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Raiders : Will the Coliseum Crowd Yell for or at Wilson?

September 18, 1986|MARK HEISLER | Times Staff Writer

You were waiting for the Raiders' quarterback competition?

The one in camp may have been a little brief. For the real thing, tune in Sunday when the Raiders play the New York Giants and when the Silver and Black incumbent meets the Raider Faithful.

It's the home opener, which is good news for 44 Raiders but not Marc Wilson, who is treated in the Coliseum in much the same way Custer was treated in Sioux territory.

It's an old matchup, but both sides have geared up.

Wilson is a year older and tougher. His season, thus far, consists of one fine game and one ordinary one. He seems to enjoy, at least for the moment, his teammates' support.

"I think Marc Wilson is a good quarterback," Mike Haynes said Wednesday. "I just want him to prove it to everybody. I really feel better about it this time than last year."

The fans, on the other hand, have proven unforgiving. During the exhibition season, when Wilson played well, they occasionally booed him on intentional throwaways.

Are they satisfied with that? Not on your war footing. Now they're mobilizing, too. Monday a fan called to announce he was starting a movement to force Wilson's trade. The fan said he intended to make a video presentation--this is Los Angeles, after all--and wanted to interview members of the media.

"I have enough to concern myself with," Wilson said. "I'm not going to concern myself with that."

Does any of this ever change? Once again, Wilson is coming in hurt. The Washington Redskins started blitzing early last Sunday and didn't quit until Wilson had a bruised left hand and a sore right shoulder, both of which necessitated X-rays.

"I've got him listed as 'probable,' " Tom Flores said. "His shoulder is much better than yesterday. I don't know how much throwing he'll be able to do today (Wednesday) but by tomorrow we'll have a better sense of how much he'll be able to work. It's still a little sore, but compared to Sunday night when we were on the plane, it's much better."

Wilson says his shoulder is, "of some concern."

And how was the flight home--average pain or beyond that?

"I think this one was above average," he said.

This is called understatement. A Raider official says the beating Wilson took in Washington was among the worst beatings in his career--"worse than Chicago," a reference to the 1984 loss to the Bears at Soldier Field in which two Raider quarterbacks were knocked out of the game.

Wilson didn't practice Wednesday. He did a little light tossing, but it was very light indeed.

Also of concern is what happens when other National Football League teams watch the Redskin film and start loading up their own blitzes. The growing collection of former coaches doing TV commentary are saying that Wilson is immobile and easy prey. Flores doesn't think Wilson is so immobile.

On the other hand, the Raider system doesn't enhance mobility.

"Some quarterbacks, they drop back and if they see any hint, they'll take off right now," Flores said. "Where we ask our quarterbacks not to do that, to stay in the pocket and look for the shorter man. There is a difference in philosophy there."

Said Wilson: "Our system is designed for the guy to stay in the pocket. And our philosophy is, we're going to block 'em and we're going to get the ball up the field.

"Most of the times you see me run, it's going to be when I right away sense we're not going to pick 'em up and I can see some place to go.

"But if I drop back to pass and I can sense we're blocking them and they don't have a guy free, I'm going to stand in there until the cows come home. Because No. 1, I'm tall and can see, and No. 2, that's the way I play football. My strengths are in the pocket. My strengths are not running around like Fran Tarkenton. And I'm not afraid to stand in there. That's what I'm going to do."

Raider Notes Tom Flores suggests that Charley Hannah won't return to the starting lineup this week, unless left guard Curt Marsh is unable to go. Marsh has a twisted knee and a broken finger but is listed as probable. . . . Marcus Allen leads the AFC in rushing and is its sixth-leading pass receiver. His rushing total of 206 yards is fourth in the NFL, behind Walter Payton, Eric Dickerson and James Jones. Allen's 341 yards from scrimmage (rushing and receiving totals) lead the NFL. Sean Jones' four sacks tie him for the NFL lead with New England's Don Blackmon and San Francisco's Jeff Stover.

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