Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press Dennis Allen, who is with his ill father in Texas, plans to be back in time to coach against Denver on Thursday, the Raiders said.

Raiders cope minus coach Dennis Allen

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 - 7:59 am

ALAMEDA – The Raiders put their latest loss behind them Monday and began preparing for the Denver Broncos while coach Dennis Allen tended to a family situation in Texas.

After Sunday's 20-17 loss to Cleveland, Allen left for the Dallas-Fort Worth area to be with his father, Grady Allen, who has a serious undisclosed illness.

A Raiders spokesman said Allen plans to be back in time to coach against the Broncos on Thursday night at Coliseum.

With Allen out of town, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver addressed reporters as the Raiders (3-9) began a condensed three days of practice before taking on a Denver team (9-3) that already has clinched its second straight AFC West title.

With some assistant coaches having already done some film cut-ups and scouting reports on Denver last week, the staff essentially will be on autopilot until Allen returns Wednesday night.

Players began viewing Broncos film Monday, with shorter-than-usual practices scheduled for today and Wednesday to allow physical recuperation before Thursday.

Knapp said his responsibilities won't deviate much from his normal duties as offensive coordinator.

"As far as the management of practice itself, the only additional change is I'll have to say, 'Blow the horn,' and then we'll go on to the next period," Knapp said. "Otherwise, we're going to be working as we normally would in practice."

Knapp and Tarver said they expect to speak with Allen on game-related issues during his absence but will wait until he calls them.

Players weren't told of Allen's situation until the game ended and were hoping for the best. Grady Allen, 66, played five years as a linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons and attended Texas A&M, as his son did.

"That's sad, man," offensive tackle Khalif Barnes said. "I wish him all the best and hope his father can fight through what he's going through. Our prayers are with him. I understand he's coming back Wednesday night to be with us. I wish him safe travels."

Cornerback Michael Huff said: "Things will be different because obviously we'll be caring about his situation, just wondering what's going on. But we know we have a game to get ready for. We'll be worried about him, but I think we'll still walk on the field and focus."

Having given up 364 passing yards to Cleveland rookie Brandon Weeden, the Raiders face the seemingly impossible task of containing Peyton Manning, who is three-quarters of the way through a season in which he could be the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year and MVP.

In the teams' Sept. 30 meeting, a 37-6 Denver victory, Manning was 30 of 38 for 338 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

"(We've) just got to find a way," Huff said. "Obviously, it's tough, especially in a short week. (Manning) is (like) their offensive coordinator, so they'll know what they're doing. … We've got to step up and make plays, find a way to rise up and make plays."

Addressing the eight pass plays of 20 or more yards by Weeden, Tarver said: "They've happened in zone. Man, they've happened in every call known to man."

Oakland's secondary remains in flux. Safety Matt Giordano, cornerback Phillip Adams and cornerback Mike Mitchell are in the early stages of the NFL concussion protocol, with a limited time to pass their tests before the team can determine their availability for Thursday.

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