Opening Statement:All right, a couple more guys back at practice today. Keenan Clayton was back today and so was Menelik Watson, so it was good to have those guys back out here. It was our last full practice before we get ready to play the game against Chicago, so we're looking forward to getting out there and playing on Friday night.
Q: How much was Menelik [Watson] able to do?
Coach Allen:We got him a couple of reps per period. I want to ease him into it even though he's missed a lot of time and he's far behind because he's missed all of camp, but I want to try to make sure he's healthy and get him ready to go. I won't play him in the game Friday night, and I'll get him ready to play a lot of snaps against Seattle.
Q: [Tyvon] Branch was out again?
Coach Allen:Yeah, Branch was out again today. I probably won't play him in the game.
Q: [Pat] Sims will probably sit out the game?
Coach Allen:Sims will probably sit out also.
Q: [Vance] Walker?
Coach Allen:Vance Walker will play.
Q: Is [Menelik] Watson on the right?
Coach Allen:Watson is playing offensive tackle.
Q: Will [Alex] Barron go into this at left tackle again?
Q: I know you've had some injuries during this camp, but did you get some work and some evaluation done looking back at the last four weeks?
Coach Allen:Yeah, we had a lot of evaluation in this camp. I think it was a good camp. I thought our guys came out here and worked, and I thought we got better. I thought we had a good evaluation of what we have here in this camp right now and we're going to continue to do everything we can right now to try to improve this football team. It was a good camp. We're ready to break and get back to Alameda and get back to kind of a more normal, everyday type of routine.
Q: Day one you talked about instilling this tone of physicality, of competition in everything that they do. Do you think the players really bought into that over the course of the four weeks?
Coach Allen:Yeah, I think so. I think when you watch practice, I thought the guys competed. I thought they worked extremely hard. I thought there were days, obviously, where one side of the ball got the better side of the other and that's the way you want it. You don't want it to be totally one-sided. That's our goal, to continue to go out and improve every day. It's a long season and we have to just focus on one day at a time and getting better every day.
Q: What'd you guys see in Chase Thomas today?
Coach Allen:Well I mean, obviously, with J.T. [defensive coordinator Jason Tarver] having experience with him from Stanford, that was an obvious plus. I think he has some power, some strength. He does a pretty good job as an on-the-line-of-scrimmage linebacker, setting edges and doing stuff like that. He was a guy we felt like could come in, learn the system pretty quickly and really be thrown into the fire fairly quickly.
Q: About half the NFL goes away for training camp, about half stays home. What are the benefits of going away, especially to a facility like this one?
Coach Allen:Number one, I don't know if there's a better place to have training camp than right here in Napa. I think when you take all things into consideration, I think it's a great environment for our group. I think the thing you really benefit from is guys really get a chance to get away from everything else, get away from all the other distractions and really come together as a football team. From a mental aspect of being able to go through the grind of training camp and being right here together, I think that's a positive.
Q: How has the line responded to the loss of Jared [Veldheer], and how close are you to being able to sort that out?
Coach Allen: Well I think every day we get a little closer to getting it sorted out. It's like having a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle, and you're trying to fit those pieces together. The longer you look at it, the longer you work on it, the easier it is to put those pieces into place. I think we're getting closer to figuring that out, and I think the offensive line is responding positively. Obviously the loss of a player like Jared is tough to replace, but that's the nature of this business. I think those guys understand that somebody else has to step up, not just in the offensive line but other players on the offense, and the defense has to step up.
Q: Will you still be looking at other tackles as they become available?
Coach Allen: Yeah, I mean really it's no different than it is on a day-to-day basis. That's the nature of the business. In the NFL, you're always looking for ways to improve your football team, so we're going to continue to watch and see what comes across the waiver wire and what else is out there. If there's somebody that we feel like gives us a better chance, then we'll make those moves.
Q: What do you want to see out of [DJ] Hayden in the game?
Coach Allen: I just want to see him play football. It's been a while since he's really had the opportunity to go out and play real football, so I'm looking forward to watching him. He's done some really good things in this camp. He's got exceptional cover skills. I think everybody's anxious to see when he gets his first real contact. I'm excited for him. I think he's excited. It's a great opportunity for him, and I think we're all looking forward to it.
Q: Throughout the rookie draft class overall, have you liked what you've seen?
Coach Allen: Yeah, I've been pleased. I've been pleased. I think from top to bottom we really brought in some talented players. I think they've all made progress throughout this camp. They still have a long way to go. They still have a lot of improving that they've got to do. The fortunate thing for us is that we still have two preseason games to really evaluate them and see if they're worthy to be on the team.
Q: Did you watch the rookie show?
Coach Allen:They were terrible. (laughter) Twelve years of NFL Football and that's the worst rookie show I've ever seen. Couple of good skits; DJ [Hayden] has a little bit of talent, Sio Moore has a little bit of talent, but overall, very disappointed. I'm glad that we aren't judging talent based off their rookie show.
Q: With Jared [Veldheer] out, are you still a power-gap team or will you have to alter the scheme a little bit?
Coach Allen:I think that's part of what we're working through a little bit. I don't think we're going to change the philosophy or the mindset of what we're going to be as a football team, but when you lose a player of that caliber you've got to make adjustments and changes. So we'll continue to evaluate that as we go along, but I don't see the overall philosophy of what we want to be changing.
Q: Is still too early to know whether or not he [Jared Veldheer] will go on the Injured Reserve list and not be available till week seven?
Coach Allen:We really still have a couple of weeks before we have to make that decision. We're really trying to get a good feel over the next couple of weeks how the rehab process is going, when we expect that he would be back for full game action, so I don't think we're ready to make that decision yet.
Q: Last year Rod Streater was an undrafted guy that came in and made an impact, made the football team, made a lot of plays. Do you see any undrafted guys this year coming out here and doing the same thing?
Coach Allen:I don't know if anybody has jumped out at me like Rod Streater did last year. But I do think that there have been some guys that have come in and done a nice job, and I've seen some improvement. I've seen some guys that potentially down the road could be good football players for us. So that's always a process that you go through, and I think [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] and his guys do a great job of evaluating those guys, and trying to bring guys in from an undrafted standpoint that have the potential to help this football team.
Q: How much work did [Matt] McGloin and [Tyler] Wilson get this week, and did that order change this week between three and four?
Coach Allen:Nothing has changed with the order. They didn't get nearly as much work this week because we were in more of a regular-season mode. I would anticipate that they will get a little more work next week.
Q: With the fact that everything is a bit unsettled with the depth chart and everything going into this game, would you say that there's a lot more positions not only up for grabs, but could make or break making this team in this next game?
Coach Allen:I don't think there is any question that these next couple weeks are make-or-break games for a lot of guys; veterans and young players. There's still a lot of positions on this team that we haven't totally made up our mind on exactly who those guys are going to be, and let's be honest, these guys aren't only competing against the 90 guys that are in this camp, they're competing against everyone that's on the rosters of the 31 other football teams in the National Football League. So, I think this is a critical time for all these guys.
Q: Is [Khalif] Barnes an option at left tackle or do you like him where he's at on the right side?
Coach Allen:Well, I think we'll talk about it and we'll look at it. But, I feel comfortable with where he's at on the right side. So anything's possible, but I don't really anticipate a change there.
Q: Any setbacks with [Latavius] Murray or [Juron] Criner?
Coach Allen:Criner, no setbacks. Latavius Murray had his ankle scoped yesterday, so we'll find out where we'll go from here on out.