Losing Ronald Curry Not a Major Blow

Losing Ronald Curry to a torn Achilles injury for the second straight year is a definite blow to the Raiders' offense but not as big as some might think. Jerry Porter is showing signs that he's nearly back to 100 percent health and Doug Gabriel, out since the third week of the preseason, is due back this week. Oh yeah, and they also have that guy Randy Moss.

Curry pulled up lame late in the fourth quarter of Oakland's 23-17 loss to Kansas City last Sunday. The talented wideout, who was the Raiders leading receiver a year ago before suffering a similar injury, was hurt while running a short pass pattern. No one came into contact with Curry when he suddenly felt something give in his left leg.

While team officials and coach Norv Turner held out hope for a best-case scenario, MRI tests on Monday revealed the tear in Curry's leg. No decision has been announced, but it's likely Curry will end up on injured reserve for the second consecutive year.

The loss of Curry was not good news for a team still searching for its first win of the season. But Curry had yet to full establish his role in the offense this year. His playing time was limited in the preseason and he played intermittently against both New England and Kansas City.

Gabriel, who had surgery for a dislocated finger on Aug. 24, could make the blow a little easier to handle for Oakland. Gabriel said last week that he felt he was ready to return but the Raiders kept him on the inactive list against the Chiefs.

If Gabriel gets clearance from Oakland's medical staff, the Raiders won't have to alter their offense much for Sunday's game at Philadelphia. Much of Turner's playbook calls on three-receiver formations, something that would be tough to do without Curry and Gabriel.

One or all of Oakland's other receivers -- Alvis Whitted, Johnnie Morant and Carlos Francis -- will have to step up as well.

Having that third receiver available is key to the Raiders offense. Both the Patriots and Chiefs spent much of their respective games double- and triple-teaming Moss. Kansas City kept Moss entirely out of Oakland's plans over the final 13:30 of the fourth quarter Sunday. Not a single pass went Moss' direction in that time, including four straight tries from the 14-yard line when the Raiders had a chance to tie the game.

''(Moss is) getting quite a bit of roll coverage,'' Turner said. ''Not necessarily pure double coverage but roll coverage. And then people are picking their spots with the blitz and then use a safer type of blitz mentality.

''I think one of the things for us right now is to continue to get a handle on how people are going to defend us because there are differences because of Randy's presence and you do get some things a little different.''

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