Inside Slant

Coach Norv Turner flatly denied he is considering replacing Kerry Collins at quarterback with Marques Tuiasosopo for Sunday's key division game against Denver.

"Not at all," Turner said. "I've got a lot of confidence in Kerry and as I've said, you go through periods ... you go through streaks. We have a lot of things we need to get better at yet. The quarterback position is one of them."

Turner said he was counting on a return to the team's home at the Oakland Coliseum to fix what has ailed the Raiders the past two weeks during road losses in difficult venues.

Collins clearly needs a jump-start of some sort.

"One of Kerry's strengths through all of training camp and preseason was when he's had a guy open deep, he was 100 percent (accurate)," Turner said. "And that was starting with the first preseason game, every preseason game. I think every time he had someone open deep, he hit him.

"Well he didn't hit Doug (Gabriel) and that was a big play in that game ... when we had a chance to get a big touchdown the first series. We've all seen Kerry make that throw. And I would think, given the same situation in the first quarter against Denver, he's going to hit that throw."

Bottom line, Turner said, "We have to make the plays that are there. We just have to continue to try to find a way to fix the things that are keeping us from getting it done and then keep working to play a complete game offensively, defensively and on special teams."


--While the Raiders maintained their reputation as the most penalized team in football, the Colts went 53 minutes before being called for an infraction.

"Sometimes it's just like that," said Raider guard Frank Middleton, whose holding call erased a 56-yard touchdown run by Amos Zereoue.

"Guys are playing hard, but aren't playing smart," said wide receiver Jerry Rice, who did not catch a pass for the second time in four weeks. "We have to clean this ship up a bit."

"Being a Raider is tough anyway," safety Ray Buchanan said. "We don't get many calls our way."

--Buchanan was upset with a pair of penalties -- one for interference against Denard Walker, one against him for holding -- in the end zone on the same series.

"If they won't let us play, then let us play another game," Buchanan said. "Tough hits are part of football."

--Coach Norv Turner said RB Tyrone Wheatley (shoulder) will be listed as doubtful for the Denver game, but conceded that "it's going to be hard for him to" play.

--No sooner had RB Justin Fargas seemingly turned the corner on recovery from a painful turf toe than he came down with a severe leg bruise that could keep him out of practices again for the third straight week.

--LT Barry Sims held Colts DE Dwight Freeney without a tackle.

--DT Ted Washington had his first sack as a Raider and now has 32.5 in 188 NFL games. He had just five over the past four years, however.

--Rookie TE Courtney Anderson registered his first NFL touchdown catch against Indianapolis on a deep post pattern.



PASSING OFFENSE: D-plus -- Kerry Collins' three interceptions were killers but those aside, the Raiders did OK at what they were trying to do ... throw underneath the Colts' deep zone and hope to spring a lot of medium gains instead of one big one. They didn't hit any. Collins found Ronald Curry 10 times but the average completion was an insufficient 7.2 yards. Collins also overthrew Doug Gabriel badly when he was wide open for a touchdown eight minutes into the game. It could have changed things immensely.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- Amos Zereoue finished with 41 yards on 10 carries. If his 56-yard touchdown hadn't been called back he would have had 97 on 11 and the team average would have been nearly nine yards a carry. Coming from a 14-point deficit, Raider backs took handoffs just four times in the second half. Instead, they threw in hopes of getting a big run after the catch. The Colts linebackers didn't allow it.

PASS DEFENSE: C -- Ted Washington had the only sack, indicative of the passive pass rush. Having seen what Peyton Manning did to Green Bay when it blitzed regularly, the Raiders avoided it for the most part. Had the Raiders brought their safeties up to deal with Edgerrin James' ball control runs, they risked having Manning pick them apart. Clearly they didn't think it worth the gamble. Maybe they were right. Denard Walker and Phillip Buchanon struggled at times.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus -- Although James' 32 rushes weren't all back-breakers he made a lot of five-yarders hitting the perimeter and keeping away from the Raiders big men in the middle. A typical run would be three, then an extra two or three on individual effort. Their safeties deployed deep, the Raiders didn't have the manpower to stop it.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- With the exception of Shane Lechler's 55.5-yard punting average there wasn't much to like or to dislike -- other than penalties. Tim Johnson and Akbar Gbaja-Biamila made costly ones early in the game.

COACHING: C-minus -- If the strategies of throwing short and hoping someone can break a big one on offense and of keeping safeties deep determined not to let Manning kill them with passes was a the right strategy, then losing by 21 points was a whopping success.

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