The transcript from Dennis Allen’s press conference in the aftermath of the Raiders Thanksgiving loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Editor’s Note: This press conference was held on Friday and is being posted on Monday in lieu of the Thanksgiving weekend.
From the Raiders official website:
“I’ll give you guys the injury update from the game. Obviously any time you have injuries at this point in the season, four games left, they’re all concerning injuries. Jeremy Stewart basically had a knee and an ankle, Mike Brisiel had a knee, Rashad Jennings had the concussion. He was doing a lot better today when he came in. So, he’ll have to go through the whole protocol. Obviously with the extra time, that will help as far as the potential for his availability next week. Usama Young has a neck,Mike Jenkins had a stinger, and Kaluka Maiava had a calf. Like I said, with only four weeks left, all of those injuries are concerning. As to when they’re going to be able to be back, we’ll probably have some more information early next week when the players get back in town and get going. Just quickly on the game, obviously very disappointed. Very frustrating to lose a game like that. It wasn’t from a lack of effort or lack of trying. I thought our guys went out and competed. We just, in the second half of that football game, we couldn’t make enough plays. They made the plays. We played a good football team on Thursday in their place. They haven’t lost a lot of Thursday, Thanksgiving Day games there. We have to learn from that. We’ve got to move on from that. We’ve got to get better from that. Hopefully when we’re put in that situation again, we’ll be able to take advantage of it.”
Q: You’ve had leads in five games that you’ve gone on to lose. Does it get to the point where you just don’t have enough guys here, talent-wise?
Coach Allen: “There are several plays in the game, where if they turn out in our favor and we make those plays, the game is a different game. Everybody is talking about soft-zone coverage in the first half. Well, we cause a fumble on Dez Bryant, that if we recover that, nobody is talking about that. We gave up a 3rd-and-13 on the first drive in the second half. If we’re able to get off the field there, the outcome of the game could be different. There’s a third-and-six where they throw the ball to Jason Witten in the flat, we missed a couple tackles and they get the first down. They end up going down and scoring there. There’s a play there that we could have had a potential game-changing play. What we’ve got to do is identify where those plays are that we could have been better and try to put ourselves in a better position to make those plays. Then you’re talking about a win and not a loss. They’re learning experiences for us and hopefully our guys are continuing to learn from it.”
Q: What was the problem with the running game?
Coach Allen: “I think it was probably more of a factor of they were totally committed to stopping the run. They loaded up the box and made it very difficult for us to run the ball effectively on a consistent basis. We did have some times in the game where he hit some pretty good runs on them, but that obviously was the plan: to limit our ability to run the football. We did have some big plays in the passing game, some explosive plays in the passing game because of some of the things they were doing to try to stop the run. Obviously, I think the biggest factor offensively was that we only had 20 plays in the second half. It was hard for us to get any continuity in the second half because we didn’t have enough time of possession.”
Q: After the Texans game, when everyone was so high on Matt McGloin, he seemed to be the one that was tempering that. After the two losses, is he able to handle it the same way?
Coach Allen: “I don’t think he’s changed at all. I think he’s handled it quite well. Like I said the other day, I thought Matt did some really good things in the game. Made some great throws down the boundary. Some guys made some great plays for him in the passing game. Really, there are just a couple of mistakes that he made. Obviously, the interception there at the end of the game was a critical error on his part. Overall, I think he’s handled his role pretty well.
Q: Are you comfortable enough to say that he is your guy the rest of the year, barring injury?
Coach Allen: “I think we’re going to continue to play that out. I don’t think he’s done anything to play himself out of that position. I think as Terrelle gets more and more healthy, to be able to see him more involved in the offense is something that we’ll continue to look at. I think Matt has gone in and handled himself pretty well. Really, in every game that he’s been the starting quarterback, we’ve had an opportunity to win those football games. We’ve had leads in the fourth quarter of games; we just haven’t been able to pull them out.”
Q: How critical is it to know what you have out of the quarterbacks by the end of this year?
Coach Allen: “I definitely think that’s something that we need to see. We need to have a good evaluation of what we have at the quarterback position as we move forward. These last four weeks will be instrumental in us being able to do that.”
Q: Have you seen enough out of Pryor to make that evaluation or do you need to see more of him at some point?
Coach Allen: “I think we want to try to see more of him at some point. Injuries are a tough thing. They’re hard to account for. You don’t know how things are going to respond and how quickly people are going to get back. Obviously, not getting much action against the Titans was good rest for him. With the short week, and again, only having 20 plays in the second half, we weren’t able to get him involved in the offense. But I think that’s something we want to look at moving forward, but we’ll see how that plays out.”
Q: How impressive was it to see Rod Streater and Andre Holmes go up and win a lot of the one-on-one battles?
Coach Allen: “That was good to see. Any time you play a team that is going to load the box and play some man coverage and single up on the outside lanes, those guys have to be able to go up and make some plays for you. So, it was good to see those guys make some big plays in the passing game down the field, particularly in the outside lanes.”
Q: Do you have to coach against a lack of motivation at this point in the season?
Coach Allen: “I’d say that when you watch us play and you watch us work every day, there is absolutely nothing that would give me any indication that there is anybody in that locker room that has any give up in them. I’ve said this from the very beginning, I still believe this: I like this football team. I like the guys that are in that locker room. I understand where we’re at from a record standpoint, but these guys have gone out there and given us everything that they’ve had every single week. I continue to expect to see that for the last four weeks of the season.”
Q: Is that maybe different from a year ago when you went through a similar stretch in the second half?
Coach Allen: “I’m onto the guys now in 2013 and what these guys are doing, and these guys are competing. They come to work every day, they do everything that we ask of them to do, and they’re going to continue to do that until the very end.”
Q: How did Khalif Barnes look on tape?
Coach Allen: “I thought early he wasn’t quite as comfortable in there as maybe what we would have hoped, but I thought as the game went, I thought he got better and better in there. I think some of the things from a run blocking standpoint is where he can really improve on the inside there. But, I thought his pass protection inside was actually pretty good.”
Q: Physically, how did Jared Veldheer hold up?
Coach Allen: “He held up good. I saw him this morning and he said he was feeling pretty good, so I think he got out of that clean. We played 55 plays on offense, and the plan was originally to play him, but yet rotateMatt McCants in there some for him, but he was feeling good throughout the game, so we left him in there.”
Q: When you talk about being worn down, how much do you think that the schedule factors in? I know that’s not an excuse, but the fact of the matter is you guys have traveled a lot and played a lot in a short span.
Coach Allen: “Obviously, I think it’s a factor, but I think there are 32 teams in the National Football League and everybody has challenges and adversities that they have to overcome. The schedule is what it is, and we’ve got to be able to accept the way the schedule is, what the travel is, how many times you play in a certain amount of days. The job is to go out there and get the job done, and unfortunately, we haven’t been able to do that well enough.”
Q: Your team has jumped out to big leads early on, outscoring teams 86-41 in the first quarter. In the second half, you’re getting outscored 157-80. Is that a statistical anomaly or teams making adjustments?
Coach Allen: “The game is 60 minutes. It doesn’t matter when you score your points or when you give up your points. They decide the game at the end. So, I think it’s great that we’ve been able to come out and start fast, but unfortunately, we haven’t made enough plays at the end of football games to be able to win those games. We keep giving ourselves opportunities, we keep putting ourselves in those positions and eventually, if our games continue to work the way that they’re working, we’ll make those plays at the end of the games and we’ll win those games.”
Q: What’s the situation with Denarius Moore’s shoulder?
Coach Allen: “He wouldn’t have been able to practice last week. I think we’ll see where he’s at when the players are back in on Monday. We’ll have a better feel for where he’s at with his shoulder.”
Q: Is that the same thing with Tyvon Branch coming up?
Coach Allen: “They took Tyvon out on the field today and worked him out. I don’t know exactly how that went. But, I am hopeful that he can be back out at practice and begin getting himself back ready to play.”
Q: He has been out for a while. How much practice time would you need to get him back in the flow?
Coach Allen: “I wouldn’t think a lot.”
Q: Are players off until Monday?
Coach Allen: “They would be off until Monday, yeah.”
Q: And it will be like a regular week?
Coach Allen: “Yeah, regular week.”
Q: If Rashad Jennings is out due to the concussion, is Darren McFadden at the point right now where he can step in and start for you?
Coach Allen: “Yeah.”
Q: Is Andre Holmes’ ability to go get the ball something you’ve seen in practice and then he finally put it together in a game? How would you characterize is his ability to blow up like that?
Coach Allen: “I think he took advantage of the opportunities that he had afforded to him. When the ball went to him, he made the plays down the field. I just think when the ball went to him, he went up and made the plays. He was able to do that in some other games too. He had a couple of big plays in the Houston game, one that was a big play and one that should have been a big play. So, Andre is a guy, obviously, that we feel very comfortable with. He is a big target, and he can really stretch the field vertically.”
Q: Did you see him be this physical? It really seems like he’s using his body well, getting in position better …
Coach Allen: “Yeah, that’s all the same things that we saw in training camp. He is a big-bodied target that has a wide-catching radius. Again, he can stretch the field vertically and go up and make some big plays for us.”