Curry back on the rise

The Oakland Raiders have found another weapon but will they use him? The offense has been stagnant for much of the year and spreading the ball around hasn't exactly been mastered just yet.

Ronald Curry could be forgiven for casting an admiring glance at the opposing offense when Raiders visit San Francisco on Sunday.

It was under then-Raiders head coach Norv Turner in 2004 that Curry blossomed as a slot receiver, catching 50 passes for 679 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games before being lost for the season with a torn left Achilles tendon.

Turner was so impressed with Curry at training camp he hastened the departure of the Raiders' all-time leading receiver, Tim Brown, informing him he might be inactive in selected games.

Curry tore his Achilles tendon a second time last season and is gradually getting more playing time this year. He is again becoming a third-down threat in Oakland's anemic offense, with four of his six receptions and 65 of his 79 yards on third down.

But while Turner often employed three-receiver sets, current offensive coordinator Tom Walsh is more fond of formations with two wide receivers and two tight ends. That has often left Curry on the sidelines, watching Alvis Whitted start alongside Randy Moss while Jerry Porter continues to be inactive because of a dispute with coach Art Shell.

"We hang our hat more on an athletic tight end such as Randal (Williams) and Courtney (Anderson)," Curry said. "With Norv there was more (three-receiver sets). It was automatic on third down, and on some other downs as well. Now, you just don't know."

Curry hopes if he can continue to produce with limited opportunities, the Raiders may rethink which formations they use in a given game.

"I guess the more I show them I'm back and capable of doing the things I did before, maybe they'll put me in games a little more," Curry said.

Shell respects Curry's desire, but he is thinking of the long term as well as the short term.

"Ronald is getting better each week. We've still got to monitor him, make sure he doesn't do too much, because he hasn't done a whole lot of work in the last couple of years, so his muscles are going to be a little more strained than some of the other guys'. So we've got to be careful. He's coming along, and I like what we're doing with him."

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