No chosen back yet

If Oakland Raiders first-year head coach Norv Turner is going to settle on an every down running back, don't expect it to happen after Saturday's exhibition opener against the San Francisco 49ers.

Turner, who is a strong advocate of the running game, prefers to have one running back that he can hand the ball to, say 20 times per game. Tyrone Wheatley is likely the favorite to be the No. 1 ball-carrier for the Oakland Raiders with Justin Fargas, Amos Zereoue and Troy Hambrick also competing.

Turner said he hopes to get all four backs about 5-6 carries. None of those backs has every played a season in which he averaged 20 carries per game. Wheatley and Hambrick could handle 15 on a given day but doing so game-after-game remains a question.

"I think it picks up real big in this (game) because as I told the guys, ‘When you catch a ball and a guy is there and gets his hands on you, it doesn't guarantee that the tackle is made," Turner said. "They've shown the vision and skills and now it's the ability to make that extra yard."

Grant expected to play a lot

DeLawrence Grant must have needed a map to find his way back on the Raiders roster but the defensive end turned linebacker is expected to play a lot of snaps. Grant started and played pretty well on the Raiders AFC championship team in 2002 but virtually fell off the map in the second half of last season.

"DeLawrence grant is going to play more than some of the other guys," Turner said. "He's playing a new position. It's an individual deal."

Similar plan for defense

One day after saying he would base time on the field more on plays than time on the clock for the offense, Turner added that the defensive plan would be fairly similar.

"Each game it becomes more difficult because in that third game we are going to play our starters an extensive amount," Turner said. "If you're a young guy and you're going to play in the second half, make an impression. I've never been in a situation where a guy goes out and plays real good and then gets less playing time. I've been in situations where a guy doesn't play very good and we've got to move on."


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