The Oakland Raiders have had their share of distractions this season but do not expect wide receiver Tim Brown to be phased as the Raiders visit the Detroit Lions Sunday because he has seen plenty in his 16-year career.
Since Super Bowl weekend last January here are the highlights: center Barret Robbins going AWOL, Al Davis and the lawsuits, the Bill Romanowski-Marcus Williams incident, Rich Gannon's struggles and tirade at two coaches and Charles Woodson openly criticizing head coach Bill Callahan.
"Those Art Shell/Marcus Allen years were special," Brown said. "I don't think much can surprise."
In his 16 years as a Raider, Brown has seen his share of episodes such as the Marcus Allen/Art Shell/Al Davis feud. Marques Tuiasosopo starting in place of the injured Gannon should not be a distraction to Brown, who has played with Steve Beuerlein, Vince Evans, Gannon, Jeff George, Bill Joe Hobert, Jeff Hostetler, Rusty Hilger, Todd Marinovich, Jay Schroeder, Marc Wilson and Wade Wilson on at least a semi-regular basis.
Now, it's Tuiasosopo with the 2-5 Raiders needing anything to revitalize them.
"We hope anything can rejuvenate us at this point," Brown said. "It depends on how he plays. If he plays bad, it doesn't matter if we're open. We think the kid has poise and I think he's going to be OK. … As long as you're not telling him where to throw the ball, you're cool. My plans are to be the one is calming his nerves. You just want him to keep encouraging him."
Teyo Johnson's chance
Tuiasosopo is not the only "younger" player on the Raiders that will get a chance to contribute in Sunday's game.
Tight end Teyo Johnson, whom Oakland drafted in the second round from Stanford, will start at tight end over second-year man Doug Jolley. The Raiders drafted Jolley in the second round last season from BYU.
Jolley emerged as a viable threat in the offense last season and has 27 catches for 185 yards in 2003. Johnson, however, has shown more ability as a blocker than Jolley. Despite the lineup change, it does not mean that Jolley will not see the light of day.
"He's a young tight end that has emerged in training camp and throughout the early part of then year," Raiders head coach Bill Callahan said. "He continues to show great promise. For the betterment of the team, I made that decision but that doesn't decrease the significance of Doug Jolley's role. He's going to still be a big contributor in our offense. It's just how we're going to feature Teyo."
The matchup between the Raiders and Lions at Ford Field Sunday falls into the "what gives" category on a few fronts.
For one, the Raiders are 2-5 and the Lions are 1-6. Oakland is rated No. 24 in the NFL for total offense while Detroit is No. 26 in total defense. The Raiders have been equally inept throwing the ball (No. 18) and running No. 26). Detroit has been no better in stopping the pass (No. 24) and the run (No. 22).
Switching to the matchup of the Lions offense against Oakland's defense. Detroit is No. 30 in total offense while the Raiders defense is rated No. 29. The Lions have moved the ball with little success via the run (No. 29) and the pass (No. 25). Oakland has been at least mediocre against the pass (No. 16). Then again, why pass against the Raiders if the are dead last in stopping the run?
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org