Oakland Raiders: Head Coach Dennis Allen Speaks after Third Preseason Game
Stuart Kovacs – Aug 26, 2012
On Saturday, the Oakland Raiders won by a score of 31-20 over the Detroit Lions. Here is what head coach Dennis Allen had to say about the game as well as the injuries that occurred.
While it is obviously only the preseason, Saturday’s win marked Allen’s first victory as a head coach. He believes that it doesn’t matter if its preseason, regular season, or postseason. The goal for the team is to always go out there to win the game which creates good habits.
“Any time you get a chance to get a win, you do nothing but grow from that. We talk about creating habits and you’re either creating good habits or bad habits and today we created a good habit. It’s a good habit to get into winning. I talked to guys before about that’s why we play the game and that’s what we went out there and tried to do today.”
As the Raiders put up 31 points on offense, Allen could see great improvement in several phases.
He singled out the ability to finish drives as something the offense has focused on for the entire preseason.
On Saturday, Allen saw a huge improvement in this area. While the team obviously isn’t perfect just yet, they were able to score a touchdown in a goal line situation when Darren McFadden ran it in from 1-yard out after a lengthy video review by the officials to overturn the call.
“It’s been the theme for us throughout the preseason. We’ve talked a lot about finishing. We were able to finish a drive today down on the goal line and we’ve got to continue to do a better job and continue to work on that. We’re not clean in all three phases right now. We still have a long way to go, but I saw some progress tonight.”
In Allen’s mind, there were three particular players that stood out on offense during Saturday’s game.
Allen liked what he saw out of starting quarterback Carson Palmer despite throwing two interceptions. He believes that the screen pass Palmer threw that was picked off was a very questionable decision.
However, he enjoyed watching Palmer move the ball against the Lions defense. Palmer accumulated 181 passing yards in the first half of the game.
“I think when you look at what we did offensively today, he’s been able to move the ball. We’ve got to finish as a team. One questionable decision on the screen play, but other than that, I saw some good things out of Carson today."
Backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor really impressed Allen on Saturday after his first two preseason games left a lot to be desired.
He threw two touchdown passes to rookie wide receiver Juron Criner which made Allen happy. Allen also mentioned that he believed Pryor did a much better job managing the huddle, an issue that the former Ohio State Buckeye has had throughout the entire preseason.
“Terrelle did a nice job. He came in and threw a couple of nice balls, two for touchdowns, both of them to [Juron] Criner, so that was good to see. I thought he managed the huddle a lot better in this game, which was really an area of improvement we were looking for out of him. He’s still a work in progress, but I thought he made some strides today.”
Backup running back Taiwan Jones may have just solidified a second-team spot behind starter Darren McFadden.
With an average of five yards per carry, Allen was impressed with the speed and explosiveness especially on the edges.
“He did some nice things. He was explosive; he’s obviously really fast. He has a real nice run where he got a little penetration and cut back and was able to get around the defense. That’s one of the things that he gives you is he does have some real speed so his ability to get on the edges is good for us.”
On defense, Allen wants to keep a level head. He was unwilling to get upset at the defense after the first two preseason games and does not want to get too excited after their performance on Saturday, which he believes was good in specific spurts.
“Well I think in spurts we’ve played really well. I think you have to look, just like the first two games, you don’t want to get too down when you don’t get the results you’re looking for as far as one loss. But we’re not going to get too high about this one either. There’s a lot of things we have to get corrected offensively, defensively and in the kicking game, but I was pleased with the way the defense came up in a couple adversity situations and were able to stop them when we got on some short fields.”
Allen was really impressed with the performances of Matt Giordano, Phillip Wheeler, and the linebackers as a whole.
Giordano had an intercepted that was called back after a penalty on Tommy Kelly. However, the former Indianapolis Colt still made a great play on the ball which won’t go without being seen.
“It’s always hard for me coming right off the field without really getting a chance to look at the tape. I thought Philip Wheeler did a couple of nice things. I thought Matt Giordano, he made a heck of a play on the interception, was a great play, unfortunately was called back due to a penalty. I thought our linebackers overall, I thought they played pretty well.”
Defensive lineman Lamarr Houston played a few snaps in an unusual position during Saturday’s game.
The former Texas Longhorn played some defensive tackle on nickel defense. Allen believes that Houston can give the team some great versatility and can have a tremendous season.
“That’s something that we feel like he can give us. We feel like inside on the nickel defense, he gives us something in there. The great thing about him is he gives us some versatility where we can use him outside on base downs and move inside some in the nickel situations. So he’s had a good camp and if he continues to improve, I’m hopeful for a good season out of him."
On the injury front, the biggest news came when kicker Sebastian Janikowski strained his groin while chasing down former Raiders’ kick returner Justin Miller on an 80-yard kickoff return.
The severity of the injury is not yet known. However, it is now more likely that backup kicker Eddy Carmona will survive through both cut days.
Luckily for the Raiders, no other injuries were reported to have occurred during the game.
Also, wide receiver Jacoby Ford (left foot), defensive lineman Richard Seymour (rest/sore knees), linebacker Aaron Curry (knees), wide receiver Denarius Moore (hamstring), center Stefen Wisniewski (calf), quarterback Matt Leinart (cut on right index finger), tight end Richard Gordon (ribs), offensive lineman Ed Wang (shoulder,) and offensive lineman Zach Hurd (head) all missed Saturday’s game with injuries.
Leinart was throwing passes to Moore prior to the game. This would lead one to believe that both players are getting closer to returning.
Center Alex Parsons, defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, and wide receiver Rod Streater all received starts due to the injuries of Wisniewski, Seymour, and Ford.
The Raiders will be back on the practice field on Monday as they prepare for their fourth and final preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday. Practices for the remainder of training camp will take place in Alameda.
Before Monday’s practice, there will be a significant roster cut as the Raiders will have until Monday to trim their roster down to 75 players.
Raider Nation Times will continue to monitor all progress throughout the preseason including player cuts as well as injury news.
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