This week got off to a sad start for the Oakland Raiders as head coach Dennis Allen's father Grady, 66, passed away today. Allen left the team to be with his father after Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns. Allen is still expected to coach the team as the take on the AFC West champion Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
“When I took the job with Dennis, it was because of who Dennis Allen is,” Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. “He’s special as a person and a coach. He’s outstanding. We have discussion throughout the week and on game day about everything that we do.”
Last time the Raiders faced the Broncos in week four, quarterback Peyton Manning shredded the Oakland secondary to the tune of 338 yards and three touchdowns. Now Oakland must find a way to slow down Manning and the Denver 7th ranked passing attack at 283.7 yards per game with only three days to scheme.
“You’re never really ready for Peyton Manning so it’s a matter of getting on the same page and having enough coverage looks to hopefully slow down his progressions and challenging guys in coverage,” Tarver said. “That’s what we need to do.”
Oakland is dealing with various injuries in the secondary, which could make it even more difficult to defend Manning and the Denver offense. Cornerback Shawntae Spencer is already out for the season and Phillip Adams suffered a concussion in the Cleveland game. Free safety Matt Giordano also suffered a head injury against the Browns. Ron Bartell, the Raiders other starting cornerback who missed the first Denver game, was taken out of the Browns game because of poor performance. All these factors could spell disaster for the Raiders.
Whoever the Raiders decide to parade out in the secondary will have a tough challenge against wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Thomas has 69 catches for 1,114 yards and eight touchdowns whereas Decker has 52 receptions for 702 yards and eight touchdowns. The Denver running game will be without Willis McGahee, but Knowshon Moreno has filled in well in his absence. The only way the Raiders will stand a chance is take away the running game and pressure Manning. The defense has unable to sack Manning in their first meeting and only have 14 sacks the entire season. Last week against the Browns the Raiders' tackling was abysmal. They will need to correct that area when they take on Denver.
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