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Coach Allen Thursday


Head Coach Dennis Allen**: Injury report for today – Ausberry didn't practice, shoulder. Tyvon Branch didn't practice with an ankle. Lucas Nix did not practice, ankle. Menelik Watson did not practice, knee. Kevin Burnett was limited in practice with an illness.

Q: Are all of those guys going to be out, you think, except for Kevin?

Coach Allen: I'm not going to comment on who's going to be out or who's not going to be out. Those guys weren't able to practice and the guys that are able to get back out and practice tomorrow and are healthy enough to play, they'll be up and ready for the game.

Q: More than likely they've got to hit the field tomorrow to have a realistic shot?

Coach Allen: I mean, tomorrow or Saturday; we have the extra day to prepare so we still have a couple days for them to get some practice time in.

Q: Denver's wide receivers are really good after the catch. How do you mitigate that?

Coach Allen: We have to get 11 guys chasing the ball. They do a great job of getting those guys the ball in space, getting them on some underneath routes and giving them the opportunity to run with the ball after they catch it. So it's going to take all 11 guys chasing the football to get these guys down. We have to do a great job of tackling in space and I think that's what you see with this team. They get their playmakers the ball in space and let them go make plays. We have to be able to take the space away.

Q: The style of runners you guys have, how do you feel you match up with Denver's run defense?

Coach Allen: I think we want to be able to run the football. Obviously, that's something we like to be able to do every week. We feel good about the guys we have in the backfield and the schemes we have to run the football. We feel good about where we're at there and, again, it's going to come down to our execution both in the run game and the pass game against their defense.

Q: Are the Broncos as good against the run as the numbers show because they've played with a huge lead and some teams aren't going to run against them?

Coach Allen: Yeah, the numbers are what they are. The average yards per carry is not very good against their defense, so they do a good job of stopping the run. They did a good job of stopping the run last year. And they're a well-rounded football team all over and they're well-rounded on defense. They do a good job against the run. They do a good job against the pass. They're at the top of the league in third down. They're at the top of the league in red zone defense. It's going to be a great challenge for us.

Q: I'm sure when you were conducting your interview for offensive coordinator  and you talked to Greg [Olson] I'm sure you talked about a million different things – personnel and this and that – how much of a discussion was Pryor in the conversation?

Coach Allen: He was part of the discussion and we went into this season expecting to have a package of plays and be able to use Terrelle. Terrelle's improvement has given us the opportunity, obviously, to use him more. That was something that we discussed at the very beginning when we were going through the hiring process.

Q: Knowing how Coach Fox thinks and vice versa, does that affect the preparation?

Coach Allen: I don't know that he affects it a whole lot. I think [Coach Fox] is a great coach. He's obviously done a great job with that football team. He's been able to take two different styles of quarterbacks and manage an offense in two extreme circumstances. I think he does a great job. He does a great job with the players, motivating the players. I learned a lot from him in the year I was there. He's still a guy that I respect greatly in this profession and he's helped me a lot.

Q: But nothing you'll have to be like, 'he might think I'll do this or that?'

Coach Allen: Not really. I'm sure he's preparing his team to play against our team and I'm preparing our football team to play against their offense, their defense, their kicking game. I don't think my relationship with him or the fact that I worked there is really much of a factor.

Q: The coaching tree is now all over the AFC West with you and Mike. I'm sure that comes with you guys having some success, but what is it that you learned in that brief stop that you still carry with you?

Coach Allen: Listen, there's a lot of things you learn as you go through. We, as coaches in the National Football League, we make several stops along our career and you try to take as much as you can away from each stop. I've learned a lot from everybody that I've worked for. I think, just watching Foxy [Coach Fox] and the way he handles a football team, everywhere he's been, his players have played extremely hard for him and they've done a nice job. So he's a great football coach. I have a lot of respect for him and I'm sure he'll have his team ready to play.

Q: How has Matt Flynn handled being the backup and are you confident that if he needed to play, he'd go in and move the team?

Coach Allen: I'm absolutely confident that if he needed to play, he'd go in and move the team. He's handled himself like a professional. He's done everything that we've asked him to do. He understands how this league works and he knows his number could be called at any time and he's got t obe ready to go when it is. I got all the confidence in the world that he will be.

Q: Yesterday [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] talked about how impressed he was with Lamarr [Houston] and his maturation process as a right defensive end. Coming into the season, you saw him as kind of someone you good pin things to. How much higher is his ceiling as far as improvement goes?

Coach Allen: I think he has a lot of improvement. I still think he's coming into his own as a veteran, but he's still relatively young. There's a lot of growth and a lot of improvement that he can make. I think with all these guys, the more opportunities they have, the more reps they get, the more plays they play, the more they're able to see, the better they're going to get. It's just a matter of how hard are they going to work at. And Lamarr's worked extremely hard at it.

Q: Are you working Matt Flynn as a holder?

Coach Allen: Yeah, we've worked him some.

Q: Is there a possibility that you could make a switch there?

Coach Allen: We'll see. We've got to be better in that area and that's an area we have to improve on. It's an area that we've been really good at and we have to make sure we improve in that area.

Q: You've been on both sides of it now, Denver and Oakland, how do you rate the rivalry?

Coach Allen: It's a tremendous rivalry. Obviously, these two teams, the history of these two teams goes way back. It's always a heated battle. There's always a lot of excitement that goes along with this game and it's a fun game to be a part of, to be a part of the history, the tradition, of this rivalry. We're looking forward to continuing it.

Q: Even more so on Monday night? These two teams have played on Monday night more than any others ever.

Coach Allen: I think any time these two teams play, I think you're always going to get everybody's best shot. So it'll be fun.

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