Raiders prepare for Broncos without head coach
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Being mired in a five-game losing streak with a short week to get ready for Peyton Manning and the first-place Denver Broncos is tough enough.
The Oakland Raiders have to do it without their head coach.
Dennis Allen left the team after Sunday's 20-17 loss to Cleveland to be with his father, who has a serious medical issue. Allen is expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday night and be on the field Thursday when the Raiders (3-9) host the Broncos (9-3).
But until then, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp will oversee the team and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver will map out the defense.
"This is a pretty unique season, both on and off the field, I'll say that," Tarver said Monday. "There's a bunch of adversity and the true character of a man and a coach and whoever is to, no matter what the circumstances, be a pro and handle your business. But I've been a part of a lot of different situations, both in this league and in coaching, but there's some unique things that have happened this year."
Allen is with his family in the Dallas area helping to care for his 66-year-old father, Grady, a former NFL linebacker with the Atlanta Falcons. Knapp said he texted Allen on Monday morning to pass on good wishes and planned to talk to the head coach as the team prepared for the Broncos.
Oakland did not practice on Monday and will have two brief practices before the game Thursday. With the short week, the position coaches had begun some of the scouting of the Broncos last week to allow the coordinators to put together the game plan on Sunday night and Monday.
Allen, a former defensive coordinator in Denver, is typically heavily involved in the defensive game plan, while giving more general tips about philosophy for Knapp to use on offense.
"Today we went right into a normal Tuesday routine for coaches," Knapp said. "We started game planning this morning for Denver, and then our practice schedule for the next two days will obviously be a little bit shorter because our guys need to still recover from this game and get ready for the next game. From a game-plan standpoint, you condense maybe three days of practice into two. From a coaching standpoint, you've done a lot of work ahead of time, so you can make it happen a little bit sooner during the week."