The latest on the NFL quarterback front, injury and benching divisions:

* Houston's Ken Stabler had little strength in his injured left hand during the week, but if he can throw the ball at all he will start today against Oakland. Otherwise, John Reaves, who was selling real estate in Florida when the season began, will replace Stabler in a game the Oilers feel they must win. Coach Ed Biles would rather go with Gifford Nielsen than anyone else, but Nielsen just started practicing after recovering from a shoulder injury.

* Los Angeles' Pat Haden was replaced by Dan Pastorini mainly because he couldn't throw the long, accurate pass as well as last year's starter, Vince Ferragamo. Pastorini has had little work for more than a year now, but he's always had a strong arm. Haden, however, has survived these trials before, and has played well enough to be earning $220,000 a year.

* Philadelphia's Ron Jaworski will wear a specially designed flak jacket against St. Louis to protect ribs bruised on the spearing hit last week by Dallas' Dennis Thurman. The jacket was designed by the Eagles' trainer, and is supposed to be the latest in sleek models.

* After being speared in the back by Detroit's William Gay two weeks ago and missing one game, Lynn Dickey likely will start for Green Bay, even though the Packers won last week with David Whitehurst quarterbacking. Whitehurst is more mobile than Dickey, but Coach Bart Starr thinks a starter shouldn't lose his job because of an injury.

* New York's Richard Todd isn't hurt, but a New York Post reporter is, after a locker room altercation with the Jets' quarterback Wednesday. Todd reportedly shoved the newspaperman into a locker after refusing to end his no-interview policy with the reporter, who recently had written critical articles. The Post's man wound up in the hospital with a bloody nose and other complaints.

* Denver's Craig Morton is still healthy and starting, but ex-quarterback Norm Van Brocklin can't understand why Morton isn't chased out of the league quickly by aggressive defenses. "All you have to do is go after him and put pressure on him," grumbled Van Brocklin. "He's slower and older than I am."