Monday afternoon after Raiders practice, head coach Dennis Allen addressed the media and talked some more about the Raiders loss to the Indianapolis Colts as well as looked ahead to their home opener Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Here is the transcript from the Oakland Raiders official website:
Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: All right, I’ll start off by saying the guys in that locker room don’t take any solace in a loss. We went there to do a job. We went there to win a game. We weren’t able to get it done. There were about five or six critical plays in the game — in every NFL game. What it really boiled down to is at the critical situations, those guys made the plays, and we weren’t able to make the plays in the critical situations of the game. All that being said, I thought there were some situations we can build on. I thought [Terrelle] Pryor did some good things in the game and was creative in the things he was able to do with his feet. I thought defensively we were able to establish some pressure on the quarterback, which is something that we really needed to do and it allowed us to get a chance to get back in the game. I thought the way that the guys competed from being down 14 to nothing gave us a chance to take the lead, and gave us a chance to win the game. Those are all good things that we can build on. We’ve got to continue to develop the mindset and the attitude of being able to execute in those critical situations. Nobody knows when those five or six plays are going to come, but when they do, they’re critical plays in the game. There were some good things on the tape. There were some good things we can build from, but there are still a lot of things that we’ve got to continue to improve on.
Q: What was it like to be in your first game of the season? You went on the road, fell behind with a first-year quarterback, and to have it turn out like that?
Coach Allen: Like I said, I think the positive is that the guys continued to believe, continued to compete, continued to fight, and we made some plays. We gave ourselves a chance to win the game. I mean right up until the end of the game we had an opportunity to win. What we’ve got to improve on and learn from this. We’ve got to make those plays in those critical situations so that when you come in on Monday you’ve got a good feeling and not a bad feeling. It’s the first of 16 games. We overcame some adversity to give ourselves a chance, but we’ve got to be able to finish those games. That’s the mindset and the mentality that we have to have is that we’ve got to be able to finish these games and make plays in the critical situations when we have the opportunity.
Q: Terrelle [Pryor] took a lot of blame after. He said, “It was my fault we lost the game.” Do you agree with your quarterback there?
Coach Allen: Well that shows you a little bit of what his competitiveness is and what his nature is. I saw where he said he was awful in the game. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was awful, but I think he understands that there were some critical mistakes in the game that we’ve got to get corrected because we can’t have those. When you look at the game the other day, really what it boiled down to is when they got themselves in to scoring positions, they were able to score touchdowns. When we got ourselves into scoring positions, we weren’t able to always execute. Two interceptions and a missed field goal in those situations — that turns out to be the difference in the ball game. They got touchdowns, and we weren’t able to get touchdowns.
Q: [Darren] McFadden had 17 carries and, take out the nine-yard run, he averaged about two yards a carry. I know you want to go North and South this year. What are your impressions of the running game?
Coach Allen: Well we ran for 171 yards, I think it was. I’m not concerned with who gets the yards. We were able to run and run effectively. Darren is going to get his touches and his yards. There were a couple opportunities in there for big plays that we didn’t execute exactly how we needed to. It’s one football game. I’m still pleased with where Darren is, and I still think he’s going to have a good year.
Q: How hard is it to evaluate Terrelle [Pryor] in practice because so much of what he does doesn’t translate to the practice field?
Coach Allen: Well you see some of it on the practice field, but that’s the element he brings to the game. That’s always going to be there — his ability to create, his ability to make things happen with his feet. The things that we judge on the practice field are his ability to make good decisions, his ability to throw the ball on time with accuracy. Those are the things we want to see and where he continues to improve because that’s what’s going to make him a really good quarterback if he continues to improve in those areas. He’s got the ability to run with the football. He’s got the ability to make plays with his feet. We’ve still got to work with him to continue to improve as a passer.
Q: How would you assess that [Terrelle Pryor] did in terms of those things?
Coach Allen: There were some good and some bad. He had a third-and-10 completion, a fourth-and-nine completion where he made the right read, got the ball out and made a good play. There were some other plays in the game where you wish he would have made a better position. That’s part of what you do with a young quarterback. My anticipation is that he’s going to continue to grow, learn from those things and get better from those things. That’s what we’ve got to see as the year progresses, as we do with a lot of the young players that we have on the roster. You want to see them learn from their mistakes and not make the same mistakes.
Q: What allowed you guys to get the pass rush that you got, especially late in the game?
Coach Allen: A combination of things. I think some tighter coverage at times. I think getting them into some situations where we had an opportunity to bring a little bit more pressure. And we left a couple plays on the table. I think we had two sack opportunities that we weren’t able to get the quarterback down. Again, that’s what we’ve got to continue to improve on because those are big plays in the game.
Q: With your offensive line, you had a couple of guys new, had a guy move from right to left. How did it all hold up when you take all of that into account?
Coach Allen: I thought our offensive line performed solid. You come out of every game and there are things you’ve got to work on and things you’ve got to getter better at, but I think for mixing and matching some guys and moving some guys around, and moving some different positions … A guy going in and starting for us … I was pleased with the way the offensive line played. There was only one sack in the game, and again that happened to be at a critical situation, but I thought those guys gave us an opportunity to be in the football game and gave us an opportunity to win.
Q: On the missed field goal, was the hold an issue at all?
Coach Allen: Obviously it’s hard to tell on the tape, but I thought the hold was fine. I think ‘Seabass’ just missed the kick, but that’s something that he doesn’t do very often. That’s an area we’ll continue to work because we’ve got to get better because that’s an area that we feel like we’ve got an advantage in, and we’ve got to be able to execute in.
Q: Coach, obviously Week 2 is not mathematically a must-win game, but when you see a team like Jacksonville coming in, in your mind is a win the only acceptable outcome?
Coach Allen: Well, that’s really the only acceptable outcome in any game that we play. So it doesn’t make any difference who the opponent is that we’re facing – that’s what we’re brought in here to do is to go out and win, and we’re going to do everything we can to put together a good game plan; go out and play, execute assignment football and go out there and get a win.
Q: How do you assess DJ Hayden’s first game?
Coach Allen: I thought overall it was OK. When you look at it, he had a couple of opportunities to make some plays, and he was just off just a little bit. So, I think DJ’s going to be fine. DJ’s going to have to continue to learn, continue to improve, continue to get better. For the first time out not bad, but there’s a couple plays in there that you’d like to see him make, and I think as he continues to grow, I think you’ll see him make a few more of those plays.
Q: Tracy Porter blitzed a few times, [Mike] Jenkins. Is that what you want to see when you face different quarterbacks?
Coach Allen: Yeah, we’re going to try and bring pressure from a lot of different angles, from a lot of different people, from a lot of different looks. This games about affecting the quarterback and we have five different ways to affect him – whether it’s a three -man rush, four-man rush, five, six, whatever it takes you’ve got to be able to get to the quarterback. I think that’s where things were able to change for us a little bit defensively, we were able to get to Andrew [Luck] and affect the quarterback.
Q: Coach, Rod Streater had a different path to the NFL than most. What did you see from him early on that stood out to you guys and the improvement he’s made since then?
Coach Allen: Well I think early on we saw a guy that was a big, physical wide receiver that could run. And I think the thing that’s allowed him to continue to improve is his work ethic, his commitment to football and his football intelligence. I think he’s a smart player. I think that he works at it really hard, and I think he’s going to continue to get better. I don’t think we’ve seen the best that we’re going to see out of Rod Streater.
Q: Do you expect either Menelik [Watson] or [David] Ausberry back this week in practice?
Coach Allen: You know, I don’t know. We’ll see if they’re able to practice this week and see where they’re at.
Q: How do you feel the tight end group played in this game?
Coach Allen: I thought overall it was a solid performance by the tight end group. We did a couple of things in the passing game. We made an explosive play there at the end of the game, 41 yards. I thought Mychal Rivera was able to catch a ball in the two minutes at the end of the first half, which gave us the opportunity to get in a position where we could kick a field goal, so overall I thought the tight ends played real well.
Q: Coach what can you say about Jason Tarver? You finished last season with a strong December after a weak November, and the defense played a lot better yesterday than people were expecting, so what has he done? Is he looking at things to try and find areas to exploit? Is the team buying into him? Is he maturing as a coach?
Coach Allen: Well number one, he’s a good football coach. Number two, he’s very smart and he’s put the guys in a position where they can have some success, and I think it’s really a two-way street. I think it’s the players buying into the system as they understand what’s being asked of them, and they take accountability for doing their job and doing it right on every single play. I think those things work together. I think we all grow as we move on in the coaching profession. I think we all learn from mistakes and continue to get better. So, I think defensively the guys believe in what we’re doing and what we’re asking them to do, and now it’s just a matter of going out and executing the plan, and we have to do it on a consistent basis. If you go back and look at the tape, when we had breakdowns, it was more a function of execution or lack thereof, than being physically beat.
Q: Anybody get hurt that you’re worrying about this week?
Coach Allen: No. Nobody got hurt that we’re worrying about. Tyvon [Branch] has a little bit of a sore shoulder, but really I don’t anticipate anybody missing any time this week.
Q: Coach, you talked earlier about Terrelle [Pryor]’s progress in throwing the football. Both the receivers [Denarius] Moore and [Rod] Streater had five catches. Where is he now in terms of having a connection, a quarterback connection, with his starting receivers?
Coach Allen: Well I think every day he grows a little bit stronger. As far as that connection is concerned, Terrelle is still growing as a quarterback. He didn’t get a lot of reps with the ones during training camp, so we’re still trying to grow that role with the receiving group. The key is do we continue to see improvement as the year goes on, and there’s a lot of improvement to be made, not just with those throwing the football, but with this whole football team.
Q: What’s your reaction to Blaine Gabbert being inactive for Sunday’s game?
Coach Allen: I just found that out, and we’ll take a look at their offense and what they’re trying to do systematically, but I don’t think it’s going to change the way we prepare for the game.
Q: [Chad] Henne is starting for them [Jaguars]. Are you going to name your starter?
Coach Allen: Yeah. [Terrelle] Pryor’s going to start for us. (smiling)
Q: Coach, what about the excitement about the home opener?
Coach Allen: We’re excited about opening up at home and having Raider Nation out there, and we’re excited about getting out there in front of the home crowd. We’re going to need the home crowd to help us out, we’re going to need that support. Obviously playing last Sunday, on the road in that environment, you can see where the crowd can help the whole team. But again, that’s a two-way street. We have to go out and play well, and if we play well, I feel like we’ll have the good crowd support we need.