Jacoby Ford

Raiders' long-snap nightmare brings Allen remorse

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Thursday, Sep. 13, 2012 - 5:52 pm

ALAMEDA – Your long snapper goes down. Your emergency plan is shaky at best, rolling snaps at worst. And the resulting gaffes in your punting game, normally as reliable as the sun rising, lead to three field goals for the opponent that loom large in a 22-14 loss.

Of all the scenarios playing out in Dennis Allen's head leading up to his first game as an NFL head coach, he said Tuesday, that one didn't take top billing.

"I didn't lay asleep at night dreaming about that, that's for sure," Allen said.

After Jon Condo left Monday night's game against San Diego with a concussion, linebacker Travis Goethel delivered two snaps that punter Shane Lechler had to scoop up before trying to run. Lechler also had a punt blocked after he appeared to move up following the first bounced snap.

Goethel later said he last snapped in a game in high school and had taken few reps before the start of practices.

"That falls on me," Allen said. "I've got to do a better job of making sure we're prepared for all those different situations.

"We practiced Travis snapping the ball, but we could have probably done a better job of putting him in more live-type situations and giving him the opportunity to do it, kind of representing what he would do in a regular game."

Condo will have to be medically cleared before he can return to practice, and Allen said the Raiders will look at the possibility of bringing in another long snapper if Condo is not available for Sunday's game at Miami.

"We've obviously got some plans in place in case he's not ready to play," Allen said.

The snapping issues were a "turning point," Allen said, in a game in which the Raiders trailed by just four points at halftime. Also problematic was the disappearance of the running game. The Raiders were held to minus-three yards rushing on eight carries in the second half.

Allen attributed that partly to the Raiders being in "catch-up mode" late in the game.

"We still need to be more effective running the ball," he said.

Running back Darren McFadden gained 32 yards on 15 carries but also caught 13 passes and was targeted on five incompletions. McFadden was on the field for 70 of the Raiders' 74 offensive snaps, and of the 69 plays the offense ran, the ball went to McFadden on 33 of them.

With keeping McFadden healthy being a paramount concern this year, Allen acknowledged the need to find a balance with how the Raiders use their most explosive playmaker.

"We're going to have to use the other backs a little bit more and keep Darren a little more fresh," Allen said. "He played a lot of snaps in the game – we felt like that gave us the best chance to win last night, and we'll continue to evaluate that situation as we go throughout the season."

Mike Goodson carried twice for 13 yards, and Taiwan Jones' only touch on offense came when he allowed Marcel Reece's pitch to hit off his face mask on an ill-fated reverse. Jones also bobbled a kickoff, and Allen said those miscues played into how little Jones was used.

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