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Raiders QB Collins back in starting role

ALAMEDA, Calif. (Dec. 14, 2005) -- The Oakland Raiders switched quarterbacks again, moving Kerry Collins back into the starting role after backup Marques Tuiasosopo struggled last week against the New York Jets.

Three days after saying his intention was to give Tuiasosopo another start this week against the Cleveland Browns, coach Norv Turner announced he changed his mind and was going with Collins.

Turner said he made the decision after talking with owner Al Davis and other members of the organization. But Turner said that ultimately the call was his and he decided to go with the quarterback he felt gave the team the best chance to win.

"I just felt that it was Kerry. It's not a reflection of Tui and his performance, because he knows there are things he could have done better, but we did not play well around him," Turner said. "We owe it to the guys on this team that are giving as much as they're giving, we owe them the best chance to find a way to win a game."

The Raiders (4-9) are finishing a third straight losing season for the first time since Davis came aboard in 1963 to coach and eventually own the team.

After a promising start to the season, Collins struggled as the Raiders fell out of playoff contention. Collins didn't throw an interception until his 141st pass in the fifth game of the season, then didn't give up another pick for 95 more attempts. Seven of his 10 interceptions have come in his last four games, including three in a 31-17 home loss to Denver on Nov. 13.

Collins has been booed frequently at home and the fans had been chanting "Tui! Tui!" at recent games, hoping for a change. But after Tuiasosopo's struggles on the road last week, the Oakland fans will get another dose of Collins on Sunday.

Collins has completed 245 of his 446 passes for 3,118 yards and 16 touchdowns, but has been sacked 32 times for 194 lost yards. His lack of mobility was one of the big reasons Turner made the switch to the more athletic Tuiasosopo.

But Tuiasosopo didn't fare any better against the Jets, getting sacked six times and losing two fumbles in a 26-10 loss. He went 14-for-26 for 124 yards with two interceptions.

Tuiasosopo has started only two games since the Raiders drafted him out of Washington in 2001. He started once in 2003, but hurt his knee during Oakland's third offensive series, and hadn't played in a regular-season game since.

"I think a lot of Tui and I think he's going to be a real good player in this league, and sometimes it's just timing," Turner said.

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