Hot Topic and Player Notes

Although there is no definitive word on whether Randy Moss will be available to the Raiders against Buffalo Sunday, the Raiders will prepare to go on without him and be pleasantly surprised if he is ready to play.

Moss' flair for the spectacular hasn't changed the fact the Raiders haven't always seemed to know how to best utilize his talents, and that a temporary absence could prove beneficial to the operation of the offense as a whole.

In the Raiders' 27-14 loss to San Diego, quarterback Kerry Collins threw his first pass of the game to Moss and it was dropped by Chargers safety Clinton Hart, with Moss not even looking back for the ball.

Collins' second attempt to Moss was forced to the deep middle under a heavy pass rush and intercepted by Bhawoh Jue. His third pass to Moss was into deep double coverage and resulted in Moss' injury.

Having some time without Moss in the lineup will force the Raiders to rely on their running game and get LaMont Jordan on track as a workhorse running back.

Collins, freed of taking his obligation of looking for Moss, will instead operate the offense by concentrating on receivers in a more logical progression.


--QB Kerry Collins had his worst game of the season against San Diego. His streak of pass attempts without an interception ended at 150. He finished with one interception, but the Chargers dropped at least three others.

--QB Marques Tuiasosopo has not taken a snap and likely will not play unless Collins is hurt. Coach Norv Turner has remained adamant about using only one quarterback.

--RB LaMont Jordan rushed for 36 yards on 12 carries as the Raiders fell behind 14-0 early against the Chargers. Ranked 32nd in rushing last season at 80.9 yards per game, the Raiders are 31st at 70.6 yards per game.

--RB Zack Crockett had one carry for 3 yards. The team's short-yardage back in the past, he has given way to Jordan, with Crockett taking on role as lead blocker.

--WR Jerry Porter had five receptions for 63 yards against San Diego. He is the most likely candidate to become dependable third-down receiver the Raiders desperately need.

--WR Doug Gabriel had five receptions for 84 yards against San Diego and playing time should increase. He plays almost exclusively on outside, while other receivers get opportunities in the slot.

--WR Alvis Whitted had four receptions for 34 yards against San Diego and can play both in slot and split wide, but is primarily a complementary receiver and second or third option.

--TE Courtney Anderson had two receptions for 14 yards against San Diego and is only viable receiving threat as tight end. Opportunities are limited because of Oakland's penchant for maximum protection with the immobile Collins at quarterback.

--PK Sebastian Janikowski had his lightest workload of the season with no field goal attempts against San Diego. He had four field goals before bye week against Dallas.

--DE Derrick Burgess had two sacks on pure speed rushes against San Diego, giving him five for the year. That's one more than team leader Tommy Kelly had last season.

--LB Kirk Morrison, a rookie third-round draft choice, has led the Raiders in tackles all season and has been a bright spot on a team which has had trouble in recent years drafting defensive talent.

--SS Derrick Gibson, normally a liability in coverage, performed well in instances in which he was matched with Chargers' Antonio Gates. He does his best work in 4-2-5 "big nickel" alignment near the line of scrimmage as a hybrid linebacker/safety.

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