Raiders coach Dennis Allen addressed the media for about 10 minutes Monday in his weekly news conference in Alameda. He fielded 18 questions during that time, with the lion’s share of the time spent explaining why the Raiders are 3-7, how he can turn things around and his thoughts on owner Mark Davis’ recent criticism of the team’s play.
No real news surfaced today as a result, other than Allen saying he is hopeful of getting back some of his injured players such as running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson, defensive tackle Richard Seymour and strong safety Tyvon Branch.
Therefore, it’s best that you just read what Allen said and draw your own conclusions. So, here’s the entire trancript:
Q: Thoughts on Mark Davis’ comments that this team has regressed?
A: “Hey, I’m right there with him. I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed. You know, you wake up this morning and your gut hurts. But, at the same time, when a man gets knocked down and man gets up and fights. And that’s exactly what we intend to do. I understand his frustration; I can appreciate that. And let me tell you, there’s nobody that’s going to work any harder to get it corrected than I will.”
Q: Only one game but how much would it help to go on road and play best game and get a win at Cincinnati?
A: “Well, it would be huge .We need to get a win and that’ what happens in the National Football League. When you lose, it hurts. Rips your gut out. But a win turns everything around. A win makes everybody feel a lot better. And that’s what we need to do. We need to come together as a football team and we need to all make a decision that we’re going to do whatever it takes to win football games. And that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Q: Is the talent level on this team 3-7, and if not, why isn’t it?
A: “No, I think we’ve got a better team than that. And I think it all comes down to, and I’ve said it before, and I believe this with all my heart, it comes down to our ability to execute, and our ability to be disciplined and do our job the right way on every single play, and that’s what I think it comes down to and it comes down to a mindset. Our guys deciding that That’s enough. We’re not dealing with that anymore.”
Q: How much of that mindset and execution comes from coaching?
A: “Hey, listen, I think we all have a part in that. If I didn’t feel like coaching was important, I wouldn’t be doing it. I think that’s part of my responsibility, and I take that part very seriously, because I think the mindset is as important as anything else you do.”
Q: Are guys executing things properly in practice and it’s not carrying over to the game, or are there problems during the week?
A: “I think some of them show up during the week and you do everything you can to get those corrected. It’s disappointing when they show up in the game. Things happen a lot faster in the game. You have to be able to execute a lot faster in game-like situations.”
Q: Is there anybody you can call to draw upon and say, “Hey, look, I’ve tried most everything I can think of at this time?” Is there someone you can lean upon? And going back, have you ever had a season where it’s 3-7 like this?
A: “We were 5-11 with the Atlanta Falcons back in 2003. Dan Reeves was the head coach. So I’ve been through this before. It’s not my first rodeo going through this. Obviously it is as a head football coach, but there are people such as Dan Reeves that I can call for advice on how to handle different situations.”
Q: Have you called anybody?
A: “Yes. I talked to him earlier in the year.”
Q: How did Reeves turn it around at 5-11 and can you do the same?
Allen: “Yeah, we can. And we will. Listen, there’s not a magic formula. It really comes down to our mindset and our ability to focus in and do our jobs, not just during the game. It’s everything. It’s how we go about with our meeting process, how we go about with our practice process. Those are the little things that you have to do on a daily basis which get you the results that you’re looking for on game day.”
Q: Lot of talk training camp, things being done differently, guys signing in for meetings and detail and discipline things that were brought in help turn things around. Any slippage in that area at all?
Allen: “No, I don’t believe so. I don’t believe so. And that’s one thing that we’ve got to constantly look to monitor to make sure we’re doing the right things all the time. When you get in these situations, you’ve got two choices. You can splinter and fragment, or you can come together and fight like a 15-round heavyweight fight, and that’s exactly what we plan to do.”
Q: Your emotions personally right now?
Allen: “Like I said earlier, upset, frustrated, disappointed. Feel like we can do better. When you pour your heart out into something, you put all your heart and soul into something and you don’t get the results you’re looking for, it ain’t easy. It ain’t easy. It’s gut-wrenching, and I can assure you nobody feels any worse about the way things have gone than I do. But at the same time, nobody is looking for pity. This is professional football. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves, we’ve got to go to work and we’ve got to get it changed.”
Q: How do you keep your players focused and from mailing it in? How much of that is on you, on the players?
A: “Well, hey, listen, individually it’s on everybody individually. The term is corfing, which is to deflect yourself away from things when things begin to go badly. That’s the thing that you have to fight as much as anything else. We got to internalize it and determine, what can we do as individuals to make it better? And we all got to pull the rope in the same direction.”
Q: How do you balance making changes and staying the course?
A: “Well, I don’t think you change your overall philosophy, your overall values. But, yeah, there’s things within that that you can change. Personnel maybe, could be a situation where you might make some changes. Just the way you call the game, there might be some changes. But, your core values and what you believe in, of being tough, being smart, being disciplined; those things aren’t going to change.”
Q: Are you contemplating any personnel changes?
A: “Well, we’re going to look at everything. I don’t think you go through and say, ‘We’re 3-7 and everything is OK.’ We got to see what we can do to get better.”
Q: Are you going to look at the younger players more from here on out?
A: “That’s obviously a potential and we’ve done that some. Tony Bergstrom got a lot of playing time, or some playing time, the other day, mostly as a tight end. But he’s a guy we’re looking at. Christo Bilukidi got some playing time inside. Miles Burris has played a lot for us this year. Rod Streater and Juron Criner both have played for us this year. We’re going to look at young guys.”
Q: How are things looking on the injury fron moving forward?
A: “Hopefully we’ll get some of those guys back. Listen, everybody deals with injuries. It’s something that you can’t run from. It happens. You can’t use that as an excuse. If we can get our guys back and healthy that will be good for us.”
Q: You inherited a bad situation, do you have enough good players to win right now?
A: “I firmly believe that. When you look at it the other way around, that’s an excuse, that’s a crutch to say you can’t get it done. I don’t believe in that. I believe that we have professional football players and I believe we can win games in the National Football League. That’s what we get paid to do, that’s our job. I’m not going to use anything as a crutch to say that’s the reason why.”
Q: Is McFadden coming back this week?
A: “I’m hopeful. All those guys that didn’t practice last week, they’re all rehabbing extremely hard. We’ll see where they’re at.”