ALAMEDA -- It's still early in the week, but based on who the Raiders had at practice Wednesday, they could be facing prolific New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees with a depleted secondary.

Missing from practice as warm-ups and drills came to a close were free safety Matt Giordano (concussion) and strong safety Tyvon Branch (neck).

Also absent were running back Darren McFadden (ankle), running back Mike Goodson (ankle) and defensive tackle Richard Seymour (hamstring).

Tight end Brandon Myers was on the field, although chances are he won't be doing much after his second concussion of the season.

Brees leads the NFL with 2,847 yards passing with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He'll be operating against an Oakland secondary which had trouble defending the middle in a 55-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, with Joe Flacco completing 21 of 30 passes for 341 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

With both starting safeties out, the Raiders could move cornerback Michael Huff back to free safety, which would necessitate putting either Joselio Hanson, Brandian Ross, Coye Francies or Phillip Adams into the starting lineup opposite Ron Bartell.

Ross and Francies are predominantly special teams players. The Raiders cut Pat Lee, a starting cornerback for seven games in Bartell's absence, to make room for Bartell, with Allen citing the special teams work of the other cornerbacks.


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Lee is not an option to be brought back, having been claimed on waivers by the Detroit Lions.

The Raiders put cornerback Shawntae Spencer on injured reserve Saturday with an injured foot, ending his season.

Mike Mitchell, primarily a strong safety, is available to replace Branch if necessary. Branch has not missed a game in his Raiders career.

Regardless, the Raiders-Saints game figures to test both secondaries.

New Orleans, 4-5, has given up 2,902 yards passing. Only Tampa Bay has given up more. Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is third in passing yardage behind Brees and Atlanta's Matt Ryan, with 2,723 yards.

Linebacker Omar Gaither, signed to the 53-man roster after Travis Goethel (torn ACL) was placed on injured reserve, was on the field and wearing No. 53.

For more on the Raiders, visit the Inside the Oakland Raiders blog at ibabuzz.com/oaklandraiders. Follow Jerry McDonald on twitter at Twitter.com/Jerrymcd.