Inside slant

His young receiver who for two weeks had been the shining star on Sunday was leaning on crutches with a torn left Achilles and Norv Turner was trying to lend him some encouragement.

"I was telling him about the guys I know that have had the Achilles torn and have come back and how I've had a doctor tell me they're actually stronger after the surgery," Turner said.

Curry, who seems wise beyond his 25 years, nodded solemnly.

"Yeah, I know ... I tore my right one my sophomore year in college," Curry replied.

Curry says the other Achilles was a more severe tear but that now, it is "better than ever. Hopefully this one will bounce back like the other one did."

"If he can cut with the left one the way he can with the right one, he's going to be fine," Turner said.

Perhaps Curry should have been consoling Turner, whose big fly passing game was just starting when its leading receiver got crunched.

His team started the year with 11 receivers -- seven wideouts and four tight ends. Now that number is down to six healthy bodies, but only three are wide receivers.

Jerry Rice was traded, Carlos Francis was lost for the year with a torn ACL, Johnnie Morant and Alvis Whitted are injured and tight end Courtney Anderson is sidelined after knee surgery.

There are no guarantees Morant (foot), Whitted (hip flexor/torn quad) and Anderson (knee) will be able to return when the team travels to Atlanta Sunday.


--WR Johnnie Morant (foot) increased his running regimen from 10 to 15 to 20 minutes on Monday. How the foot responds will determine if he is able to rejoin practice for the first time in two weeks.

--Although there has been no such club update on WR Alvis Whitted's injury, it turns out it was more than just a hip flexor. He also had a high tear in the left quadriceps which has slowed him down. He began to practice again after more than a month off last week and is hopeful he will be able to play at Atlanta.

--Although Roland Williams, the team's best blocking tight end, said his sore knee is now fit to allow him to play "30 to 40 plays a game," against Kansas City he was on the field for only three plays as the team only called seven running plays all day.

--Coach Norv Turner said blitzing CB Nnamdi Asomugha made the wrong choice when he jumped and missed Kansas City QB Trent Green when he should have stayed low and gone for the sack.

--K Sebastian Janikowski was not given a chance to kick a 54-yard field goal to break a 27-27 tie with 4:08 to play because of wind conditions and the knowledge that a miss would give the Chiefs good field position at their 44.

--The Raiders' last four games have all come down to the closing two minutes of play showing that even if the Raiders are 4-8, they seem to have achieved a measure of competitiveness. "Certainly we've had a chance to win each game and could have lost each game," Turner said of the 2-2 outcome. "A couple of them came down to the very last play and, really, that's what I look for over the next month. We've got a bunch of guys that have had the opportunity to experience those situations and we're going to continue to be in those situations. I think our young players are going to gain a lot by being in those situations -- learning how to handle them."



PASSING OFFENSE: A -- No problem here. Kerry Collins achieved his highest passer rating of the season (116.2) with his second consecutive 300-yard passing game. Ronald Curry, before departing with a torn Achilles, had nine catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Protection was better than average and has allowed only seven sacks in the last five games.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- Problem here. The Raiders rushed 10 times for 30 yards and three of those carries were by the quarterback. That meant the Raiders only called seven running plays and, as Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil noted, "They don't even try." Considering the backs did average 4.1 yards, that would seem to hold a lot of truth.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- Problem here, too. A third straight game without a sack means the Raiders have gone more than 200 defensive plays without one. A total breakdown on the 70-yard deep ball touchdown throw to Eddie Kennison and his eight catches for 149 yards were unforgivable. Kennison's totals hide the fact that most of Trent Green's success came on misdirection screens (backs averaged more than 15 yards on such plays). It's an F it wasn't for Charles Woodson's fine job on TE Tony Gonzalez (three catches for 32 yards).

RUSH DEFENSE: C minus -- For a quarter, the Raiders did a pretty fair job on Derrick Blaylock. Then they had to go and injure him. That brought on Larry Johnson, who looked like the second coming of Eric Dickerson with 20 carries for 118 yards. He was the sixth back to go over the century mark on Oakland this year.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C plus -- Other than their day long chases of Dante Hall up the sidelines on kickoffs, special teams was not a major factor one way or the other.

COACHING: D -- Twice now Norv Turner has elected to punt and trust his defense to hold late in a game with the ball on the other side of the 50. Twice he has been let down. He says it boils down to a matter of trust. In the future it should boil down to the eyeball test. Other than a few spurts, Oakland hasn't been stopping anybody. There was little success adjusting on defense to the Chiefs' second half adjustments that got them going. And speaking of faith, clearly the Raiders have none in their running game. Turner himself said back in training camp that the threat of the run can be more important than the runs themselves. Woodson on Gonzalez worked but how do you let Eddie Kennison beat you? Answer: you better not.

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