Answers await new head coach

Will Kerry Collins be back? Are Marques Tuiasosopo and Andrew Walter viable backups? Should the offense run through LaMont Jordan instead of the vertical attack? The Raiders have lots of questions behind the line and won't know the answers until a new coach is in place.

QUARTERBACK: Starter - Kerry Collins. Backups - Marques Tuiasosopo, Andrew Walter.

Collins, due a $2.5 million signing bonus in March and with a 2006 salary-cap figure of nearly $12.9 million, will stay only if he renegotiates his contract. And that assumes he will be asked. Much will depend on the new coach and whot the Raiders may believe is available on the open market. Unless the Raiders can improve their rushing attack dramatically, asking Collins to carry the load is asking for trouble.

Tuiasosopo is in the last year of the contract he signed as a rookie in 2001 and a bargain at $477,000. But he may want out after being given only one game in place of Collins as the starting quarterback. He was benched after two lost fumbles and two interceptions in a loss to the New York Jets. Tuiasosopo remains an unknown commodity.

Walter underwent surgery for a groin injury following the season. He has the size and throwing arm owner Al Davis loves, but there is little to indicate he'd be ready to challenge for a starting role in 2006.

RUNNING BACKS: Starters - RB LaMont Jordan, FB Zack Crockett. Backups - RB Justin Fargas, FB John Paul Foschi, FB Omar Easy.

Jordan rushed for 1,025 yards in 14 games but averaged 3.8 yards per carry. The bruising back would like to see the rock on every play but this was his first season carrying a full load. He needs a legitimate back to spell him, much as he did for Curtis Martin with the New York Jets. Among his 70 pass receptions were a league-high 12 drops.

Former coach Norv Turner never did figure out how to best use Crockett, an excellent short-yardage back who remains a valuable player with the right supporting cast and is an excellent locker room influence.

Fargas virtually disappeared onto special teams even as Oakland was looking for another runner. Fargas is an Al Davis favorite who hasn't impressed the coaches.

Foschi, a converted tight end, showed promise as a block-and-catch fullback but was prone to injury.

Easy is strictly a special teams player and is an unrestricted free agent.


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