Raiders problems go beyond Gannon

"I have no problem with my play. You can put it like that. If you want to make that an issue, go right ahead. I'm just telling you where I'm at with it. I know the facts and unfortunately no one in this little circle does. I've watched the film. I'm not defending my performance. I've done what I've been asked to do and I feel like I've put our team in a situation to give it a chance to win." -- Raiders QB Rich Gannon

 

The lasting impression from the Oakland Raiders 31-10 loss to the Denver Broncos was quarterback Rich Gannon lambasting the coaching staff on the sidelines.

            The loss dropped the defending AFC champions to 1-2 entering Sunday's home game against San Diego. The Raiders have gone 1-3 in their last four meaningful games, including their 48-21 loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII. They have played poorly in all four games.

            Gannon, while far from the sole reason for the team's performance, has looked like only a shadow of the player who garnered NFL MVP honors last season. Including that contest, Gannon has completed 75-of-139 passes for 788 yards, four touchdowns and five interceptions.

            Gannon's performance has prompted some media members to muse that backup Marques Tuiasosopo should replace him. Tuiasosopo, who is in his third season, replaced Gannon late in Monday's game. Oakland head coach Bill Callahan was asked about the possibility at Tuesday's press conference and said there would not be a change. Gannon, however, was miffed that someone would even discuss the matter.

            "Coach was asked about it yesterday?" asked Gannon, who spoke with reporters Wednesday. "Some Jake reporter (wrote it). … What do you want me to do? Do you want me to sit here and answer questions about our quarterback situation? Then, let's not talk about it. I'm out playing my a-- off."

            The feeling here is that Gannon should be given every opportunity to rebound and show that he can display the form he has shown since becoming a Raider in 1999.

He has simply meant too much to the team's success to warrant benching him after three games. If Gannon continues to struggle and the team falls out of contention, then playing Tuiasosopo makes more sense. In addition, the Raiders problems only include Gannon. They are not limited to him.

As poorly as the Raiders have performed, the season is not a lost cause. Oakland has an opportunity to turn its season around with San Diego (home), Chicago (road) and Cleveland (road) forthcoming on the schedule. Those teams have combined for a 1-8 record.

            "I have no problem with my play," Gannon said. "You can put it like that. If you want to make that an issue, go right ahead. I'm just telling you where I'm at with it. I know the facts and unfortunately no one in this little circle does. I've watched the film. I'm not defending my performance. I've done what I've been asked to do and I feel like I've put our team in a situation to give it a chance to win."

            Benching Gannon is not the answer but if he continues to struggle, perhaps the leash might get shorter.

 Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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