Behind Enemy Lines: Raiders Q&As

Raiders WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and coach Dennis Allen spoke to the Baltimore media. Here's what they had to say.

Head Coach Dennis Allen

On the status of RBs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson for Sunday's game: "The great thing for me is that I don't have to make that decision right now. I am going to let the week play out and see where they are at at the end of the week. Obviously, we are taking off on Friday afternoon, so I'll know by then whether they're going to be able to play or not."

On if the team has corrected the troubles the run defense had Sunday vs. Tampa Bay: "We'll find that out on Sunday. We got a chance to look at the tape. We got a chance to talk about what we need to do and how we need to get things corrected. We have to tackle better. We've got another huge challenge this week, because we have another outstanding back in Ray Rice. He's been in this league for a long time. We've got our work cut out for us, not only against Ray Rice, but against the whole Baltimore team."

On if there are any factors in cross-country traveling and playing a game that starts at 10:00 a.m. on the West Coast: "There has been a lot made of that. I don't really put a whole lot of credence in that. The NFL sets the schedule, and we have to go play whenever they tell us to go play. It's our job as a team to be ready to play whenever they ask us to."

On how LB Rolando McClain is coming around on and off the field: "He is doing some better things. Obviously, he is playing really in our base package. We have limited his reps a little bit to try to keep him a little bit fresher. I believe since we've done that, he's been a pretty productive player for us. Off the field, we have absolutely no issues with Rolando McClain at all."

On what he has seen from the Ravens' pass defense: "I think they still have some talented players. Anytime you have Ed Reed sitting back there in the middle of the field, it makes you a little bit nervous as far as passing the ball. They've taken the ball away, and that's part of the key. When I look at their defense, I look at the fact that they're good at taking the ball away, and they're good in the red zone, and that's really where you have to be good at. You have to be able to be good in the red zone. They've limited a lot of teams to field goals and not touchdowns."

On QB Carson Palmer's familiarity with the Ravens: "Obviously, it helps a little bit that he has a familiarity with not only the scheme but the personnel. We've used some of that experience, as we do every week with Carson as far as game-planning is concerned. I think it's a plus that he has experience against this defense."

On the Ravens' defense without LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb: "I think anytime you lose a player like Ray Lewis it affects your football team. Not only was he an outstanding player, but an exceptional leader for that football team. I think his presence is missed, but I'm watching them still step in there, and I thought they did a better job of stopping the run last week against Cleveland. It looked like their linebackers are in there flying around. [Dannell] Ellerbe made some plays last week. Obviously, with [Haloti] Ngata playing up front, they are still a big, physical front, and they are fully capable of stopping the run. There's no question about that."

On what he's seen from CBs Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith: "I think they're still good players. I think they battle, I think they fight, and I think they get up on people and challenge."

On how he would assess the development of WR Darrius Heyward-Bey: "I think he's improved every year. I got a chance to watch him from the other side last year, and having to go up and defend against him, and I continue to see improvement out of him as a wide receiver and as a leader on the team. So, that's been good to see."

On what the next step is in Heyward-Bey's progression: "I think he's on the progression, and I think his deal is just keep getting better every day and keep getting better every week, and then next thing you know you've gotten better for the whole year. So, I think that's really what the progression is, and not worry about the end results, just worry about the process of getting better every day."

On what has enabled WR Denarius Moore to have success this season: "Well, he's a talented player. I think he understands how to run routes, he understands how to get open, he can catch the football, and I think if he can stay healthy, then he's going to continue to grow as a wide receiver."

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey

On how it feels coming back to Baltimore: "Yes, it will be my first time coming back. It's exciting for all my friends and family back home, but for me, it's just another football game that we are trying to win as a team."

On what he sees from the Ravens' pass defense: "I see a team that is just competing. They have some players over there. You still have Ed Reed back there making some plays. They have [Terrell] Suggs back, so we are going to have our hands full, but we just have to make sure that we execute our plays and make the big plays that we're capable of making."

On what he sees from the Ravens' CBs in particular: "I know Jimmy Smith. He is a big guy. When he is in that press, he definitely has some tools that he uses, so we will have to be prepared for that. On the other side, this guy [Cary Williams] has four picks. He knows route concepts, and he's going to try to pick the ball off."

On reserving tickets for family and friends for this game: "Yes, I took care of those things early. I don't like to have a lot of distractions. I took care of that stuff early. I have about 40 people coming. My mom takes care of all of that stuff for me."

On if he was scared after his concussion: "I really don't remember getting hit. During the week that I missed, being concussed and still being a little bit out of it, I didn't think about it much. All of my focus was to get back on the field for my teammates and my coaches. They are out here fighting. I want to be out there with them. I really didn't think about it much – just wanted to play football."

On what the doctor's opinion of the concussion was: "It was totally up to how I felt. It was nothing like a major neck injury or anything like that. It was pretty much, ‘Hey, how do you feel today? Do you have a headache today? Yes or no?' For me, I stopped having headaches by that next Friday. I missed the game, and I was ready to go the following week. That bye week that we had definitely helped."

On what he heard from family and friends after the concussion: "Of course. I had about 300 text messages and voicemails and stuff like that. My family and friends definitely were worried about me, but the fans in the Bay Area were definitely big. They just wanted to make sure I was OK."

On his development in other areas besides his speed: "For me, I just try to work on my game each and every day, come to work with three things that I want to work on for practice and after practice – just try to get better. [I] work on my route-running, work on my hands, just knowing the game of football better."

On if he felt like he had to dispel that he was only a "burner" and that he could run routes: "The way that I looked at it is a lot of people didn't watch a lot of Maryland football when I played, so I don't think a lot of people knew really what I could do. They just saw the 40 speed. I didn't really think about that. I don't try to prove anybody wrong. I just try to prove to myself that I'm a good player."

On how much contact he still has with Ravens WR Torrey Smith: "I talk to him often. This offseason I trained with him a little bit; it's always fun seeing him. And the whole deal with what happened to his brother – I sent him a text. You know, we send texts off and on during the season."

On how he has seen Smith develop in his game: "He's ballin'. He gets in the end zone, that's one thing he can do. He has explosive plays, big-play capability. I mean, he had that at Maryland. That's why when I was a junior and he was a redshirt freshman, he started on the other side of me, because he could make plays."

On how close he and Smith were in college: "Our wide receiver group was pretty close. We went to dinner sometimes and stuff, but Torrey was just a little bit younger than me, so I had the older guys that I was with there for years hanging with them. But for the most part, me and Torrey, we're pretty cool."


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