The Houston Oilers say that Dan Pastorini can throw the ball only 75 yards now that he has a sore shoulder. They are used to him reaching 85 yards.

The throwing arm itself isn't hurt, just the area around the shoulder blade.

"He's better when he is hurting a little because then he finesses the ball instead of gunning it," a member of the staff said.

"He learned the finesse last year when he was hurt. He now has a fast ball that is not only fast but sneaky. He throws so easy it's on you before you know it."

Pat Peppler, Oiler assistant general manager who coached Scott Hunter at Atlanta, says Hunter is his preference if one of the Houston quarterbacks couldn't play. Peppler says Hunter is in good shape, having just been waived by the Falcons. Hunter, 31, upset Dallas for Peppler in 1971.

Joe Sullivan of the St. Louis Cardinals observes, "I guess George Allen is going to be with the 4-Fs this season. That's how Allen used to describe media members to Rams and Redskin players, meaning they would be rejected for football."

Allen will be an analyst for the CBS-TV network, a Los Angeles television station and write an L.A. column again.

ABC is platooning former quarterbacks in its NFL game telecasts. Don Meredith will be in the booth for the first Monday night game, Sept. 3, when Pittsburgh plays at New England. It will be Fran Tarkenton for the Thursday night special, Los Angeles at Denver.

Jake Scott started at free safety ahead of Paul Krause in the Minnesota Vikings' exhibition loss to Miami and made the biggest play, an interception he ran back 50 yards.

The Vikings have determined that quarterback Tommy Kramer is not gun shy after a concussion last season. He has been passing well, but the Vikings have been dropping balls and not making enough big plays.

Ray Perkins, new coach of the New York Giants, wonders what else can go wrong.

He lost two assistant coaches before training camp; defensive tackle Troy Archer was killed in an automobile accident; four players reported late to camp and one of them, defensive end George Martin, walked out a second time before returning Friday. Jack Gregory demanded to be traded, and was.

But Perkins got a big lift when Coach Chuck Noll told him after the exhibition against the Pittsburgh Steelers that rookie quarterback Phil Simms of Morehead State performed "like a three-year veteran, the way he read defenses. What was that booing I heard about at the draft headquarters, when the Giants selected Simms?

"We (the Steelers) had him rated ahead of Jack Thompson of Washington State."

The Giants are bemused by critics who have said Simms is "too short and too slow." He's 6-foot-3 and weighs 216.