ALAMEDA -- The Raiders defense was just shredded by a 29-year-old rookie in Brandon Weeden for a career-high 364 yards through the air.So on a short week, how in all that is holy in Silver and Blackdom do the Raiders prepare for a rejuvenated Peyton Manning, who rides into town with his Denver Broncos for a primetime game Thursday?"Well, youre never really ready for Peyton Manning," admitted Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. "Its a matter of getting on the same page and having enough coverage looks to hopefully slow down his progression, and challenging guys in coverage. Thats what we need to do."Easier said than done, right?Especially since the Broncos, at 9-3, have already clinched the AFC West and Manning is the seeming front-runner to win both the league MVP and Comeback Player of the Year awards.Plus, Manning already smoked Oakland earlier this season, throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns without an interception on 30 of 38 passing in Denver's 37-6 blowout win on Sept. 30. Manning's passer rating that day was 130.0.But the Raiders were within 10-6 at halftime that day."In the first game, we had a lot of times where he threw into coverage and we need to make those plays," Tarver said. "We need to make those plays. And that was kind of the difference in the game was they made more plays than us on those type coverages. We have enough in our system to hopefully put guys in position to make plays and that ultimately is the job of the coaching staff -- put players in position to make plays."Another obstacle for the Raiders is that the Raiders lost three players in their secondary to concussions Sunday in safeties Matt Giordano and Mike Mitchell and cornerbackpunt returner Phillip Adams and the protocol for returning from a head injury can be lengthy.So how, again, do the Raiders stay focused against Manning?You just play for pride, said free safety-turned-cornerback Michael Huff. We dont want to go out there and get embarrassed Thursday night. Our family, friends, high school coaches, little league coaches, everybody will be watching us. If you dont want to not get embarrassed you shouldnt be playing this game. For me, playing for pride."
Ken Norton Jr.'s time with the Raiders is up.
With the team underperforming, Oakland has fired Norton as the defensive coordinator, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. John Pagano will handle the play calling duties when the Raiders take on the Broncos this Sunday.
Head coach Jack Del Rio issued the following statement regarding the news:
“After careful thought, I have made a difficult decision to part ways with Ken Norton, Jr. as defensive coordinator. I have the utmost respect for Ken as a person and as a coach, but I feel that moving John Pagano into the play-calling role will best utilize his wealth of experience. I appreciate Ken’s passion and commitment to the Raiders since coming aboard and wish him the best going forward.”
The Raiders defense under Norton this season ranks 26th in the NFL in yards allow per game (367.0), is allowing 24.7 points per game and has yet to record an interception through 10 games.
"We played under our talent level. Those things come with consequences," defensive lineman Justin Ellis told reporters shortly after the news broke.
"The axe fell on all of us. We love Coach Norton. We didn’t want to see this happen," safety Reggie Nelson said.
Norton joined Del Rio's staff prior to the 2015 season.
ALAMEDA – The Denver Broncos shook up their coaching staff prior to Sunday’s game with the Raiders, firing offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and promoting quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave to that spot.
The name should sound familiar to anyone who doesn’t suffer Dory-style short-term memory loss. Musgrave was the Raiders offensive coordinator in 2015 and 2016 and introduced a system still used in these parts, to far greater effect.
Musgrave orchestrated the No. 6-ranked offense last year, with 120 rushing yards and 253 passing yards per game. They were seventh with 26 points per game.
Head coach Jack Del Rio still decided to let Musgrave’s contract expire. The two didn’t always agree, and the Raiders chose to keep the coveted Downing in house with a promotion.
The offense has not maintained previous course.
All those numbers are down under new coordinator Todd Downing, largely operating with the same talent base plus receiving tight end Jared Cook.
They’re averaging 50 less yards and 5.5 fewer points, thus far.
Del Rio was asked on his 95.7-FM radio show whether he regretting making the switch. His answer was swift and direct.
“No, I do not,” Del Rio said. “And I wish (Musgrave) the best this week. Really, I do.”
Del Rio doesn’t wish him too well heading into an important matchup at Oakland Coliseum. The Broncos offense has struggled mightily this season, and will go with 2016 first-round pick Paton Lynch for the first time this season.
Del Rio insists the Raiders are going up against the system, not the new (yet familiar) play caller.
“You can’t change dramatically what you’ve done with your system in Week 12 or Week 13,” Del Rio said. “We’ll prepare ourselves and be ready to go against the system. Understand that there may be some things that Bill likes a little more than what Mike might do.”
The Raiders know Musgrave well and vice versa, which should make for an intriguing chess match at Oakland Coliseum.