ALAMEDA -- Raiders coach Tom Cable announced rookie Chaz Schilens would start in place of Ronald Curry Sunday against the New York Jets.
Schilens has three catches for 38 yards this season, but has looked impressive since arriving as a seventh-round draft pick.
Curry will still play, but expect to see him more in the slot on third downs, where he's excelled in the past.
Here's what Cable likes about Schilens:
"I think his competitiveness for the football when it's in the air. You look at a couple of the plays he's made, some tough catches, having to get it in traffic, or having to get a high ball up in the air. Something that maybe wasn't quite on target, he's been able to go get those things out of the air, and the fact that he's really starting to develop. And it shows every day at practice."
Schilens called the move unexpected.
After all, seventh-round picks are usually worried about just making the team, not starting.
"It's been a long way for me," Schilens said. "It's something I wasn't expecting. My goals were to come in and do good and to play and do well. It's just unexpected but they're giving me a shot so I've to do what I've got to do."
Schilens is a big target (6-4, 225) that has very good speed. His ability to catch imperfect passes will also be valuable.
I spoke with Javon Walker about that and as he noted, nothing is rarely "perfect" in a game so the ability to just get open somehow and make a catch is a must.
Schilens has been doing that since May. He said all the veterans have been good to him as he's progressed.
"They've been good at helping me out all year," Schilens said. "The reason why I've come this far is because they've helped me out a lot. I had a lot of. I had a lot of questions because my college offense was quite different but they've helped me out a lot. I owe a lot to them."
If Schilens continues to develop and can become a dependable starter, he'd be the best receiver drafted by the Raiders since ... Jerry Porter? Tim Brown?
The Raiders have missed on a lot of receivers in recent drafts.
DE Derrick Burgess (triceps) and TE Ben Troupe (foot) are doubtful for Sunday's game.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha (elbow) and LB Isaiah Ekejiuba (shoulder) are probable.
*The Raiders will wear their black home jerseys on Sunday.