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Raiders : Flores Still Likes Hilger, If Healthy

September 15, 1987|MARK HEISLER | Times Staff Writer

According to recent custom, the Raiders, embroiled in one of those quarterback controversies they loathe so, are standing by their incumbent.

Did the Raider roster seem to welcome the arrival back on the scene of Marc Wilson Sunday in Green Bay?

Did the Packers even add their endorsement, cornerback Mark Lee saying of Wilson: "If you ask me, he's a better quarterback?"

Well, Rusty Hilger still has the vote or two votes that count.

"Hilger's shoulder is much better today," Coach Tom Flores said Monday. "The examinations didn't show any damage, but it's going to be sore a couple of days."

Then Hilger will remain No. 1?

"If Rusty is healthy," Flores said, "my feeling is yes."

And press critiques, suggesting Hilger looks lost?

"I'm not going to comment on the quarterbacks," Flores said. "I think there's enough speculation without my comments. My critique of the whole team is from a professional perspective and it's from a team viewpoint. I'll just leave it at that."

One thing that might be said in defense of Hilger's performance is that he jammed his left shoulder running into lineman John Clay early in the game, and Flores did say that. On the other hand, Flores said he hadn't planned to run Marcus Allen anything like 33 times, did it only because his quarterback was hurting, and wouldn't like to do it as a rule.

"We would rather have more balance," Flores said. "We've got to have more balance. . . . Our passing game (the Raiders netted six yards in Hilger's half) is not good enough right now. We're going to get better. It just has to get better."

Also on the quarterback front: Pro Football Weekly reports that Al Davis, thought to have made no approaches for a quarterback since the draft, did call the Redskins again last week and offer a No. 2 pick for Doug Williams, which was what he had been offering before. PFW says Bobby Beathard was still asking a No. 1 as before. Since Redskin starter Jay Schroeder was hurt in the opener and Williams is needed, the point is now moot.

And Ed Luther, cut in camp, was seen at the Raider base Monday. Flores said, however, he wasn't inclined to re-sign a third quarterback.

Rookie fullback Steve Smith suffered a right knee injury and was undergoing tests Monday, but the Raiders were worried. Frank Hawkins, the starter, hurt a muscle in his triceps, although Flores says he thinks Hawkins can play with it, as he did when he tore the other triceps in camp.

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