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PRO FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : RAIDERS : Fredrickson Adjusting to New Role

August 02, 1994|STEVE SPRINGER

Raider linebacker Rob Fredrickson, the team's No. 1 draft choice, was unhappy with his play in Sunday's 25-22 overtime exhibition victory over the Denver Broncos at Montjuic Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain.

Fredrickson is being asked to switch from his outside linebacker spot to the middle for the Raiders.

"It was different out there, like going from checkers to chess," he said. "Overall, I'd rate my performance poor, but, because it's the preseason, I'm not disappointed. Every day, I feel I'm getting better.

"I've got to concentrate on the mental aspect. I think I can adjust to the speed of the game."

Fredrickson is battling second-year player Greg Biekert for the starting middle linebacker spot left vacant when Joe Kelly was cut in the off-season.

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Denver Coach Wade Phillips was understandably upset about losing to the Raiders for the fifth consecutive time. But what upset him most was the manner in which it occurred.

The Raiders won a coin toss at the start of overtime, marched down the field, and Jeff Jaeger kicked a 39-yard field goal for the victory.

The Broncos never touched the ball.

Controversy has always surrounded the NFL's sudden-death format, but Phillips thinks a new rule that moves kickoffs back from the 35-yard line to the 30 is unfair.

"By kicking from the 30 the team that receives (in overtime) is going to win 90% of the time," he said. "All the pressure is on the defense."

Would he like to see a full 15-minute overtime instead of sudden death?

"I think that would be fairer," Phillips said. "The percentages now are too high. It's too big an advantage."

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