Dennis Allen’s Monday press conference transcript. Coach Allen addressed the Raiders loss to the Redskins, his decision in going for it on 4th and 1 in the fourth quarter, injury statuses of several key players and how he will handle the return of Andre Holmes from suspension.
Transcript from Raiders official website.
All right, our update on injuries right now—what we know about right now is [Darren] McFadden’s got the hamstring, [Marcel] Reece with a knee sprain, [Stefen] Wisniewski’s got a knee sprain, and Stacy [McGee]’s got a shoulder. Those are just all of the things that came out of the game — just rehashing the game a little bit. First of all, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. This game of football is not about one person. It’s about eleven guys on each side of the ball. It’s about offense. It’s about defense. It’s about special teams. At no point was this ever made about one guy. I want to make sure that’s perfectly clear. We had a football game to go out and play yesterday. We went out as a team. We didn’t get it done. That’s the end of the story. We’ve got to get better. We’ve got to move on. We lost that game as a team, and we’re going to win games as a team. We’re going to pull together as a team. Those 53 men in the locker room – the eight practice squad guys, the coaches on this staff — we’re going to pull together. We’re going to pull together in a bunker mentality, and we’re going to go to work. That’s how you get better as a football team. The only way you climb out of this hole is to come together and not pull apart. We’re not going to let anything on the outside pull us apart. I thought there were some good things in the game the other day. I thought we were able to get out to a fast start getting up 14-0. I thought our special teams played well in the game. They gave us an opportunity. We stole a possession with a fake punt. We blocked a punt for a touchdown. I thought we did some good things on defense. I thought a critical play in the game defensively was the offsides where we got the take away and had a chance to have the ball at the 18-yard line. I believe the score was 17-14 at that point in time in the game. We got the ball at the 18-yard line, and instead they get another opportunity. We stopped them, but it’s 50 yards of field position based off the punt. So, I thought that was a critically play in the game. Offensively I think once we lost McFadden and Reece, we really couldn’t find any type of rhythm. We ran the ball well early in the game. We opened up the game with a 14-yard run with Darren. I thought there were some plays that were still there to be made, but obviously losing two of our better playmakers in Marcel and Darren — I think that hurt us. Passing game-wise, we really couldn’t get anything going. I didn’t think Matt [Flynn] was as effective as he needs to be. I didn’t think the protection was as good as it needs to be. Those are the things we’ve got to work to improve on. We get another great opportunity this week. We’ve got San Diego coming in here, and we’re looking forward to it.
Q: [Andre] Holmes is back this week. How does he work in there? Can he help out right away?
Coach Allen: We’ll have to see him. He’s been suspended, so we haven’t even been able to work with him for a month, for four games. We’ll have to see how he is when he gets back in here.
Q: How hard is it for the offensive line to adjust from Terrelle [Pryor] to Matt [Flynn]?
Coach Allen: Obviously it’s different because Terrelle is going to move around a little bit more. Matt is a little bit more of the pocket quarterback and is going to stay in the pocket. I think there’s an adjustment that you have to be able to make. Obviously I don’t think we made the adjustment well enough.
Q: How did Terrelle [Pryor] take the word that he was going to be inactive?
Coach Allen: Well listen, he wanted to play. He wanted to play, but again, this was not a player decision. This was not a coach’s decision. This was a medical decision. This was a guy that still, you know, there were still some symptoms there. We weren’t going to put him in that situation. That’s the right thing to do, and that’s the decision we made.
Q: So does that mean it’s possible for a quarterback to complete the NFL protocol and still be symptomatic?
Coach Allen: Yeah because parts of the tests are objective, and some of them are subjective. We wanted to make sure that we exercised extreme caution in this situation. We probably went a little bit above and beyond what typical protocol would be, and we just deemed that it wasn’t worth the risk.
Q: There was talk about him wanting a visor …
Coach Allen: That’s part of it. Sensitivity to light is obviously a symptom. When you have that symptom, you know, we can’t put him at risk.
Q: Did his request for that kind of give you a signal too then?
Coach Allen: Yes.
Q: Last night [Terrelle Pryor] took to Twitter. He was basically saying he was in the office watching film. He promised Raider Nation he was going to turn things around. He even defended the offensive line, defended Matt Flynn and then gave props to the defense. What does that say about him as a competitor and as a teammate?
Coach Allen: I think he’s a good competitor. I think he’s a good teammate. I think he wants to win, and I think he was disappointed that he couldn’t be out there. Hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to get him out there this week.
Q: Are there tests he needs to pass now before playing?
Coach Allen: I think the biggest thing is that he’s got to be symptom-free — whenever that point is. We’re going to continue to monitor that until he’s symptom free.
Q: Is Marcel Reece getting an MRI on his knee today?
Coach Allen: He had an MRI on his knee already.
Q: Are those things just day-to-day—knee sprains?
Coach Allen: I’m not sure exactly how long he could be out if he’s out at all. I would say day-to-day, but I don’t really know the answer to that.
Q: Are you waiting on the results from the MRI?
Coach Allen: No, we got the results back. It’s really a matter of when he’s going to be physically able to go. There’s nothing — not a surgical procedure or anything like that needs to be down. It’s just whenever he’s ready to go.
Q: The Chargers have played four very interesting games. How do you characterize them and what are you looking at from the Chargers?
Coach Allen: Well, it’s a divisional game, so we know it’s going to be a tough, competitive football game. I think they’re playing extremely well on offense. [It] looks to me like Philip Rivers is playing at an extremely high level, so it’ll be a competitive game. I think defensively, after watching them for the last couple of years, I think they’re a tough, physical defensive football team. I think they’ve got good schemes. I think they’ve got good players, and again, we’re going to have to play well to beat them.
Q: Would you characterize [Darren] McFadden’s hamstring injury as a minor injury?
Coach Allen: I wouldn’t get in to characterizing whether it’s minor, major or indifferent. I mean, he’s got a hamstring and I don’t expect him to be out for a long time, but we’ll see how he responds too. It’s one day after the game.
Q: Does he [Darren McFadden] have a chance to play Sunday or is that unrealistic?
Coach Allen: Again, we’re one day out, so really I don’t know.
Q: You had said that with Terrelle [Pryor] that you wanted to be cautious, basically go above and beyond; with Darren [McFadden] is that something you have to consider, given his injury history?
Coach Allen: Well we want to make sure that he’s healthy. I think that hamstring injuries and brain injuries are two totally different things. But yeah, we want to make sure that Darren’s healthy and it’s not something that’s going to linger.
Q: How does preparation this week get complicated by not knowing the game time?
Coach Allen: I don’t think it’ll be complicated a whole lot. The fact of the matter is we’re going to play on Sunday. We don’t know exactly what time we’re going to play on Sunday, but as far as the weekly routine and how we go about things, not a whole lot will change. If we change anything it might be something that we change later in the week, push things back a little bit.
Q: Would you want to have a late-night practice because it’s a much later game than you guys normally play?
Coach Allen: We’ll see. Hopefully we’ll know sooner rather than later, but again, any adjustments to the practice schedule will be made later in the week.
Q: With [Darren] McFadden and [Marcel] Reece hurt, might you move Taiwan Jones back to running back?
Coach Allen: I don’t think so.
Q: It was a great crowd yesterday, but they got impatient. How can they stay patient?
Coach Allen: We understand that, and everybody wants to win; everybody in this building wants to win, and we’re doing everything we can to put a good product on the field and win football games. The positive is we’ve had opportunities to, probably with exception of the Denver game, we’ve had opportunities to win games. We could easily be sitting here at three and one. Now how do we fix that? It comes down to that we’ve got to be able to make the critical plays at the critical situations at the critical situation of the games. That’s what we’ve got to improve on. Like I said before, making the play when you’ve got the opportunity and not having the mental lapses that you can have at times … Having the ball at the 18-yard line, that’s a critical play in the game when you’re playing a highly contested game like that you can’t make those types of mistakes. That’s something that we’ve got to learn from, and that’s something that we’ve got to get corrected.
Q: Did ‘Wiz’ [Stefen Wisniewski] have an MRI also?
Coach Allen: I’m not sure whether he had an MRI or not.
Q: You talked about special teams and how well they played yesterday. How close are you to popping one in the return game?
Coach Allen: Well, I think we’re close. But that’s generally the way it is in special teams because you’re covering so much field, there’s so much space. It usually boils down to one or two blocks that make the difference. I think any time you have explosive returners, like we have, if we can get those extra one or two blocks I think there’s a chance we can break one.
Q: Do you still feel confident about the fourth-and-1 call, to not take the score when you needed two scores was the right thing to do?
Coach Allen: Yeah. I mean it’s fourth-and-inches. An NFL football team has to make inches. We were going to need a touchdown at some point in time anyway, we hadn’t been down there a whole lot, offensively, so my thought process was let’s try to get the touchdown. I know we need a field goal, and I know we need two scores, but fourth-and-inches, you got to make inches. I’d do it again if I had that opportunity.
Q: It seemed like once they went no huddle that the momentum changed a little bit. You know this is a copycat league, do you see expect more teams to look at that and do the same thing?
Coach Allen: Yeah. I would think that we would see a little bit more of that. I would say the momentum for one drive change. I thought when they went 12 personnel on the fourth drive of the game and went no-huddle, yeah, I thought they grabbed the tempo of the game a little bit right there. But I thought our defense responded. I don’t think at any point in the game that the no-huddle was any more of a factor then the normal pace of the game.
Q: They ran it a little bit in the second half, when you were disrupting a lot of their stretch plays, then [Alfred] Morris and [Roy] Helu [Jr.] towards the end started to break free just a little bit to help them control the ball. Was that just being on the field too much, not being able to control the ball?
Coach Allen: I think they wore us down a little bit. But really when you look at the time of possession, the time of possession was in our favor. But I kind of feel like our guys got warn down a little bit, and we gave up some runs towards the end of the game. We did a good job of stopping them and the run game early in the game, not as good as we would have liked later in the game. I think they made a commitment at the end of the game, once they got the lead, that they were going to try to run the ball a little bit more, and they had some success doing it.
Q: Are you still hopeful that [Menelik] Watson is back this week?
Coach Allen: I’m hopeful for that, yeah.
Q: Where would he fit in do you think, is he still on the left side, or do you think he’d be on the right side?
Coach Allen: Well, I think we’ve really got to see this guy [Menelik Watson] practice. We haven’t seen hardly any of him at all. So, to start speculating on where he’ll be, where he’ll fit in, what he’ll do, I really can’t make any decisions on that until he goes out there and I see him work, and see what he looks like going through a practice.
Q: Is there a chance that [Tyvon] Branch is out for the year or do you think he’s back this season?
Coach Allen: I think he’ll be back.
Q: When do you have to make the decision on Andre [Holmes]?
Coach Allen: We have a week.
Q: Have you been told at all when you will kick off on Sunday?
Coach Allen: Early as today, late as Wednesday is the last I’ve heard.