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Coach Allen Thursday Q&A


Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: Opening Statement:** I'll go through the injury report now and then open it up to you guys for questions. Tyvon Branch didn't practice today. Rashad Jennings was limited again. Darren McFadden limited, Stacy McGee limited, Tony Pashos was limited, Marcel Reece was limited. Menelik Watson did not practice. Stefen Wisniewski did not practice. Kaluka Maiava with a hamstring was limited today.

Q: Continued progress from Jennings and McFadden both?

Coach Allen: Both of them got a little bit better today, so I've been encouraged by what I've seen out of both of those guys today. Hopefully we'll continue to progress as the week goes on and we'll have a better feel towards the weekend as to whether they'll be able to go or not.

Q: So there is still a possibility they may not?

Coach Allen: There's obviously some time involved, but I do like the progress that they've made and the signs are pointing towards that they'll be able to play, but we'll see.

Q: You obviously want to stay balanced, you said that throughout, but how much more important would that be to have not one of them, but both of them considering that the Kansas City strength is against the pass?

Coach Allen: We want to be able to be balanced and we want to be able to run the football. We feel confident with both those guys in there being able to do it. If we're able to have both those guys, I think it'll help us out tremendously.

Q: Their nose tackle, Dontari Poe, seems to be pretty athletic given his size and position ability. Does that create some problems for a downhill running style?

Coach Allen: It creates a lot of problems in a lot of different areas. He has 4.5 sacks too, so this guy is a heck of a player inside and he's a big, physical guy as well as being an athletic. We'll have our hands full inside with Poe.

Q: What has been the challenge of trying to force takeaways against a quarterback that pretty much specializes in not turning it over?

Coach Allen: It's all predicated on being able to get some pressure on him and make him uncomfortable in the pocket. I think all quarterbacks in this league, if they can sit back there and have time to throw and there's no pressure on them, they all can complete passes in this league. It's the ability to affect him in the pocket, to be able to do some different things to hopefully make him make a bad decision. But really, our guys in the back end, it's really about understanding when they have their opportunities to make a play and when they've got to play it a little more conservative. And that's that way every week. But it'll be a challenge. He hasn't turned the ball over very much. He doesn't make very many bad decisions, but we have to try to do some things to hopefully make him make one or two.

Q: Seems like the guy [Jamaal Charles] is pretty good in open spaces. Is it a matter of containing him on the inside? Is setting edges more important against a guy like Charles?

Coach Allen: Again, like all good running backs, it's getting 11 hats to the ball. You have to try to contain him, not let him get out in open space. Guys inside have to do a good job of winning the line of scrimmage and then we have to be able to get off blocks and make tackles. That'll be critical in this game. This guy breaks a lot of tackles, makes a lot of guys miss. The key is not letting him get a clean run into the second level of the defense.

Q: [Kevin] Burnett obviously had a big game last week, but he's been flashing periodically throughout the year. Is that about what you expected from him or have you gotten more out of him? Why has he been such a presence?

Coach Allen: Because he's a good pro. He's played this game for a while now and he understands how to play the game. He plays the game fast. He's instinctive. I think when you do that, when you play this game fast and you play this game instinctively, you're going to make a lot of plays. We want to continue to put him in positions where he can do that for us.

Q: Although most of Alex Smith's attempts are 10 yards or less, why is his completion percentage only 58 percent? What have teams been able to do against him? Coach Allen: I think the big thing is you have to be able to have some tight coverage on him. You don't just want to give him a bunch of open space and room to run. So the rush and coverage have to work together and we have to be able to not give him clean lanes to run the ball into and I think that's one of the biggest factors.

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