Allen: 'I like this football team'
Editor's note: Raiders head coach Dennis Allen met the media after the team's third and final minicamp session on Thursday. Below is a transcript of his interview.
Allen: First of all, I’ll just say this was a good camp. I thought OTAs, I thought we improved, I thought we got better. I like this football team. I like their mentality, I like where we’re at, I like the way they’re working. Obviously we’re going to give them some time off before we go to training camp, but I think we’re all anxious to get there, get the pads on and really see what we’ve got. With that I’ll open it up to questions.
Did anything surprise you over the past three days?
Allen: I don’t know if surprised, I’ve been pleased with the work that these guys have put in, and obviously we’re not the finished product. We’ve still got a lot of improvement to do, but I wouldn’t say that’s any different than any of the other 31 teams. But I like their mentality, and I like the way that they work.
What was your parting message to the players?
Allen: Well, I haven’t left 'em yet. I’m going to go back in there and meet with 'em and reiterate some of the things I’m telling you guys. I like this football team. I like the players on this team and I’m excited to see what they can do once they get into training camp.
How about in terms of what is expected of them?
Allen: Well, yeah, we spoke to 'em a little bit this morning about that. We all understand that we put a lot of work into this, and this is the time of year that we've got to mind our Ps and Qs and do the right things and get back to training camp in shape, come back to training camp mentally and physically ready to go.
It's a big year for Mcfadden -- a contract year. Is he approaching it any differently?
Allen: I don’t know if I’d say I’ve seen anything different of Darren. I’d say Darren has always been a guy that’s come in and worked. One thing we have addressed with him a little bit, and something we’ve talked about is a leadership role on the team, helping that locker room and I’ve seen him do a nice job in that regard.
In terms of guys who haven’t played in minicamp (injuries), concerned about any of them not being ready for start of training camp?
Allen: No. I anticipate everybody being ready to go.
Have you seen something in this three days that may have altered or influenced how you start regular camp?
Allen: I don’t think there’s going to be anything that influences the way we start camp, but I will say that, again, we got a lot of change, a lot of turnover on this football team. The thing I’ve been the most pleased with is the mindset of this team. I know there’s a lot of experts out there that might thing differently, but I like this football team.
What has Greg Olson brought to the offense?
Allen: I think he brings an element of creativity. I like some of the things that they’re doing with him and Tony Sparano in the run game. I like what we’re doing from that standpoint. And he brings some enthusiasm and an air of confidence to the team.
A couple of the players said he stops them in the hallways and give them ideas. Is there a difference between having set plays and having an evolving offense?
Allen: Yeah, absolutely, I think that’s what great coaching is. I think great coaching is adapting a scheme to fit the players that you have. Putting those players in the position to give them the best chance to have success. I think that he’s done a real nice job of that from an offensive standpoint.
What do see specifically from the quarterbacks over the last month?
Allen: I think they’ve gotten better. I really do. We’re not where we need to be yet but we’re not playing tomorrow. I feel good about where we’re at from a quarterback standpoint. We got some different elements at the quarterback position. I think all of them have their strengths and we got to try to put them in position to try to utilize their strengths.
How much contact can you have with the players between now and training camp?
Allen: We can have contact but I think it’s important this time of year. We’re gonna keep tabs a little bit and make sure we know where everybody is, but at the end of the day, they gotta get away a little bit too. Get refreshed and get ready for training camp because it’ll be a grind once we get there.
They go home with playbooks and DVDs?
Allen: We generally keep that stuff in house, but they got a lot of notes and stuff that they’ve taken over the course of the last 13 practices.
As coaches, do you guys take time off too?
The quarterback play from two days ago until today is like night and day, what do you attribute that to?
Allen: I think it’s continuing to get reps. Continue to get the work. These guys have done a nice job. We knew going into this from the very beginning, not only from the quarterback position because that seems to be the focus of everybody, but with our football team. Don’t worry about where you’re at right now. Just keep grinding, keep working and if you keep doing that you’re gonna get better. And that’s what these guys have done.
You spend a lot of time with the defensive backs...
Allen: You always go back home to Mama. That’s a spot that I have a great passion for. I feel like in the secondary that that’s the most critical spot to make sure you’re on it. I have great confidence in the coaches we have back there. I have great confidence in those players that we brought in here but that’s a place that, yeah, I’ve spent a little bit more time.
What have you seen from Rashad Jennings?
Allen: I think up to this point he’s done a nice job for us. He moves well, he’s a big back. I think the telltale will be when we get into the pads does he run like a big back in the pads. We’ll find that out when we get to training camp.
What has Woodson’s impact been so far?
Allen: He brings an air of confidence to the whole group, not just the secondary but really the team in general. Anytime you can have a player of that caliber that still has a lot of football left in him and bring that into your team and your organization, it fills your team with a lot more confidence. That’s one of the big things that he brings.
Jamize Olawale looks to be more involved. How is he progressing?
Allen: He’s done a nice job in the camp. He’s really improved from the end of last season to this point. I’m looking forward to getting him in training camp and seeing where he’s at.
Besides Stefen Wisniewski and Jared Veldheer, is the offensive line wide open?
Allen: Hey listen. We all have ideas and thoughts of where we’re at and you have a vision of what you think it’s going to look like. Really at the end of the day, you let the competition play out. It will tell you who should be at what positions. It always shakes out at the end. I’ve been pleased with the competition really we’ve had throughout the football team.