Part of the Bay Area News Group

Raiders prepare for Broncos without coach Allen

By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 3rd, 2012 at 2:39 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Raiders head coach Dennis Allen made it to the Dallas area soon after his team’s loss against the Browns so that he can spend time with his ailing father.
Allen is expected to rejoin the Raiders on Wednesday night, in time for their game against the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.
Allen’s absence left offensive coordinator Greg Knapp in charge of running practice Tuesday and Wednesday. Knapp said it will be business as usual, given the Raiders got a jump on game-planning for the Broncos last week.
On Monday, Knapp and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver fielded questions for 12 minutes each, talking about the play of their respective units Sunday and looking forward to the the final four games.
Knapp said he doesn’t foresee any issues keeping his players motivated, even though the Raiders are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
“It’s a challenge,” Knapp said, “but, fortunately, from what I’ve seen, and it happened on that last drive that happened yesterday, guys at this level want to compete and they always want to do their best. As long as they know we’re pulling for them and trying to find every way to help get them to that level of consistency of performance, it doesn’t matter if it’s the first game or the last game, whether we’re in the playoffs or not, the true competitor comes out and they want to perform at a high level at all times.”
The Raiders allowed 475 yards against a 3-8 Browns team that featured a rookie quarterback, rookie running back and several young receivers.
Even so, Tarver said, the Raiders played hard on defense. Now, it’s a matter of getting the players to take proper angles and execute their assignments on a more consistent basis.
“Defensively, we played with passion,” Tarver said. “(That) doesn’t mean we were correct all the time, but the guys were flying around on defense. The guys were flying around on defense but, as with anything, you have to execute the calls as well.”
Things don’t get any easier with the high-flying Broncos coming to town. They are in the midst or a seven-game winning streak, whereas the Raiders have lost the past five games.
Also, the Broncos beat the Raiders 37-6 in the teams’ first meeting this season.
“Well, you’re never really ready for Peyton Manning,” Tarver said. “It’s a matter of getting on the same page and having enough coverage looks to, hopefully, slow down his progression and challenging guys in coverage. That’s what we need to do.”
Cornerback Michael Huff said he and his teammates are playing for pride now. The last thing they want is to get “embarrassed” on national TV, at home, against a hated Broncos team.
“Division rival, national prime-time game,” Huff said, “if you can’t get up for this one, something’s wrong. We’re looking forward to it and getting ready for a big game. … We’ve got to find a way. We’ve got to step up and make plays, leaders, like myself and Tyvon (Branch), we just got to find a way to rise up and make plays.”

– Allen said he expects running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson to play against the Broncos. Both backs missed the past four games with high-ankle sprains.
Knapp said he and Allen have their hands full when it comes time to which backs will be active Thursday night. The decision is complicated by how well Marcel Reece and Jeremy Stewart played during McFadden’s and Goodson’s absence.
“You can’t keep all halfbacks up in a game, typically,” Knapp said. “But if they’re involved on special teams and with all the different injuries we have, they may be involved more. We’ll know more come Wednesday/Thursday if we can use ‘em.”
This makes it possible that second-year back Taiwan Jones won’t be active for the Broncos game. If he is active, he certainly will spend all of his time on special teams — he didn’t touch the ball once Sunday.
Right offensive tackle Khalif Barnes returned to action during the absence of McFadden and Goodson. His return, combined with the maturation of center Stefen Wisniewski, gives Knapp reason to believe that McFadden will be more productive than he was the first eight games, when he averaged only 3.3 yards rushing.
“Seeing Wisniewski’s improvement and getting the experience from when he didn’t get that experience during the spring and during training camp because of the injury, and getting Khalif Barnes back, Darren can reap the benefit of those two guys,” Knapp said.
Goodson said he’s ready to roll.
“I’m going to try to get back Thursday,” Goodson said. “I feel good. I’m ready to run.”

– Knapp said there was a specific package of plays for second-year quarterback Terrelle Pryor on Sunday. However, the right situation never presented itself during the game.

– Knapp has been a lightning rod for criticism this season from fans and media. He hears none of it, reads none of it and just keeps plodding along.
“I’ve been at different places where the criticism does come,” Knapp said. “It’s part of the job. Because we keep our focus on a week-to-week basis, you really have to keep your focus on the next game at hand. So, despite what has been said out there, I wouldn’t even know. I really do focus on, How do we find a way to beat the next team and how do we get our guys involved to have success? So, it really is something that’s a variable, like we tell our players, I don’t control. So, I don’t worry about it.”
Tarver hasn’t received anywhere near as much heat from fans and media, even though the Raiders defense hasn’t played well the past five games, in particular.
He called this a “unique” season, with all that has transpired but without going into specifics.
“The most frustrated time I’ve had personally this year was the last drive (Sunday),” Tarver said. “I was frustrated. It was a mix. We took our turns. We took our turns doing things.”
On that drive, the Browns marched 94 yards for what turned out to be a game-clinching touchdown drive.
“This is a pretty unique season, both on and off the field, I’ll say that,” Tarver said. “It’s been… there’s a bunch of adversity. The true character of a man and a coach and whoever is, 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.”

– Tarver said he won’t contact Allen today out of respect for what Allen is going through with his father.
He said he and Allen “have discussions” throughout the week about the defensive game plan and throughout the game about the play-calling.
“When I took the job with Dennis, it was because of who Dennis Allen is,” Tarver said. “He’s special as a person and a coach. He’s outstanding. We have discussions throughout the week and on game day about everything we do.”

– Rookie linebacker Miles Burris is having a solid season, by most accounts. However, he has struggled more of late than he did early in the season, when he played well enough to supplant third-year player Rolando McClain in the nickel package.
“Miles is going through the ups and downs that a rookie linebacker does,” Tarver said.
Burris missed a few tackles against the Browns. But, overall, he made two tackles for loss and played every snap.
“There’s times in space where he’s thinking too much,” Tarver said. “We actually talked about it after the game. But, overall we’re pleased with where he’s gone.”
Burris has started all 12 games and played every snap the past eight games. Right now is about the time his body is accustomed to getting a break, given college teams are done playing until bowl games at this time of year.
“His rookie year, it’s in that middle where your legs get tired, you’ve played more games than you’ve ever played,” Tarver said. “After Thanksgiving, rookies get in that little slump. You tell them it’s coming, and they go through it. It’s their body clock. They haven’t played football that long straight through. And it happens to a lot of guys their first year in the NFL. But overall we’re definitely pleased with where Miles has gone.”

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  • John David Booty

    Guest123 Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:10 am
    What’s telling to me is the Tarver comment that “you can’t really be ready for Peyton Manning”.

    Like hell you can’t! What the heck they pay you for? Admitting you aren’t good enough to coach at this level? I applaud the candor, but waving the white flag like that does nothing for morale.

    Can this bum Tarver already!
    ———————————————-
    Very put off by that comment. Is this really the message and mentality that you want to relay to your team? F#ck Peyton Manning. Go after him, take his head off, disrupt his rhythm. Do or say whatever, anything except conceding to Manning before the game even starts. Now I see why DA hired this clown. Cut from the same cloth.

  • GreatWhiteRaider

    Is it just me, or is there something more sinister going on with DA and the players?

    Even as recent as last week, I was convinced he’d be back as HC next year (and I’m OK with that) but now…

    - getting completely over matched in games and losing
    (first year, cap space issues or not…that just can’t happen at a professional level, it just can’t)
    - the Rolando situation
    - leaving the team and not telling the players
    - The “Hair” Apparent’s rants and subsequent Chucky rumours…..not so sure all of a sudden?

    Something’s wrong/not quite right here.

    He was a rookie HC hired by a rookie GM who was hired by a rookie owner. Not the optimal situation.

    If he had kept the offense in tact by utilising Al Saunders as the OC, he’d have my complete support and I think he’d be subject to a lot less scrutiny? IMO. But at this point, it’s useless to debate that anymore.

    *for whatever it’s worth at this time, I honestly think that if we had a competent offense this year, those early Denver and Miami games might have turned out different and the season might have evolved in a different way? who knows?

    If he’s retained and gets a fresh start next year with a “new” roster..that’s OK with me. But if he’s whacked, best of luck DA, no venom on my end, just the wrong situation for you. I’m sure he’ll do OK somewhere else.

  • Macho Man Randy Savage

    Romo as team pharmacist, LBs coach, and team psychologist…

    nice!

  • DJ Johnny

    899.Raider-in-PA Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:17 am
    Hire Knapp as team jock strap washer…

    ..and when players complain that their balls are falling off becuz of his shoddy jock strap washing Knapp can say “Hey..let’s try and have some perspective here for a minute”.

  • hwnrdr

    Sya what you want about DA! I mean, it is rightfully deserved considering the product we all seen this year…but there comes a time when everyone deserves a little resect. Today is his.

  • hwnrdr

    Romo as a team pharmicist? LOL

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    Good morning Mr. Prez.
    I’m done with this season. I’m focused on the draft. We have a lot of needs, so I doubt we can fix them all in one offseason.

  • guest123

    hwnrdr Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:22 am
    Sya what you want about DA! I mean, it is rightfully deserved considering the product we all seen this year…but there comes a time when everyone deserves a little resect. Today is his.

    ^^^^^^^^

    Yep. thoughts and prayers to Dennis Allen and his family. RIP DA’s dad. Not saying we shouldn’t take him off the coaching hotseat. But for today, this week we should back off and show some support and respect#

  • inonewordraider

    da’s a gamble because he’s never been a head coach before. seems like he’s making the right moves but can he inspire/motivate?

    you bring a guy like Shaw, Kelly, Saban, or Mora these guys get the most out of their talent and have been head coaches so given time you’re confident they’ll right the ship

    a guy like fangio is a gamble but he’s coached under Harbaugh so you hope he can bring some of that to the table

    grudens a risk because he’s been out of the game so long you wonder if his ideas and coaching staff will be outdated, but you love that he’ll have something to prove with and understanding and love of the Raider culture as well as instant respect from players

  • John David Booty

    I think that DA should just take the rest of the year off. Deal with family issues. Get his mind and spirit right. I wish him the best in this life. But the Oakland Raiders certainly need to start focusing on their next HC.

  • The_Judge37

    hwnrdr Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:22 am
    Sya what you want about DA! I mean, it is rightfully deserved considering the product we all seen this year…but there comes a time when everyone deserves a little resect. Today is his.
    ——–

    Which is why i’m choosing to focus my hate on Tarver and Knapp for today. A loss to the Donkeys tomorrow means it’s on for everyone again. No Mercy

  • DMAC

    Family does trump everything, and I do send my prayers to DA and his family, but I’ve been grieving since week 1 too.

  • hwnrdr

    Hey DMAC, are you there on Thursday?

  • theghostronin79

    ..and when players complain that their balls are falling off becuz of his shoddy jock strap washing Knapp can say “Hey..let’s try and have some perspective here for a minute”.

    ==========

    The itching and feeling that your balls are in an Inferno will pass. It just takes patience…Everybody calm down…

    LMAO

  • GreatWhiteRaider

    I send out my best wishes to DA and his family as they cope with a situation like this. Very sad.

    I almost wouldn’t be surprised if he resigned with the way things were going and now this kick to the gut?

  • The_Judge37

    I don’t believe watching film with idiots like Knapp and Tarver will be helpful in anyway. This team needs a movie night. Take them to watch Rocky or The Replacements or something.

  • Dakota

    DJ Johnny Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:22 am
    899.Raider-in-PA Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:17 am
    Hire Knapp as team jock strap washer…

    ..and when players complain that their balls are falling off becuz of his shoddy jock strap washing Knapp can say “Hey..let’s try and have some perspective here for a minute”.

    ______

    Look at the progress we are showing guys! It took 2 days for your balz to fall off this time….thats better than 1 day!

  • Charlie

    If you listen carefully to what Tarver said he also refers to PLAYER ACQUISITION as one of the things that will be done in the offseason.

    The coaches have been as professional and cordial as possible in answering the media regarding what we all know.
    Our on field talent is way below NFL average at most positions.

    As I said coaching stability is what is needed-not instability.

    Mr Davis would never acknowledge that he had regressed in his talent acquisition capability.
    The coaching churn for the last decade and THE RESULTS speak for themselves.
    NO TALENT NO WINS.
    That is why Reggie had to blow up the entire scouting department and buy computers.
    It is also why this is a 3-5 year project.
    It is also why you could never get an experienced HC to take the job last year. EVERYONE KNEW HOW BAD IT WAS.
    AT LEAST WE ARE UNDERWAY WITH A REAL REBUILDING JOB.

  • The_Judge37

    theghostronin79 Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:29 am
    ..and when players complain that their balls are falling off becuz of his shoddy jock strap washing Knapp can say “Hey..let’s try and have some perspective here for a minute”.

    ==========

    The itching and feeling that your balls are in an Inferno will pass. It just takes patience…Everybody calm down…

    LMAO
    ——

    Fans: They just need better washing machines in Oakland

  • Macho Man Randy Savage

    A loss to the Donkeys is a garantee… The Tarver kid thinks this has been a really unique season on and off the field. I have no idea what he means by that, it seems like a good ol season to me, no coaching firings at mid season, no jaw breaking of other coaches, no fighting between HC and owner…

    Tarver is a high school coach.

  • The Big Banana

    The_Judge37 Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:29 am
    I don’t believe watching film with idiots like Knapp and Tarver will be helpful in anyway. This team needs a movie night. Take them to watch Rocky or The Replacements or something.

    —–

    Lol!

  • The_Judge37

    Macho Man Randy Savage Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:31 am
    A loss to the Donkeys is a garantee… The Tarver kid thinks this has been a really unique season on and off the field. I have no idea what he means by that, it seems like a good ol season to me, no coaching firings at mid season, no jaw breaking of other coaches, no fighting between HC and owner…

    Tarver is a high school coach.
    ——–

    Flag football Coach is more like it the way he has guys tackling

  • DJ Johnny

    I have no doubt Mark and Reggie are second guessing the decision to fire Hue and bring in DA.

    Despite what alot of guys say they did not plan on it going down this way. Guys were saying this was all part of the plan and 3-9 expected… seeing as it’s the 1st yr. of a massive rebuild, but hearing Mark’s comments suggest otherwise.

    Unless Mark is pretending to be upset…. if this was supposed to be a rebuild yr. than either Reggie forgot to tell Mark or he bullcrapped him., and the thing is these guys talk every other day.

    Whatever they were thinking this season would be…it wasn’t THIS.

    With Mark’s tenuous situation with the stadium issue etc. this is a bad time to be having blackouts at home and be widely considered to be the worst team in football.

  • inonewordraider

    Macho Man Randy Savage Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:31 am
    A loss to the Donkeys is a garantee… The Tarver kid thinks this has been a really unique season on and off the field. I have no idea what he means by that, it seems like a good ol season to me, no coaching firings at mid season, no jaw breaking of other coaches, no fighting between HC and owner…

    Tarver is a high school coach.
    __________
    yea no schit what’s so unique the mcclain situation what else? he’s lucky he isn’t coaching the eagles, or the jets

  • javier

    Dream team coaching staff!

    HC: Gruden
    OC: Norv (hell of a offensive mind, sucks as a HC)
    DC: Rex Ryan (might be reaching though)

  • Dakota

    Grady Allen…former NFL player….only 66 years old….that is too young to die in this day and age.

    RIP

  • bcz24

    At this point there is nothing about this team that is defensable. I would be upset if NO ONE is retained from the owner to the part time receptionist at the ticket office. I don’t care. I am so sick of the blame finger pointed to this or that. Listen. The players suck. All 53 of em. There is nothing they do on the field that can dispute that. The coaches all suck. Nothing they are doing is defensable. I can’t say if Reggie sucks or not because the guy started with half the chips, and he was dealt have a sh1tty hand. No one could have succeeded in his shoes. Don’t care if he stays or goes.

  • inonewordraider

    if gruden comes back to coach the the staff could include

    HC Gruden
    OC Hue

  • GreatWhiteRaider

    Say what you want about these coaches (and hey, their actions have lead to a lot of scrutiny on themselves, so no sympathy). But, think about this:

    - for the years the Raiders have been unsuccessful/underachieving with all these supposed “talented” guys. I get nauseated listening to the annual prognosticators saying the ol’; “if the Raiders can put it all together/they’re the most talented team in the League” and then they always finsihed 5-11, 8-8. I’m sick of it.
    - this culture of being apologists for the players and having stooge-lackey coaches take the blame has lead nowhere and has to stop.
    - as much as DA and his staff have underwhelmed, changing the players and the staff this off-season isn’t going to tell us anything or get us closer to solving the problem. One of them has to stay constant so we can move forward.
    - I don’t know if they deserve it, but maybe siding with them and getting rid of the nonachiever players will get this turned around?

  • javier

    Our condolences from the Raider Nation!

    Now lets beat those Donks this week!

  • The Big Banana

    Unless Mark is pretending to be upset…. if this was supposed to be a rebuild yr. than either Reggie forgot to tell Mark or he bullcrapped him., and the thing is these guys talk every other day.

    ——-

    Great point. Someone yesterday was making the argument that ‘of course Reggie said we can compete. What else is he going to say?’ I agree with you that Mark’s reaction indicates otherwise and he would not be responding in this way if Reggie had talked him down off his expectations.

    Know-it-alls in here said they knew this was coming and no other outcome was possible this year. Reggie and Mark apparently were not informed.

  • inonewordraider

    “snap his neck, snap his neck”

  • DMAC

    hwnrdr Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Hey DMAC, are you there on Thursday?
    =========

    I think so
    Ill know fasho 2morrow

  • Dakota

    javier Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:39 am
    Our condolences from the Raider Nation!

    Now lets beat those Donks this week!
    +++++

    Go Broncos! Draft position and new coaching assistants next year!

  • DMAC

    Can we some how find a way to motivate the players and pull off a a moral victory?

    I fk’n hate the Donkies!

  • guest123

    927.

    poor guy dealt a chitty hand…no one could have succeeded in his shoes….

    Is this Reggie you talking about or 0bama?

  • hwnrdr

    DMAC, even if you don’t find tix which I think you will, just come on by…there’s gonna be a crap load of us!

  • javier

    DMAC Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:41 am
    Can we some how find a way to motivate the players and pull off a a moral victory?

    I fk’n hate the Donkies!

    ********************

    NO! We’re trading down anyway. Draft 1 or 5, I dont care right now.

    YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!!!! GO Raiders!!!

  • GreatWhiteRaider

    I don’t think firing Hue was the big mistake. For the record I was in favour of keeping Hue for the sake of continuity.

    But a new GM has every right to hire his own people and I don’t have a problem with that.

    It wrong in two areas: a)Hue could have been whacked but the offense maintaining continuity via Al Saunders
    b) replacing Hue with an unknown commodity like DA. If Reggie had brought in someone he directly knew and was familiar with from Green Bay or a “name” coach, completely understandable.

    But when he fires Hue (where at least you know what he’s all about) and bring in someone who’s never done it before….you’re taking a big and unecessary risk and unfortuantely, it hasn’t worked out (so far).

    Reggie and DA both deserve some slack because they are rookies, but man oh man, some of their decisions are just head scratchers and that’s made both their lives a lot harder than they needed to be.

  • Macho Man Randy Savage

    Cmon, the team is not loosing games its getting dyck slapped all over the field. this is embarrassing on a bed & breakfast level… “the D played with passion” wtf are you talking about? you are giving up 40 points per game!!!!

  • The Big Banana

    DMAC Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:40 am
    hwnrdr Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Hey DMAC, are you there on Thursday?
    =========

    I think so
    Ill know fasho 2morrow

    ——-

    How much are you looking to pay?

  • DMAC

    hwnrdr Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:43 am

    DMAC, even if you don’t find tix which I think you will, just come on by…there’s gonna be a crap load of us!
    ==========

    With that being said…..

    I’ll be there
    I’ll just make sure to be high as a whistle, before entering the coliseum.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    we don’t need wins. We need high draft picks!
    Go Peyton!!!

  • guest123

    Last thing I want to hear before a grudge match with the hated Donkeys in a throwaway season where they are the AFC West champs is any kind of admission of weakness or undue respect for the great Peyton Manning. I don’t care if we get torched again. But come out and say a few things like a plan to knock Peyton down hard and get in his face. Even if the plan fails, don’t just give up and admit you can’t stop him.

    Like the great Tony Montana once said, “all I have in this world is my balls”….

    I wish Tarver would group up from this high school chit and grow a pair.

  • hwnrdr

    O, we already have a high draft pick…

  • DJ Johnny

    I don’t expect a coach to say “hey let’s face it, we suck”, but don’t tell me what we’re seeing on the field is anything close to resembling acceptable..like Tarver did.

    “Hey..3-9 is actually not that bad in a tough league like this”.

  • Macho Man Randy Savage

    Like the great Tony Montana once said, “all I have in this world is my balls”….

    +++++++++++++++
    LOL, awesome

  • CJ Legend 34

    You are right Charlie! I have been saying this for years now. You just can’t keep changing coaches and personnel each year or two and think you are going to have success. It is just not going to happen in the NFL. When it does the coach before the new coach or personnel in place, usually had some longevity.

    I’m not surprised by this year one bit. I thought we could at least beat the Browns, but not to surprised at this point.

    ——————————————
    918.Charlie Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:30 am
    If you listen carefully to what Tarver said he also refers to PLAYER ACQUISITION as one of the things that will be done in the offseason.

    The coaches have been as professional and cordial as possible in answering the media regarding what we all know.
    Our on field talent is way below NFL average at most positions.

    As I said coaching stability is what is needed-not instability.

    Mr Davis would never acknowledge that he had regressed in his talent acquisition capability.
    The coaching churn for the last decade and THE RESULTS speak for themselves.
    NO TALENT NO WINS.
    That is why Reggie had to blow up the entire scouting department and buy computers.
    It is also why this is a 3-5 year project.
    It is also why you could never get an experienced HC to take the job last year. EVERYONE KNEW HOW BAD IT WAS.
    AT LEAST WE ARE UNDERWAY WITH A REAL REBUILDING JOB.

  • Dakota

    Macho Man Randy Savage Says:
    December 4th, 2012 at 9:45 am
    Cmon, the team is not loosing games its getting dyck slapped all over the field. this is embarrassing on a bed & breakfast level… “the D played with passion” wtf are you talking about? you are giving up 40 points per game!!!!
    +++++++++++++++

    That’s the problem….this coaching staff has failed to field even a mildly competitive team….and that is hard to do in this era of parity.

  • RAIDERMAN99

    I don’t rule out Gruden returning.

    If it does happen, Davis is probably going to have to ‘break the bank’ to do it.

    Piece of the team or something like that.

    You’d probably want Gruden on the sidelines acting as HC.

    Reggie might stay on. But he’d be more or less a figurehead, with Gruden holding all the real power.

    It’s far fetched, but it could happen.

    Tell you guys something else, while the rest of the sports world mocks the idea of a ‘dictator’ like Al having a hand in, and the final word on, every aspect of operations – I actually like that set-up and think it can work with the right guy in charge.

    When Al was younger and firing on all cylinders it worked beautifully.

    I prefer the ‘dictator’ set up, and having a team with identity, rather than being just another boring corporate entity.