On Wednesday after Raiders practice, Dennis Allen gave some time to the media after practice for an afternoon press conference. He updated the status of Sebastian Janikowski, Menelik Watson, Tyvon Branch and David Ausberry as well as looked ahead to the Jacksonville Jaguars match up on Sunday during the question and answer session.
Just days away from the home opener on Sunday, Allen made it clear he is not taking the Jaguars lightly and had praise for their offensive schemes as well as for reported starting quarterback Chad Henne. Allen appears to be cautiously confident, fair considering that Oakland is still 0-1 and will be counting on getting into the win column before a difficult road Monday night game against the Broncos Week Three. Allen is saying all the right things to ensure that his team gives the same effort they did against the Colts this Sunday and not allow players to expect a win because they are playing a lesser team this week at home.
Here is the transcript from the Raiders official website:
Opening Statement: Injury update today – David Ausberry did not practice. Tyvon Branch did not practice. Seabass [Sebastian Janikowski] did not practice and Menelik Watson didn’t practice. We’re on to week two of the season. This is a big game for us. We have to come out and compete. We have to come out and challenge. This opponent presents some challenges. I think they’re a big, physical defense that runs around fast to the football. Offensively, they try to spread you out and up-tempo you. And so we have to be able to handle the up-tempo of their offense. And then in the kicking game, I think they have two exceptional specialists in their punter and their placekicker. It’s a big challenge for us. Our focus is making sure that we handle our execution and our assignment responsibility and play fast and that’s what we’re working on trying to get done.
Q: With them having a new coach, are their systems now totally different than last year? Does film do anything for you?
Coach Allen: It’s a different scheme. The thing you look at is a little bit of the personnel, although they’ve had a lot of turnover personnel-wise. But it’s totally different than what they did last year.
Q: QB Chad Henne played in that game, what do you take from your experience playing against him?
Coach Allen: I think he’s a solid quarterback. He’s a veteran. There’s not many things you’re going to be able to show him that he hasn’t seen before. We’re going to have to be good in coverage. We’re going to have to be good with some of our looks. And we’re going to have to be good in our space plays. This is a team that likes to open you up and create things in space and they’ve got some weapons on the outside that can do that in space situations.
Q: How much does your game plan adjust knowing that people are going to zero-in on [Terrelle] Pryor and Jacksonville has seen what they say on tape from the Colts game?
Coach Allen: With a guy like Terrelle, you don’t know exactly how they’re going to defend him, really, until you get in the game. You have a look at what they’ve done all preseason. You have a look at what they did in the opening game, but I would suspect they’ll have some different things that they’ll try to do for Terrelle, whether it be a pressure plan against him, a spy plan against him, try to keep in the pocket. But we’ll have to be ready to adjust depending on what they show us early in the game.
Q: As far as Terrelle’s running, and the play where he runs down field and he just stiff arms LaRon Landry out of the play, and there were a couple plays where he cut the ball back inside because he’s fast enough and good enough to do that, but you want him for the long term; how have you approached that with him?
Coach Allen: It’s just being smart. I think the thing you have to understand is when is it time to declare the play over? And you don’t want to take any of this athleticism away from him because he has the ability to make some big plays. What you want to do is try to limit the amount of times he takes the hit. So he’s got to do a good job at seeing when he can get what he can get and then not take the hit at the end of the play.
Q: Would you like to see him take less hits this season than he took the other day or was that about acceptable?
Coach Allen: Well I’d like to see him not take any hits, but I don’t think that’s realistic so I think it’s just being smart. When you run, you’re going to get hit some, but he’s just got to be smart about when he takes those hits and when he declares the play over and gets down or gets out of bounds.
Q: Does his success running the ball open up some things for you guys now passing-wise?
Coach Allen: I think so, yeah. I think so. And again, I think as you go throughout the season, you’ll see a different plan on how teams are going to try to defend him, so we have to do a great job of being able to make any type of adjustments early in the game based on how we see they’re trying to defend him.
Q: Given the fact that you’ve had T Tony Pashos for seven days, are you pretty impressed with, not only his ability to practice well, but he fit so well?
Coach Allen: That’s the thing about veteran players and that’s the thing about having pros is, again, it’s really more of a factor of terminology more so than it is schematics. He just has to get comfortable in what we’re asking him to do terminology-wise so he makes sure he gets on the right people. But yeah, I was pleased with the way he played in the game the other day.
Q: This is Pryor’s first home game starting. What are your thoughts on the different environments and how that’ll affect him playing?
Coach Allen: Well the biggest thing is he has to stay within himself, not try to do too much. I’m sure he’s going to be real excited about playing in front of the home crowd as all of us will, but every play he’s got a way that it’s supposed to be executed. That’s the big thing is that he plays within himself, doesn’t try to do too much, plays within the scheme of the offense, and lets the plays come to him. He’s got plenty of athletic ability. He’ll have the ability to create at times, but you don’t want him to try to do too much.
Q: Janikowski, is it the calf, lingering him, bothering him?
Coach Allen: I don’t think so. I don’t think it’s a major factor or anything. I think, again, we have a long season and we don’t this to be something that’s going to be a lingering injury, so we’re going to be smart with him. We’ll limit the amount of times we kick him, but I think he’ll be fine.
Q: Of the starting back seven, I think, everybody that started the game of the back seven blitzed at least one time. When you play a team that spreads you out more, does that put more of a premium on communication? Can they leave you open for a big mistake on blitzing?
Coach Allen: The biggest thing is the communication, like you just said. That’s the key to the whole thing. That’s really what this offense is designed to do; it’s designed to up-tempo, get things moving fast, get you in a panic mode so that you don’t execute your calls. We’ll work real hard on making sure we can get calls in early and we can get lined up and we can execute our calls. That’s going to be the biggest thing that we have to be able to do in the ball game.
Q: Regarding the calls on offense when the clock became an issue a couple of times; was that Terrelle? Was that getting the play in to Terrelle?
Coach Allen: It’s a factor of a lot of things, especially when you’ve got a guy that’s running down the field and then when the ball is out of the bounds the play clock starts. We’ve made an emphasis of get to the huddle, get the play called, let’s get in and out of the huddle faster so we have more time to see them when we get to the line of scrimmage. So that will be something that we’re going to focus on and that’ll be something we have to continue to get better at. I think you find that with a lot of young quarterbacks. There’s still a lot of things that he’s learning, not just what the plays are, but just different situational things in football.
Q: When you get to the line and the clock is going down, are there any calls that he can make just to get a play off or are you just basically in trouble when it gets close?
Coach Allen: We just have to recognize where the clock is and if we’ve got any type of shift or movement or anything like that, we’ve got to get to it a lot faster. And again, the key is not what do we do once we’re on the line, the key is let’s get in and out of the huddle faster so we have a better opportunity to execute our offense. Again, it’s something that we’ve addressed. It’s something that we’re doing some different things to try to help and hopefully it’ll be a positive thing for us as we go into this ball game on Sunday.
Q: Does Terrelle have complete autonomy to audible at the line of scrimmage or do you pretty much want him on a short leash?
Coach Allen: There’s plays that you call at the line of scrimmage. There’s plays you call in the huddle where there’s different checks based on what the defense gives you. That’s no different than any other team in the National Football League. So I wouldn’t say he has any more or any less autonomy than some of the other quarterbacks in this league.
Q: Sio [Moore] only had maybe nine snaps; was that due to his physical issues or do you just like [Kaluka] Maiava in certain situations better right now?
Coach Allen: No, I think we definitely like Kaluka. I think he’s a good football player and we have to find ways to get him on the field and let him play. Sio didn’t start in the game and played limited reps more as a factor of the toe injury that he had and the limited amount of reps that he was able to get in practice. He was able to practice today so hopefully we’ll be able to get him some more snaps this week.
Q: Watson – is there any other update on him other than he’s just not ready to go?
Coach Allen: No, nothing other than he didn’t practice today.
Q: A lot of talk from the Indy side about how [Robert] Mathis felt like he’d run 5.3 miles chasing Pryor around. Some of the offensive players were saying you could tell the Colts were a little tired and on their heels. What about the offensive side of it when you have offensive linemen that have to hold blocks longer than they’re used to holding them when he’s scrambling and receivers that have to back and forth and break open to get open? How taxing is that for your players?
Coach Allen: It’s taxing, but really it’s more of a mental thing than anything else. You have to train yourself and mentally disciplined and mentally tough to block that out. You’ve got to move on and go to the next play. If you’re focused on being tired, you’re probably not going to play the next play very well. So you have to focus on what the task is at hand and eliminate the distractions and execute your job.
Q: When you looked at tape of the option plays that Pryor had in terms of handing off to Darren McFadden or keeping it, do you think it was too lopsided, that he didn’t hand it off to Darren enough?
Coach Allen: No, there was really only one play that I thought we had the chance to give the ball to Darren and had a potential for a big play. Listen, that play is not designed for any particular player to carry the ball. It’s designed to see what the defense does and execute the play accordingly.
Q: Do you see Pryor having a certain comfort level with Rod Streater and what kind of progress have you seen Streater make from year one to two?
Coach Allen: I do think there’s some comfortableness with Rod. And I’ve seen a lot of improvement out of Rod and I expect even more out of Rod Streater because I think he has the ability to be a very good player in this league. I’m looking for, as I am with a lot of these young guys, Rod Streater is only in his second year, so I’m looking for a lot of development out of a lot of these young guys.
Q: Was [Marcel] Reece’s number of snaps, I think it was 38 percent of the offensive snaps, just a function of what you were seeing on defense and what you were putting out there to combat it? There wasn’t a lot of plays for him.
Coach Allen: Yeah, I think every game plan is going to be different and I think we all recognize that Marcel Reece is a weapon for us and that he’s a good football player. We do need to find ways to get him the ball, but again, we can’t force anything. We have to take what the defense gives us. Again, you go into the game plan and you have a thought process going in and if they change what they’re doing, we have to be able to adjust. I think really when you come out of all these games, you have a plan going in, but sometimes you have to adjust that plan based on what the opponent does.
Q: What would be your message to Raiders fans who have not yet purchased their tickets for the home opener?
Coach Allen: Get your tickets. Come on out. It’s going to be fun. We’re going to go out. We’re going to compete and we’re going to battle hard. We’re going to play good football.