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News

Allen Discusses Mini-Camp, Competition and More

Posted Jun 18, 2014

Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen spoke to the media after practice on the second day of the Raiders mandatory mini-camp.

Head Coach Dennis Allen: “I thought it was another good day of work. Obviously, especially at this time of year, there are always a lot of mistakes that are made, but that’s what this time of year is for – to get those mistakes made, get them coached up, get them corrected, so that hopefully we won’t have the same mistakes when we hit the season. I think my overall impression of what we’ve been able to accomplish in the offseason, I’ve been real pleased. I think we’ve gotten a lot accomplished. I think this team is beginning to come together. Like I said before, we’ve still got a long way to go, but we’ve got a lot of time where we can get the work in and try and get better. I like the football team right now. We’ve got to finish it up tomorrow and then we’ve got to make sure we take that next month to mentally and physically prepare ourselves for training camp.”

Q: Miles Burris seems to be getting a lot of work. Is he basically stepping right back into where he was two years ago?

Coach Allen: “Well, I think he’s further ahead than where he was two years ago. Two years ago he was a rookie at this point in time and really kind of struggling to find his way a little bit. He’s got two years in the system, so I think he’s comfortable in the system, and he’s continued to work extremely hard to get better as a football player. I think any time you have players that have athletic ability, have football instincts, and they work as hard as he does, they find a way to get on the field and they find a way to make a play. That’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for guys that love football, that want to work, guys that are going to put the team first. If you do that, then you’ll find a way to get on the field.”

Q: Sio Moore was a guy who was playing a lot last year for you guys. Is there something he hasn’t been doing out here, or have you mostly wanted to see more of Miles?

Coach Allen: “I think the great thing that we have going on is we got a lot of competition. When you have competition, it brings out the best in everybody. Like I said before, I wouldn’t read too much into anything. We’ve got a long way to go before we play a game. What I’m looking for is I’m looking for guys that go out and compete and get better every day, and I think we’re doing that. If we’ll continue to do that, than we have a good shot at being a good football team.”

Q: Matt Schaub said yesterday that he has seen the entire playbook and feels like he has a good grasp of it. Have you seen that out there and is this light-years ahead of where you were last year at the quarterback position?

Coach Allen: “I’ve been pleased, and I’ve said this before, but I’ve been pleased with what I’ve seen out of Matt Schaub. He’s come in here and been really exactly what I thought he was going to be. He’s a good veteran player that understands how to play the game. He’s been successful in this league, and I think he’s going to continue to be successful. I said this earlier in the offseason: I love our quarterback room. I think we’ve got a great quarterback room from one through four. I think it’s a good situation for us to be in, but we’ve got to continue to work and we’ve got to continue to get better because there’s still a lot of room for improvement.”

Q: Has anyone impressed you amongst the quarterbacks that you weren’t expecting at this time?

Coach Allen: “No, I think everybody’s given me exactly what I thought we were going to get. I think all of these guys have done a nice job. They’ve all worked extremely hard. They’re competing hard, but yet they’re competing together, and I think every one of those guys brings a little something to the room that helps not only the other guys in the room, but the whole football team.”

Q: It looks like there were more than a few fumbled quarterback snaps. Is that just a matter of quarterbacks and centers building up chemistry through working together, or is something else going on there?

Coach Allen: “It’s mini-camp. It’s OTA football. Those are the things that – I’d much rather have those things go on now than when we get to middle of the season. That’s one of the things we have to continue to work on and continue to improve.”

Q: Do you have an update on James Jones?

Coach Allen: “Well, he’s got an AC sprain – shoulder sprain. Again, he’s probably not going to practice tomorrow. I don’t know the answer to that exactly right now, but it’s not going to be anything that’s going to affect him when we get ready for training camp.”

Q: Speaking of Jones, he led the league in touchdowns two years ago. You haven’t had a number one guy with the Raiders for a while. Is he someone who could fill that role?

Coach Allen: “Listen, I like some of the things that I’ve seen out of James. Obviously, all that still remains to be seen. I think we’ve got a good group of wide receivers. I think all of them are working extremely hard. We’ll let everything filter out as we go through training camp and get in some of these preseason games.”

Q: With a guy like Gabe Jackson, what is the next step for him as you head toward the summer?

Coach Allen: “I think the big thing is, the way the rules are, they’re basically going to be out of here for four weeks before we get the opportunity to see them again and be able to work with them. The big thing with all these guys is that when we leave for those four weeks and we come back, we’re able to pick up where we left off and we don’t have to go back to square one. So all of our guys’ ability over this off-period to continue to work both mentally and physically – fundamentals and technique and assignment football.”

Q: You’ve had an influx of veterans in the 30-year old range. Do you see these as guys with sort of a chip on their shoulder with something to prove?

Coach Allen: “I think every year in this league you have something to prove. Whether you’re a coach, player. I think that’s what this league is all about. Every year, you have to re-prove yourself. Yeah, it’s veteran players that have something to prove, there are young players that have something to prove, coaches that have things to prove. I think that’s the nature of the business and that’s how we get better.”

Q: How excited are you to see the position battles in training camp?

Coach Allen: “I’m real excited. I think [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] has done a great job of acquiring talent and depth on this football team. That’s how you build a good football team. You have talent in the front line group of players, but you’re able to develop that depth. Throughout the course of the 16-game season, you’re going to need everybody, all 53 guys, including the practice squad. It’s a good situation to have and I think we’re going to have some good competition as we go through training camp.”

Q: Are those tough decisions a good thing for you?

Coach Allen: “Tough decisions are hard to make, but it’s a good problem to have. I can see a situation where we are going to have a lot of tough decisions to try to get down a 53-man roster. That’s a sign of having the opportunity to be a good team.”