he read it out and the kid made a good play and it was a big play in the game. Every week there's going to be certain things or tips and alerts and you try to do everything you can to try to hide and disguise the different things that you're doing."

Q: How big was it for Marquette King to have a punt blocked in the manner that it was blocked right in his face and right after that was over to have basically what might have been his best day?

Coach Allen:"I thought that was great to see the way that he responded and never really let the rush affect him. And punted really well – three downed inside the 20 and I think that's the first time we've had that done this season. Those are big plays in the football game so I was pleased with the way he responded and I'm looking forward to him continuing to grow. He's gotten better every week. He's gotten better in every phase of what we're asking him to do whether it be directional punting, whether it be downing the ball inside the 20, his holds on the field goal, he's continuing to improve as the season's gone on."

Q: I think I asked you after the game about the running game. Do you wish now that you'd run the ball more often watching the film and seeing maybe with Terrelle being hurt?

Coach Allen:"No, I thought we had a good plan. I thought we ran the ball effectively and I thought we threw the ball when we needed to throw the ball and I thought we ran the ball when we needed to run the ball. I don't second guess. Obviously, when things don't work out, everybody wants to look back and say, 'well you should have done this or you should have done that,' but I thought we had a good plan going in. We'll have a good plan this week and we'll move forward."

Q: What are your thoughts on Todd Christensen who passed away today? Coach Allen:"Obviously, he was a guy that I watched growing up. He really kind of revolutionized the tight end position. He was one of the first to be kind of that H-back move, more of a wide receiver type of player. I know he was a great Raider. I never had the fortune of actually meeting him, but I know what he means to this organization and obviously we all are deeply saddened and want to send our condolences out to his family."

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