PRO FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : RAIDERS : Offensive Production Worse Than in '92

After finishing 23rd among the NFL's 28 teams in total offense last season, the Raiders spent the off-season making major changes. They signed a new quarterback, Jeff Hostetler, and a new receiver, Rocket Ismail, and named a new starting tailback, Nick Bell.

Four games into the season, things have changed, all right. The Raiders are 28th in offense, worst in the NFL.

After averaging 274 yards per game in total offense last season, the Raiders are down to an average of 238.5 this season.

Their points-per-game average is up from 15.6 to 16.5, still anemic in terms of winning games.

There are extenuating circumstances. Hostetler has a sprained ankle that caused him to limp through three quarters of the Raiders' third game and sit out the fourth entirely. Bell has yet to play because of a hamstring pull and the Raiders' apparent lack of confidence in him. And Ismail made his first appearance of the season only last Sunday after he and the Raiders spent five months trying to come to agreement on a contract.

But there's more to it than just injuries and contracts.

Greg Robinson, Bell's replacement, has gained 167 yards on 60 carries for a 2.8-yard average.

The offensive line has given up 12 sacks over the last two games.

And the Raiders' most dependable receivers have disappeared. After catching 13 passes in the Raiders' first two games, including a career-high nine against the Seattle Seahawks, Tim Brown caught none in the last two.

Tight end Ethan Horton, who caught six passes in the opener, didn't catch any Sunday and only one the Sunday before.

The Raiders took umbrage at suggestions that they had trashed their long-standing, long-pass game plan in beating the Minnesota Vikings with a short-pass, ball-control offense.

Nothing has changed, they insisted.

That is now obvious.

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