Dennis Allen addressed the media before hopping on the Oakland Raiders team flight to Indianapolis. Two days before the season opener he answered questions on Sio Moore and Menelik Watson’s injury status, confirmed Sebastian Janikowski would be in the lineup and discussed a variety of topics about the Colts.
Here is the transcript from the Raiders website:
Q: You said Sebastian would be fine…?
Coach Allen: He’ll be fine.
Q: If Moore can’t go, would it be Kaluka Maiava?
Coach Allen: Yes, absolutely.
Q: Does that complicate things on the back end?
Coach Allen: IT doesn’t really necessarily complicate anything. When we brought these guys in, I’m talking aboutKevin Burnett, I’m talking about Nick Roach, I’m talking about Kaluka, and then we were able to draft Sio, we felt like we had four linebackers and those four were capable of being starters for us. It’s the way of the NFL, and specifically if you’re a backup player, you’ve got to be ready to play multiple positions. The more you can do, the more you can help this football team win. I don’t see that really being an issue.
Q: Are you going to bring Brian McCants up?
Coach Allen: Any roster transactions that we make, we’ll make tomorrow.
Q: Do you envision Watson’s absence extending beyond this game?
Coach Allen: I don’t want to get into speculation on when he’ll be back. Really, I don’t like to comment specifically on when guys will be available. As soon as he’s rehabbed and ready to go, he’ll be back up and ready to play.
Q: So it’s not a surgery situation?
Coach Allen: I’m not going to get into whether it’s surgery or not surgery or what the issues are. He wasn’t able to practice today so we’ll go from there.
Q: On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel about your offense and defense going in to this game?
Coach Allen: I feel good, I feel good. What’s a 10? What’s an 8? What’s a 9? That’s all relative. I feel good about the guys we’ve got in that room. We’re going to go to battle and go to war. We’re going to stick together and compete and see how things turn out. I feel good about the guys we’ve got in that room. These guys have worked extremely hard and we’re ready to go.
Q: How much of a factor has it been to lose two left tackles?
Coach Allen: Listen, it’s a factor. But, it is what it is. You have to move on, you have to move forward. No one is waiting around on anybody. It is the next-man-up philosophy. The guys that we have healthy and ready to play, those are the guys that are going to go out there and compete. We expect that when you do face adversity, we expect that those guys step up and take advantage of their opportunities and we expect that the other guys on the team, the other guys that are out there, pull in some of the extra slack. That’s what you have to do.
Q: How has Tony Pashos adjusted?
Coach Allen: I think he’s adjusted well. He’s a veteran player. He’s played a lot of football. It’s different than if you were trying to get a young guy or a rookie ready to go in a short period of time. It’s really more of an adjustment of language than it is anything else.
Q: Did you think he looked good in preseason?
Coach Allen: Yeah, we watched the tape. I thought he looked good in preseason with Washington. That was the reason why we wanted to bring him in here.
Q: Could you envision Jeron Mastrud being in there on third down?
Coach Allen: Like I’ve said before, these guys have specific skills that they do well at. We’re going to try to put them in those positions where we can really emphasize the things that they do well. There will be some guys rotating in there and we’ll use them accordingly.
Q: Has Nick Kasa closed the gap a little since training camp?
Coach Allen: He’s improved. He’s improved a lot. He’s still got to continue to get better, but the last couple weeks of camp and in the preseason, I saw some significant improvement out of him. That’s what you hope to see out of those young guys. I’ve seen that out of Nick.
Q: Will Sio go pretty much until game time?
Coach Allen: Yeah, he’ll be a game-time decision.
Q: What is it like starting with a non-conference road opponent to start the season?
Coach Allen: It’s one of 16 that we’ve got to go through. It’s a critical game for us because it’s the opening game of the season and you want to get off to a fast start. It’s critical because it is an AFC opponent. Would there be any extra juice if it was a divisional opponent? Maybe, but I think these guys are excited about getting started with the season and trying to get started on the right foot.
Q: Can you touch on the challenges of Andrew Luck?
Coach Allen: Well, there are a lot of them. I think this guy is an exceptional quarterback. He’s mobile in the pocket, he’s got a great arm, he’s very accurate and he’s very smart. It’s hard to fool him. Anytime you have those kinds of quarterbacks, it presents a real challenge. We’re going to have to do a good job in coverage. We’re going to have to show that we can affect him with our rush. We’re going to have to find some different things that we can do to disguise a few looks to give him some problems. He gives us a lot of challenges and I think he’s a heck of a football player. We’re going to have to be on our A-game.
Q: What are the things that Maiava does best?
Coach Allen: I think he’s an instinctive football player. He’s got some pass-coverage skills. He’s good against the run. I think this guy is a real instinctive football player. We haven’t had a chance to work with him a lot, but you can tell by watching him that he understands how to play the game. I think him being in there and being a veteran player, that’s a plus.
Q: Do the players that you declare out travel with you or do they stay home?
Coach Allen: They won’t travel.