Join NFL writer Steve Corkran for a discussion today at noon about the Raiders’ win over the Steelers, the upcoming game against the Broncos and the ongoing issue of the NFL’s replacement officials.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen turned 40 and notched his first victory as an NFL head coach over the weekend. Yeah, so, Allen seemed to say Monday. That’s nice, but there isn’t any time to celebrate much in the NFL, especially when Peyton Manning is your next opponent. Continue Reading
Will post comments from players after locker-room access. In the interim, here’s the entire transcript from Raiders coach Dennis Allen’s news conference Monday:
Q: How is Darrius Heyward-Bey doing?
A: He’s doing better. I believe he’s been released from the hospital. He had a concussion and he’s got a neck strain. He’ll make a full recovery. He’s going to be fine. We’ll just have to evaluate him and see where he’s at as far as when we get him back.
Q: Thoughts on the hit?
A: It’s the game of football. I don’t think people are trying to going out there and hurt peopole. The safety was playing the game fast and physical. It’s a tough game to play when you’re making split-second decisions on how you play the game. It’s the unfortunate things that happen in this game but we move on from it.
Q: Talk to DHB?
A: I talked to him this morning.
Q: How did he sound?
A: He sounded tired. But he’s doing OK. He was in good spirits. He’s doing fine and we’re looking forward to getting him back.
Q: Prognosis on when he’ll be back?
A: The concussion is obviously the bigger issue than anything else right now. He’s a guy that we’re going to have to continue to evaluate and see where he’s at. We were all pleased to see that it wasn’t anything severe as far as neck injury or anything like that.
Q: Brandon Myers’ condition after the concussion?
A: He got that late in the game. Brandon’s been in here today and feels fine, no headaches. He still has to go through the protocol of passing all the tests. But it didn’t seem to be severe.
Q: How involved do you get in protocol?
A: That’s what we do as organization. I don’t get individually involved specifically but we all know what we’ve got to go and player safety is the biggest concern. We’re not going to put a guy back out on the field until we know that it’s safe to put him back out there.
Q: Lot of hits taking place across the league Sunday. Thoughts?
A: There’s rules in place to take care of those things and I’ll let the people in charge of taking care of those things take care of it.
Q: Surprised there was no flag on DHB play?
Allen: It’s a judgment call.
Q: After seeing the tape, thoughts on Michael Huff as a corner?
Allen: I thought there were some things that he did well. It’s been awhile since he’s been out there. There’s a learning process out there. It’s not like you just go out there and he looks like an All-American or an all-Pro player the first time he goes out there. There’s going to be a learning process for him. The great thing he was able to learn and we were able to get the win. I would expect the next time he goes out there that he would be a little bit better.
Q: Giving a lot of cushion while other corner playing tighter?
Allen: I think some of that has to do with playing back out there on an island and you know you’re all by yourself out there. It’s just developing that confidence to know that he can do it and we’ve got all the confidence in the world that he’ll be able to do that.
Q: Anything surprise you about what you were able to do yesterday . .
Allen: No, I mean, I think things that I’ve known all along. We’ve got it in us to be a mentally tough team, and compete and fight and keep going until the very end. That’s what you have to do to win consistently in this league and that’s what our guys did yesterday.
Q: Talked about patience, belief in the system, how important to get a win to validate it . .
Allen: Well, any time you have success, it reinforces the message that you’ve been trying to preach. So it was good for our players, for our staff, for our organization to see some of the fruits of our labor. Listen, we’re not a finished product. We’ve still got a lot of work to do and that’s why we’re meeting to day to get all those corrections made and hopefully we’ll get that taken care of and we won’t make the same mistakes when we go against Denver next week.
Q: Areas that were concerns that got addressed form Week 1 to Week 2, run defense, field positon, etc. . .
Allen: Every week it’s something different. No game is ever perfect and there’s always things that you got to improve on and there’s things from week to week that you get better at. I thought our run game was better in the game the other day, the fact that we were able to get two takeaways on defense was an improvement. The fact that we were able to create field position with our special teams, that was an improvement. Our third down conversions on offense was an improvement, was a big part of why we wont the game, so yeah, there were some things in that game that we improved on. Now the challenge is, can you continue to improve on them on a weekly basis.
Q: Did you last night after the win have a chance to celebrate with family?
A: Yeah, we had a good time. Had some friends over and enjoyed it.
Q: Going back just once, it worked out to be a happy day for the organization, but can you take us back to that 10 minutes when DHB was down, unconscious? What was that like?
A: Well it was tough. I was actually out on the field watching everything as it took place. And it was a scary situation, and we’re blessed and we’re fortunate that he’s going to be fine. That’s part of this game that we play and it’s a tough part of the game, but we’re happy that Darrius is going to be fine.
Q: But how did it change the emotional energy? The focus?
A: Well that’s a difficult challenge, and it’s really a difficult challenge for both teams because there’s a flow to the game that you get into and the flow of the game was stalled there for a second. But I thought our guys did a great job of refocusing and doing the things that we had to do to win that football game. And I thought we did a nice job of that.
Q: How much of that do you attribute to Carson? Players talked yesterday about his calmness. What’d you see?
A: Same things I’ve been seeing from him since I’ve been here. That’s why we’re glad that we’ve got the quarterback that we have, because he’s been through a lot of different things and seen a lot of different things, and he doesn’t let a lot of things distract him. He’s got singleness of purpose, and I thought he did a great job – the whole game, and then especially there at the end of the game.
Q: The two, particularly the one to DHB and then the last short TD pass where he broke to the outside and got Denarius, those were tough throws.
A: I thought if there was one thing that you take out of the game from Carson where he had a big improvement, his accuracy, especially under duress, was outstanding. So he understands how to play the game, he can fit the ball into tight windows, and we need our quarterback to play like he played yesterday.
Q: How did Willie Smith grade out in his first start?
A: Overall I thought he graded out pretty well. There’s still some areas of improvement that he’s got to make, but for a young guy to come in and play against a defense like that, I thought he played well.
Q: Carson didn’t have the best start yesterday but was able to come back. What are some of the things that you’re looking to improve going into Denver?
A: With Carson specifically?
Q: With no room for error obviously.
A: Well I mean I think there’s a lot of areas for improvement. Defensively we’ve got to be able to get off the field on third down and then when they get down in the red zone we’ve got to make them kick field goals and not score touchdowns. That was a big thing in the game that led to a big difference in time of possession, so we’ve got to improve in that area. Offensively, I thought we did a better job. Obviously we’ve got to be able to protect the ball, we’ve got to do a better job of staying on our feet and not slipping down, which is what happened on the one interception. So there’s going to be areas that we’ve got to improve in every week.
What kind of week will this be for you, going back to Denver?
“It will be just like every other week. It’s going to be a division opponent. It’s a big game, but we can’t get into individualism. This is a team game. We got a challenge to face the Denver Broncos, and we’re going to come up with a good plan, our players will execute, and we’re going to go try to win a game.”
Is there something that will happen, though, when you step out there on game day, on the opposing sideline? Obviously you have some memories from there.
“Sure, it will be a different feel. It will be a different feel. But that’s another one of those distractions that you can’t let take over. It’s not about me, it’s not about Dennis Allen vs. the Denver Broncos, it’s about the Oakland Raiders vs. the Denver Broncos. We’re going to need a lot more than just me out there to go win a game. So our focus is going to be on our team trying to exploit whatever weaknesses Denver has and eliminate the times that they’re able to exploit whatever vulnerabilities we have.”
Will you have to be looking for wide receivers this week?
“That’s a potential. We’ll look at that. Reggie and I will get together and talk personnel probably this afternoon, so we’ll see.”
What about the energy that the fans brought, especially in the fourth quarter?
“It was going pretty good. We got a great group of fans. The Raider Nation is probably the – they’re the most passionate fans I’ve ever been around, so that was a great feeling, and we need that energy. The players feed off of it, the coaches feed off of it. It’s a big factor in the game.”
What have you been telling the players to keep the penalties down?
“Just do your job, be disciplined, do it right, don’t do things that are going to cost your football team. And like I said before, at the end of the day, I have to do a good job of bringing it to their attention, the players have to do the job of getting it corrected, and they’ve done a nice job of that through three games.”
Everyone was talking about the zone blocking. Do you think you’ve silenced some of that?
“Maybe for a week. That’s the way it is, and we understand that. We go to go out and we got to execute on a week by week basis. That’s what the challenge for us is, and that’s why playing in the National Football League’s so hard because you got to be able to bring it for 16 straight weeks. We’ll go back to work this week, we’ll have a good plan for Denver and we’ll be ready to roll.”
Q: Did you think it would take this long for your offensive system to yield fruit?
A: “Well, it takes time for, anytime there’s something new, anytime there’s change, it takes some time for guys to understand how to work together and how different situations are going to play out. So, yeah, you’re expecting that it’s going to take a little bit of time. It was nice to see some of the results this week.”
Q: Have you had a chance to study video of Peyton Manning yet?
A: “I’ve studied him a lot in the past. I haven’t got a chance, really, to really focus in on them. I’ll spend the better part of this afternoon and tonight, tomorrow, getting a good feel for them. He’s obviously a great player, he’s a Hall of Fame player, and we’ve got our hands full with it.”
Q: Curious to see what Jack Del Rio has done with the defense you ran last season?
A: “Well, yeah, I’ve seen what they’ve done. They’re doing some of the same things that we did last year and then they’ve got their new little wrinkles that they’re doing. Jack Del Rio does a great job coaching defense. He’s always been an outstanding defensive football coach. So, yeah, you watch those guys that you coached and watch them play. They’re doing a good job on defense. They’re flying around, playing fast. We got our work cut out for us.”
Q: How much did you feel the Mile High atmosphere was an advantage for the Broncos?
A: “I don’t recall anything, in particular, where we just said, ‘Hey, we’re going to try to use this as an advantage.’ It’s a tough place to play. They’ve got a good fan base. It gets loud. We got to go and play against a good opponent. We got to get ready to play the game.”
Q: Is Philip Wheeler playing the way you expected?
A: “Yes. He loves playing the game of football. It’s fun for him. It’s not work for him. He enjoys it, he flies around, he tries to make every play on the field that he can. He’s the type of guy that we’re looking for. He’s done a real good job for us, and we’re happy that we got him.”
Q: Look forward to no infield dirt?
A: I think we’re one of … I think we’re the only team that plays on a dirt infield. That’s something we have to deal with. The opponent has to deal with it. It’s another one of those outside distractions that you don’t have control over so you just understand what you’re dealing with and understand how you got to play on the dirt then you move on.
Q: So are you rooting against the A’s?
A: I hope they win. Is there any way we can get a grass infield and they can still win?
Q: How much does it help the offensive line to have Wiz for second straight week?
A: That has a lot to do with it. In our scheme the center has to be responsible for a lot of different things. He was one player we thought made a big step forward this week as far as not only his play but getting us started in the right areas and doing those kinds of things. I think as we develop some continuity in our offensive line and we’re able to keep the same five guys playing on a week by week basis we’ll do nothing but get better.
Q: More no huddle in future?
A: It will be a part of our offense. We’ll see on a week by week basis. Everything is game planned on a week by week basis. Just because we ran it this week doesn’t mean we’ll run it next week. We’ll have to see what we think gives us the best chance to win.
Q: Like how it looked?
A: I was pleased with the way the no-huddle
The Raiders announced Monday that wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was released from Eden Medical Center after spending the night under observation.
OAKLAND – Some kind of sign, that’s all the Raiders wanted. Finally, after an agonizing wait, injured wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey raised his right hand in the air as if to signal that he was all right after being drilled in the head by a Pittsburgh Steelers defender Sunday.
The sold-out crowd erupted into applause once they received the sign from Heyward-Bey.
A Raiders spokesman said Heyward-Bey is in stable condition and that he was being kept overnight at Mt. Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.
Thus inspired by Heyward-Bey’s arm-raising, the Raiders scored a touchdown four plays later and went on for a 34-31 victory at the Coliseum.
“It meant a lot,” Raiders running back Mike Goodson said. “He let you know that he’s all right, that he still had that fighting spirit.”
The Raiders channeled that spirit the rest of the game, using the helmet-to-chin hit by Steelers safety Ryan Mundy as added motivation.
“When we got in the kickoff huddle (after the touchdown),” Goodson said, “it was all, ‘Let’s go, DHB!’ They took our guy out. Nothing against them, but you get something out of that. It just lets you know that he’s all right.”
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said after the game that the only update he had on Heyward-Bey was that he suffered a concussion.
The injury was severe enough for him to be taken to a local hospital, yet no one called it a malicious play by Mundy.
Heyward-Bey suffered his injury as he attempted to catch a pass from quarterback Carson Palmer early in the fourth quarter, as two Steelers defenders closed in from either side. The officials didn’t call a penalty on the play.
Mundy’s helmet caught Heyward-Bey on the chin, knocking him unconscious and resulting in him hitting the turf face first.
He lay on the field for more than 10 minutes as numerous medical people tended to him. Ultimately, his head and neck were immobilized before he was placed on a body board, carted off the field and taken to the hospital.
Mundy said the location of his hit on Heyward-Bey was unintentional.
“I didn’t go in there trying to hit him with my helmet,” Mundy said. “Things like that happen so fast. He may have come down to the level of my helmet. I have to see the replay, I don’t know. … Unfortunately, things like that do happen. From my standpoint, they’re never intentional.”
Heyward-Bey’s injury underscored the perilous nature of the NFL.
“We always talk about, win, lose or draw, anytime you’re able to walk off the field, that’s a win,” Raiders defensive tackle Richard Seymour said. “Because we play a dangerous game. It’s in my opinion the best game in the world, but it’s one of the most violent.”
Heyward-Bey is in his fourth season with the Raiders. He was their first-round pick in the 2009 NFL draft.
Coincidentally, he suffered a similarly scary injury last season in a game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Again, Heyward-Bey’s head and neck were immobilized last Nov. 20, and he was carted off the field.
At one point Sunday, there were 10 or more medical people tending to Heyward-Bey, with teammates and fans unable to see what was going on.
“Yeah, it was definitely tense,” Raiders long-snapper Jon Condo said. “You couldn’t see him. They had him blocked off, with the cart in the way. You got to take a knee and send a prayer out to him, pray for his safety.”
Goodson suffered a neck injury during training camp in August. He, too, was placed on a body board with his head and neck immobilized before being transported to a hospital.
Goodson was released the same day after tests and observation. He said he expects Heyward-Bey to rebound the way he did.
“Darrius is a ballplayer, man,” Goodson said. “When you’re a ballplayer like that, it just comes natural. So, he’ll get back. I’m sure he’ll have to go through his treatments and all that, but he’s a professional. He’ll be back.”
Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was taken off on a cart after taking a blow to the head in the end zone early in the fourth quarter of the Raiders’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at O.co Coliseum.
Ben Roethlisberger threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown recovered his own fumble in the end zone to more than offset a 1-yard Carson Palmer touchdown pass to Richard Gordon as the Steelers took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Shaun Suisham kicked a 33-yard field goal at the gun to give the Steelers a three-point halftime lead.
Ben Roethlisberger threw a pair of 4-yard touchdown passes to Heath Miller and was attacking the Raiders wounded secondary with success.
Marcus Allen has lit the torch in memory of Al Davis (never thought I’d be writing that sentence) and the Steelers have kicked off to the Raiders.