Hot Topic and Player Notes: Raiders

As much as they don't like to admit they are rebuilding or conceding, the Raiders are officially playing for next season after Sunday's 33-21 loss to the Miami Dolphins at McAfee Coliseum. The Raiders (4-7) are 0-4 in the AFC West and 2-6 in the AFC, well behind Denver (9-2), Kansas City (7-4) and San Diego (7-4). Oakland plays at San Diego on Sunday night.

With the latest loss ending with some sideline arguments between defensive linemen Tommy Kelly and Ted Washington, plus the inability to incorporate the sometimes volatile Randy Moss (three receptions, 40 yards) into the offense, it remains to be seen whether the Raiders can hold things together and actually build toward 2006.

Coach Norv Turner, who needs his team to play with professional pride if he is to coach a third season in Oakland, is expecting the Raiders to carry on even without a chance at the postseason.

"No. 1, this is professional football," Turner said. "We have professional athletes -- guys that have performed a long time at a high level and expect that of themselves -- and also a lot of young guys who are playing for the first time and learning to play a full season."

Neither Washington nor Kelly speaks to the media, so they weren't available to discuss to their exchange of words on the sideline. Moss, who interceded between the two, hasn't spoken to local reporters since a season-opening loss at New England. If quarterback Kerry Collins knew anything about it, he wasn't telling.

"Guys are out there competing, and things sometimes get heated," Collins said. "I like to keep those kinds of things inside. Those are team matters, and I think we'll keep it that way." Turner disputed an assertion that Oakland's problem was disinterest, and he believes the Raiders will show progress in the final games of the season.

"I don't think the performance was due to a lack of effort," Turner said. "In some cases, it may be a lack of understanding or belief that this guy, or this team was as capable as we said they were. We just didn't perform as well as we were capable."


The Dolphins sacked quarterback Kerry Collins seven times, intercepted him twice and recovered one of his fumbles in a 33-21 win over Oakland at the Coliseum.

Collins had never been sacked more than four times in his previous 20 starts as Raiders quarterback, but was sacked four times in the first half against the Dolphins.

Miami struck for three touchdowns outside of the red zone -- a 44-yard pass from Gus Frerotte to Bryan Gilmore, a 25-yard pass from Frerotte to tight end Randy McMichael, and a 34-yard run by Ricky Williams for a 30-21 lead with 3:50 to play.


--DE Derrick Burgess had his fifth two-sack game of the season against Miami. He has 11 sacks this year, the most for the Raiders since DT Rod Coleman had 11 in 2002. The Raiders last defensive end to get 11 sacks was Lance Johnstone in 1998.

--P Shane Lechler had the worst game of Raiders career with five first-half punts averaging 29.8 yards despite having plenty of room to kick. Lechler's first five punts covered distances of 34, 33, 23, 33 and 25 yards. He had a 56-yard punt in the second half to increase his streak of 32 games with a punt of 50-plus yards.

--FS Stuart Schweigert intercepted a Gus Frerotte pass at the goal line and returned it 33 yards in the first quarter. It was the first interception by the Raiders in 197 passes, with Charles Woodson getting the last one against Dallas in Week 4 on a Hail Mary pass in the end zone.

--DE Tommy Kelly played much of the Miami game inside at tackle and probably will continue to do so the remainder of the season after Warren Sapp was placed on injured reserve with a torn rotator cuff.

--G Brad Badger drew four penalties with two false starts and two holding penalties. He could be in line to lose his position to starting center Jake Grove, with Adam Treu taking over at center.

--FS Reggie Tongue, signed Oct. 2 after Derrick Gibson was placed on injured reserve, suffered a torn ACL against Miami and is out for the season.

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