The issue is not related to Treu's ability to play the position but do the Raiders want to sacrifice his longsnapping skills? Treu started 16 games in the 2001 season after starter Barret Robbins sustained a season-ending knee injury while Aaron Graham handled the longsnapping chores. Those duties are a "no news is good news" proposition. If the job is perfectly executed, nothing is said but if the snap goes awry, everyone notices.
Treu, Robbins and Matt Stinchcomb are all competing for the starting job at center. Robbins, a Pro Bowl selection, is trying to come back from his much-discussed Super Bowl Eve incident and arthroscopic knee surgery.
"Adam has always stepped up to the plate," Raiders head coach Bill Callahan said. "That one year where we lost Barret, he played 16 games through the playoffs. He did an incredible job. It's amazing that we were able to function when Barret did go down."
Treu started the Super Bowl and filled in capably. The problem with Treu starting is not ability-related but finding a potential replacement for his longsnapping. Tight ends Doug Jolley, a starter, and David Newman, a free agent backup, are two candidates.
"It's a legitimate question because you look at how hard it is to find longsnappers and develop them is truly a task," Callahan said. "You find a longsnapper of Adam's quality, you certainly don't want to move him around and have him play four quarters of a game. When he has to make that critical snap that fatigue factor sets in and all of the sudden the rhythm he has as a longsnapper changes a little bit because the hands get beat up."
Stinchcomb has been working more frequently in recent practices with the first-unit. Stinchcomb was originally drafted in the first round as a tackle in 1999 but started at guard in place of an injured Mo Collins for six games.
"I think they're both competing hard. I continue to say that we know what Adam Treu is," Callahan said. "We know what he's done. We respect that and appreciate it but here's Matt Stinchcomb. He's an intelligent guy. He's got great quickness at the point of attack. He has the ability to communicate all the calls. It's a difficult thing to do for a guy moving in from left tackle all the way to the primary point position. If anybody can do it, Stinchcomb can."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org