Friday Dennis Allen took to the podium one last time before the Raiders Sunday afternoon battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers at O.co Coliseum. Allen talked the Raiders-Steelers rivalry, Troy Polamalu’s influence on the game, the signing of Jack Cornell from the practice squad, and Jacoby Ford’s rejuvenated season for the Raiders.
Transcript from the Oakland Raiders official website
Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen: Injury report – Tyvon Branch didn’t practice. He’s out. Andre Gurode did not practice. He’s doubtful for the game. Kaluka [Maiava] was limited in practice. He’s questionable. [Tony] Pashos did not practice – doubtful. Tracy Porter was full. He’s probable. Menelik Watson did not practice. He’s doubtful. Stefen Wisniewski was full. He’s probable for the game. That’s where we’re at injury-wise. We had a good week at practice, and I think our guys are excited about getting back in front of the home crowd and getting an opportunity to play against a good Pittsburgh Steelers team. I think it’s a great rivalry — great tradition in this game. Our guys are looking forward to taking part in it.
Q: Would the move with [Jack] Cornell be made on game day?
Coach Allen: It will probably be made tomorrow.
Q: You mentioned the rivalry. Is it something you make sure the players are aware of? Is it an important thing to know about?
Coach Allen: Yeah, I think the history of this rivalry, to understand what it’s all about and what this rivalry throughout the ages has been about and what’s been at stake during this game has been pretty impressive. You have two teams that have a rich tradition and a history of winning championships. That’s what we aspire to be, so it’s fun to be a part of.
Q: Do you ever use a speaker or somebody that was in the rivalry at any point?
Coach Allen: I’ve used speakers throughout the year. I haven’t done it for any particular games or individual games. I think you kind of take those things on a case-by-case basis, but there would be plenty to pick from in this rivalry. That’s for sure.
Q: Greg Olson had mentioned three weeks ago that he saw the [Jacoby] Ford that people had known a couple of years ago. Are you starting to see more of that? Is he finally getting to the point where he can be more active in the offense?
Coach Allen: I think he’s done some things that have caught our eye. Obviously he’s an explosive player, and what we’ve got to do a great job of is finding ways to get the ball in the hands of our playmakers. He’s one of the guys we’ve got out there who when he gets the ball in his hands he can make a big play. Yeah, I think he’s one guy we need to find ways to get the ball to.
Q: Troy Polamalu is getting up there in age. Is he the same guy you have to game plan for?
Coach Allen: Yeah, he’s everywhere. You never know where he’s going to be. He makes a lot of play and does a great job timing up snap counts and pressures and those types of things, so yeah he’s a guy we have to account for. He’s a great player. He’s been a great player in this league. We have to know where he’s at on every single play. He’s kind of one of the catalysts of their football team.
Q: Playing the Steelers last year was one of your big wins from last year. Do you take anything from that game?
Coach Allen: Not really. I think what we need to look at is teams change from year to year. We’ve changed as a football team. They’ve changed as a football team, so it’s really not something we pay a lot of attention to. I mean obviously we go back and look at schematically some of the things they try to do. We look at match ups. We look at personnel. It’s two different teams playing this year, but our guys are excited about playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’ll be a great challenge for them coming in here.