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Bo + Marcus: Equation May Not Add Up

You begin with the simple fact that the Los Angeles Raiders, showing a record of 8-4, are getting along satisfactorily.

Advancing at their current pace, they could win a position in the postseason tournament, rated the place to be if a team is engaged in football.

Evaluating the Raiders, you next allow that their quarterback, Jay Schroeder, has returned to the good graces of those who (a) operate the team and (b) view it.

The past couple of weeks, Mr. Schroeder wasn’t enjoying his old adulation. It was said he couldn’t hit the side of the Great Wall of China. And it was asked why he was active while Steve Beuerlein, another Raider quarterback, was mothballed.

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Well, Schroeder opens against Denver on Sunday by completing his first six passes. He then completes other passes and finishes the day pretty much appreciated by those who weren’t sure for awhile whether whether he deserved voting rights.

It got so ugly a week ago at the Coliseum that when Schroeder was knocked down and hurt, certain folks in the seats cheered.

But in the aftermath of the Denver game, won by the Raiders, 23-20, no one is asking that Schroeder be deported and Beuerlein activated as quarterback.

Now we turn to a matter of imminent concern involving Bo Jackson and his deployment by the Raiders.

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The question is asked whether Bo is used enough to maximize his effectiveness for the Raiders.

In the first half against Denver, the match runs 28 1/2 minutes before Bo is even asked to carry the ball. Before the half ends, he carries it twice.

By the end of the third quarter, he has carried the ball a total of five times, once for an 11-yard touchdown.

And given more work in the fourth, he busts loose on a 62-yard touchdown run, breaking tackles five times en route.

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So one sits down to judge the position of Bo in the Raider picture. If they give him the ball but twice in the first half and five times in three quarters, are they availing themselves satisfactorily of his skills?

And does he leave baseball at Kansas City and hurry to Los Angeles for football to go 28 1/2 minutes without a single carry?

Now comes the counter-argument. Bo, you are informed, isn’t in the game more because the Raiders have a personality in there named Marcus Allen.

“This Allen isn’t cheap meat,” you are told. “He runs well, catches well and plays hard.”

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Attempts are made to put Bo and Marcus in the game at the same time, but, in such circumstances, Marcus must be shifted to fullback, giving him blocking assignments for which he isn’t fully trained.

So the Raiders have got a terrible dilemma here. They don’t run Bo as often as they should because they are using Marcus in that position.

And they don’t dare bench Marcus full-time in favor of Bo because they aren’t sure that Marcus doesn’t deliver more, overall.

When most teams have a stickout running back, they keep him in the game, mainly on the ground that he gathers rhythm and delivers a bigger package when he plays steadily.

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But the Raiders are torn between two, and while it sounds good to announce they are lucky to have such depth, you tend to wonder if their offense is working as well as it should.

The point we’re making is, the Raiders are going through life today guessing when to use Marcus and when to use Bo, and may not be attacking as well as they might if one guy carried the ball 18 times.

At the Marylebone Cricket Club, you won’t find members treating each other more gentlemanly than Marcus treats Bo, and vice-versa.

The two would be smashing at tea.

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So while large egos are involved here, they don’t surface, nor need they even be a factor.

What we’re talking about is a simple case of deployment on the part of the Raiders. Accommodating the two, are they dredging less product than if they worked with only one?


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