Wednesday, October 29, 2003
Tuiasosopo to start for Raiders at Detroit on Sunday
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Marques Tuiasosopo will start at
quarterback for the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Detroit in place
of the injured Rich Gannon.
Gannon, the reigning NFL MVP, was listed as doubtful Wednesday
with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Such an injury could
sideline him for several weeks.
"How long it's going to be, I don't know," coach Bill Callahan
said. "I'm confident he can get back sooner than later. He's
always been a quick healer. ... Rich is a fierce competitor.
Nobody, I believe, in football wants to get back to the playing
field worse than Rich Gannon."
The 37-year-old Gannon was injured in the Raiders' 17-10 loss to
Kansas City on Oct. 20 and hasn't thrown since. He was knocked out
of the game in the first half following two sacks by linebacker
Shawn Barber and several other hits.
"Marques is a guy who's been with us three years," Callahan
said. "He has excellent management of the offense. He knows how to
compete, but starting is a different thing. We feel confident in
his ability to step in."
Tuiasosopo nearly rallied the Raiders (2-5) to a comeback win
against the Chiefs, but fell just short when Tim Brown was tackled
on the 1-yard line as time expired. Tuiasosopo was 16-of-28 for 224
yards after replacing Gannon.
Oakland is desperate for a win. The Raiders are reeling in a
poor start following their loss to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl last
"I'm just fired up to be able to contribute to the team a
little bit more and help us win a ballgame," Tuiasosopo said.
"I'm just going out there to try to have some fun and try to win.
It's been a while. We need to get back on a win streak."
The 24-year-old Tuiasosopo, a seldom-used backup in his third
pro season after a stellar college career at Washington, has had
extra time taking snaps with the first-team offense because the
Raiders were off last week.
Before his Monday night appearance, Tuiasosopo had thrown just
six passes all season for the Raiders and 10 in his NFL career. He
has been getting advice from Gannon, who refused to talk to
reporters again Wednesday.
"It was nice to get some game action so I wouldn't be totally
getting all the rust off," Tuiasosopo said. "It'd be nice to get
an extra yard so you can give yourselves the chance to win. That
was the one bummer about last week. I'm excited to get on the
His teammates have confidence in Tuiasosopo.
"He just plays," receiver Jerry Porter said. "He doesn't
worry about things. When we came into the game, he said 'Let's get
this thing going.' I like the fact he didn't get rattled. ... He
had to wait his turn, and now's his time."
Ronald Curry will work as the Raiders' No. 3 quarterback.