Inside Slant, Notes, Quotes, Matchups, Injuries

The statistic has not escaped Kerry Collins' attention. He has started 15 games for the Oakland Raiders. He has won three of them.

He also is aware that that 3-12 comes on the heels of his having gone 59-58 in three other uniforms. He knows that hard-boiled public scrutiny he went through last year is starting all over again.

"As much as anybody, I understand that I'm the quarterback," he said. "It's my job to do whatever it takes to win. Is it ever one guy's fault? No. But at the same time, I'm a leader of this team. I feel responsibility (for) the wins and losses.

"What's happened in the past is over with. There's not a thing I can do about that. But I can have a good practice today and I can go try and beat the Eagles. So I don't sit here and look back on things and say, `Oh God, I'm 3-12 here with the Raiders.'

"No, I'm going to go try to beat the Eagles on Sunday, keep looking forward and not harp on the past."

Statistically, Collins is performing well enough to rank sixth in the NFL's pass rating formula (93.8). But the fact remains, what was supposed to be a potent Raider offense has stumbled at the start of the season and scored just 37 points.

Asked if it was fair to blame Collins, or if his performance was what had been expected when he came to Oakland as a free agent, coach Norv Turner invoked the universality of football.

"I think everyone wants to say `Hey, I can do this better,' " he said. "They want to take their share of it. This is the ultimate team game and you've got to play good in all three phases. You've got to play at a high level.

"We know the story. We've rehashed it a million times. Obviously, once he got going in the second half of the year last year he played at a real high level. I think he's done a lot of good things in the last two games.

"They've been very, very competitive games. He's had chances to make plays. He's had plays where he's been under pressure. That's part of the deal when you're playing good teams."

Collins said there but for fortune goes a totally different perception of the Raider offense to date.

"I think if you look at the big picture of where the offense is right now, we had two touchdowns called back last week," Collins said. "You know, it's woulda-coulda-shoulda. There's a lot of ifs in everything.

"But if they don't get called back, then we're sitting here talking about, `Oh, there's the Raiders' offense in 2005.' So you kind of have to keep your perspective on it. And I don't feel we're far off from reaching our potential.

"We've got work to do ... just like every other offense does."

SERIES HISTORY: 9th meeting. The regular season series is tied 4-4 but the tie is broken when the Raiders' 27-10 victory in Super Bowl XV is included. The Raiders posted a 20-10 victory over the Eagles in their last meeting in Philadelphia in 2001. The Raiders beat down the Eagles with their ground game, registering 202 yards in 47 carries and holding the ball for more than 40 minutes. Oakland's defense limited the Eagles to only 195 yards of offense. The Raiders went on to play in the Super Bowl that year -- something they have done three of the eight times they have met the Eagles in regular season (1976, 1980, 2001).

NOTES, QUOTES

--QB Kerry Collins' gain turned out to be Vince Wilfork's loss. After reviewing film of the Raiders-Patriots game in Week 1, the NFL decided that the play in which Collins was hit while passing and Wilfork snatched out of mid-air was a fumble, not an interception.

Collins was hit by the Patriots' Jarvis Green, causing the confusion. The rationale by the official stats crew in Foxboro was that it was an interception since the ball never touched the ground.

The word "tuck rule" was not mentioned in the official league explanation.

It wipes out the only interception on Collins' record this year and raises his passer rating to 93.8 -- up from 79.8. The higher figure ranks sixth in the NFL's pass rating formula. The lower figure would have ranked him 14th.

--WR Doug Gabriel was not a happy camper a week ago. He insisted he was ready to play in spite of finger surgery a month earlier. The coaching staff didn't agree.

Before Wednesday's practice, Gabriel shrugged and said "it's not my decision," when asked if this might be the week he returned.

After practice, however, Turner confirmed Gabriel would be available.

"He was champing at the bit last week and we had a long discussion Friday," Turner said. "He was ready to go last week. It just wasn't the right timing for us.

"Certainly, we talked to him today. He's fine. This isn't the way he wanted to get back at it."

The season-ending injury to Ronald Curry makes Gabriel's presence critical.

--Here's where the Raiders' offense stands after two games:

On the opener in New England, Oakland drove 72 yards on the first six plays of the year to score a touchdown.

Since then, the Raiders have had the ball 24 times.

They have scored four touchdowns and one field goal. They have missed two field goals. They have punted 12 times. They have lost three fumbles. They have turned the ball over on downs once. They have run out the clock at the half once. The longest of the four touchdown drives covered only 49 yards.

--Raider DE Derrick Burgess has been a teammate of both Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. How are they alike?

"Work ethic," Burgess said. "They both come every day to play and work at getting better. When you're a star athlete like they are, you wouldn't expect that from them. But that's what gets them where they are.

"Moss, though, is a little more loose. He keeps the jokes going. T.O. is more serious."

--Owens caught two touchdowns among his five receptions against San Francisco. Raiders' LB Kirk Morrison said that would not be acceptable.

"We know that the ball is going to get to No. 81 at some time or another," Morrison said. "We know we have to limit the big plays. You can't just shut out a great receiver, but you have to limit the big play.

"He touched the ball five times last week and had two touchdowns. More catches, less touchdowns. That's the way we see it."

BY THE NUMBERS: 13 -- Straight road games the Raiders' defense has given up 20 points or more.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "(Special teams coach Joe) Avezzano thought of it. Maybe he had some bad Chinese food, it woke him up in the middle of the night and when he was sitting on the toilet, he had an epiphany." -- Raiders LG Langston Walker, when asked how he wound up on the kick block team on placements, a move that has seen him block five kicks in his last nine games. STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Raiders have been playing predominantly nickel or dime defense through their first two games with rookie Kirk Morrison playing LB alongside Danny Clark. The base 4-3 outside linebackers, Tyler Brayton and Grant Irons, have played very little during this period -- after playing most of the time in training camp in the team's 4-3.

Coach Norv Turner, however, will not cop to the fact that Morrison is now a starter and that the nickel/dime is the team's official defense. Morrison says, however, that the Raiders have been forced to adapt quickly to the change.

"Teams haven't been letting us play our base package," he said. "We've been playing teams with great receivers and great quarterbacks that like to spread the ball around. The last couple of weeks we've had a different package in to match what the offense is giving us."

Meanwhile, much of the Raiders' defensive alignment has been a riot of change. Last week, CB Charles Woodson defended Chiefs' TE Tony Gonzalez. For large chunks of the game, FS Stuart Schweigert was off the field along with Brayton and Irons with converted cornerback Renaldo Hill at free safety.

Turner won't say how his team will deploy defensively against Philadelphia, but Morrison hints broadly that something different is in store.

"I can't tell you what it is though," he said.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--RB LaMont Jordan has been busy in the first half, scarcely used as a rusher in the second half. He is 10 for 32 in the second halves of two games while going 23 for 97 in the first half.

--With FB John Paul Foschi possibly missing the game with a knee injury, the Raiders will go without a backup fullback.

--WR Ronald Curry (torn Achilles) has not yet been placed on injured reserve but coach Norv Turner confirmed he is out for the year.

--SS Derrick Gibson was used as more of a hybrid linebacker to take advantage of his physical style of play.

--TE Courtney Anderson, after catching two touchdown passes in the opener, did not have a pass thrown to him against Kansas City.

GAME PLAN: The Raiders full expect to be attacked through the air. They rank No. 27 in pass defense while the Eagles are the NFL's top passing team. That in all probability means the Raiders will open in their dime defense. Because Oakland is still struggling to overcome its 2004 failure to control the clock, they can be expected to work the Eagles' ground defense extensively by handing the ball to RB LaMont Jordan.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Although he had a rough outing against him last time, CB Charles Woodson will get a healthy dose of Eagles' wide receiver Terrell Owens. In their last meeting, Owens had nine catches for 141 yards off Woodson. RT Robert Gallery will get perhaps the biggest speed rush challenge of his young career when he faces off against Eagles' LDE Jevon Kearse. Former Eagles DE Derrick Burgess will be predominant up against former teammate RT Jon Runyan but will also get some matchups against LT Tra Thomas.

INJURY IMPACT: Only one Raider is out for this game, WR Ronald Curry (Achilles).

Reserve FB John Paul Foschi (knee) did not practice Wednesday and is listed as questionable.

CB Nnamdi Asomugha (foot) has not missed practice and has been given the green light to play but if he suffers a relapse, rookie Fabian Washington would take his place.

WR Doug Gabriel (finger) is expected to be active and in the lineup in three receiver formations, replacing Curry.

DE Tommy Kelly (knee) was listed as questionable but coach Norv Turner said he would definitely play and that it was unlikely Burgess would get the starting call over Kelly.

RB Justin Fargas (knee) practiced Wednesday but could be inactive on Sunday.


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