Training camp outlook: Quarterback

One story in a series, looking at position breakdowns for the Oakland Raiders, who arrive for training camp in Napa, CA. Today – a look at quarterbacks:

The seemingly inevitable move of Rich Gannon no longer being in an Oakland Raiders uniform has not yet taken place as a result a neck injury that caused him to land on injured reserve for the second straight season. Nonetheless, one can only assume that Gannon will not be a Raider in 2005. Whether Oakland releases him or he retires remains to be seen.

Oakland has tailored its offense around the skills of the deep-throwing Kerry Collins, who replaced the injured Gannon in Week 3. Collins showed some promise last season but needs to be more consistent, something he has not been in his 11-year career. Granted, he had to learn the offense on the fly but it's pretty clear that Oakland signed Collins as a free agent after the New York Giants released him with the idea of making him the starter in the 2005 campaign.

The acquisition of wide receiver Randy Moss, resigning of Jerry Porter and hopeful return to health of Ronald Curry could make the Raiders offense potent. There is, however, only one football and for all of Collins' attributes as a passer, he is turnover prone.

Marques Tuiasosopo returns for his fourth season as backup. The question is, will he be the No. 2 or No. 3 man? The Raiders drafted Tuiasosopo in the second round in 2001 but with the exception of a couple of mop-up appearances, he has played what amounts to one game. In 2003, Tuiasosopo played the second half of a game against Kansas City and the first half of a game against Detroit before suffering a season-ending knee injury.

Tuiasosopo, however, is in the last season of his contract and Oakland drafted Andrew Walter (Arizona State) in the third round of the 2005 draft. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the Raiders could trade Tuiasosopo. The 6-foot-6 Walter's strong-armed skills are a better fit for head coach Norv Turner's offense. Whereas Tuiasosopo's mobility was a better fit under the Jon Gruden/Bill Callahan regime.

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


SB Report Top Stories