Saturday, February 11, 2006

All in The Family

Well, friends, I’m a bit speechless today. I don’t have a lot of insight or foresight into this hiring of Art Shell. How could I? The guy hasn’t prowled a sideline lately.

What I do know is that I have a personal choice today between optimism and pessimism. I’m choosing the former over the latter. My eggs are being cooked sunny side up this morning.

While Art Shell hasn’t prowled a sideline lately, neither had Joe Gibbs, and he seems to be writing a fine second chapter for himself in D.C. Art Shell is a presence. Art Shell is a true Raider. Art Shell can anchor this team and instill a winning attitude from the top down. Welcome back to the helm, Mr. Shell.

Anyhow, there is clearly considerable dissent in the Raider Nation family about the process and the outcome of the coaching search. That’s what families do, they get in each other’s faces and they keep each other accountable. But when the wolves come knocking at the door, families unite and proceed as one. That’s my message today.

There are a lot of wolves out there right now. They will talk smack. They will spin this upside down and sideways, they will say that the Raiders went shopping at Nordstrom for Ken Whisenhunt and found themselves walking out of Goodwill with Art Shell (without offering any evidence of such). They will ridicule the Raiders until the Raiders roar back and shove it in their faces with winning performance. That day will come, I am confident of that.

This isn’t a plea for mind control or self censorship. I love the thought-provoking dissent unfolding here and elsewhere in the Raider Nation today. We’re a family, and we don’t always agree. We scream and shout behind closed doors, then we grab some beers from the fridge and move on.

But the wolves will be knocking in the coming weeks. It’s one thing when a loyal Raiders fan tells me he or she is disappointed with the choice of Art Shell. It’s quite another when a Raider hater mocks and spins the choice of Art Shell to serve a biased agenda.

Let’s guard that distinction and remember: We are the Raider Nation.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this one. My first choice was Petrino, I wanted a fresh face. But I said from day 1 that Art is the only "retread" I would accept. I know Art will get the attention of the players and make them accountable. And that's always been half the battle with this team. Remember Moss upstaging Turner last year? Let's just say I don't expect to see that in '06.

As far as outsiders are concerned, screw 'em. If their teams hired a coach with Art's resume they'd be thrillled. Unfortunately, the timing of this hire gives them some fodder but who cares.

A bigger concern than Shell; are we really handing over the OC reins to Tom Walsh? Where has he even BEEN for the last 10 years? I'm not saying it can't work, but it concerns me.

I can't wait for the press conference, I hope it's on ESPN News or NFL Network...

10:58 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Great post RT. You have a knack for putting everything in its proper perspective.

In your blog and other forums I read and hear a ton of Raider fans who complain about Gruden no longer being here. Some of these same fans are moaning about Shell being the HC choice.

If these same fans only realized how similar Art's performance was to Gruden's performance maybe they would be as thrilled as I am to have him back.

Here's a quick parallel which might open a few eyes.

Gruden: Record 40-28 (.588), playoff appearances (2/4 seasons);
1 AFC Championship berth, 1 season at 12-4

Shell: Record 56-41 (.577), playoff appearances (3/6 seasons); 1 AFC Championship berth, 1 season at 12-4.

Raise the Black Flag and grab a cold one from the fridge.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Raider Take said...

The following came in via email from RAIDER NILBILLY BOY, who is unable to post comments at the moment due to Blogger technical error. I am posting it on his behalf:

"I'm standing behind Shell. He wasn't on my short list, but he brings what has been lacking these past years. He brings a hardness, a discipline, a no nonsense presence. He will bring order to the locker room and to the sideline. Do you think he's going to get pushed around by Shanahan? Hell no. Do you think he's going to let the dissident players have a voice? Hell no. Do you think he's going to let LT run, pass and catch for crazy yards and scores at home? Hell no. Do you think he's going to be OK with losing? What do you think ... hell no.

This man embodies "Commitment to Excellence". Finally these words will not ring hollow."

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll say it again. If Shell is so great, if he his going perform all these miracles, why didn't Davis hire him the very week he fired Turner. Instead, he searched high, & low, & everywhere in between for someone, anyone else. What does this tell you ??? Yes, ok, we are all Raiders fans, and we will hope for the best, but com'on, open your eyes a little. Shell is 60 yrs old, and these players now respect no one, especially if they perceive you as powerless to the owner. Gruden is missed not only because of wins, but because he was starting to change things for the better. A return to Shell is a return to the past, which we know, unless you've been in a coma these last 20 yrs, WON'T WORK. Good luck to all of us.

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are a Raider fan for more than a year, you will know that Mr. Davis, when given the chance, will interview as many coaches as he can get away with. He especially likes to talk to divisional compition but anybody on the rise will work. He may have had Shell in mind the whole time. The Raiders have said that they have offered NOBODY (including Patrino) a contract execept the one guy who took it. As for Shell, I loved him as a player, an assistant and as a head coach. I hated him wearing any other colors. Welcome home Mr. Shell. Now get to work and get me back my championship!!!!!!!

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm with you as well, but as Mad Stork stated above, the big key is what we do at OC. Walsh has been gone too long (think about it - Art and Walsh have not game planned in years. I just do not have a good feeling about that).
Problem may be though, is who else is out there that could step in as the OC.

The biggest (or damn near biggest) problem last year was the game plan(s). We had none or very little. Norv is gone, but I pray we don't see the same unimaginative plan next year, with each week being the same plan. We NEVER planned around the next opponent, just the same crud every week.

Here's to Art and a OC with a plan!

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea that Al Davis is interviewing people just to pick their brains is ridiculous. He interviewed Bill Bellichek, do the Raiders play defense like a B.B. coached team? He interviewed Al Saunders many times, do they have an offense like KC? He interviewed a million different coaches, with a miriad of diff. styles, yet the Raiders never, ever, never change how they play. This notion that Davis is "learning" from these interviews is just spin. Let's call it what it is, Shell is the only one who would take the job. Now let's hope it somehow will work.

1:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not happy with the choice of Shell..........He has already made a comment about Collins leading us to glory..........Horse Crap! I cannot be the only fan that sees that Collins is not a championship QB. Not even with 3 more seasons. I can only hope that Collins gets a better offer.....But if he dosn't were stuck with his "King of Spaz" playing and his 12 million dollar cap hit.........Sad day indeed for the Nation. Nice take but.........I ain't buying it............I hope I am dead wrong and all of you can work me over.......But I'm not. Don't even start with that " well you ain't a fan if you don't buy Al's choice" bullshit.............I will still buy by seats and gear up every day.........I am a fan that sees other answers to our problems.....Listening to Shell today made me sick............sounded a bit suck ass-ish.....Al this and Al that and "I will be leaning alot on him because he knows so much...........PERFECT......Like I'm surprised........Well at least the PSL is gone.

6:11 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

I'm not going to buy the race card when you have playoffs teams like the Colts, Bears and Bengals all with black head coaches. If I were a black male and the race of my coach made a difference, I'd sooner go to a playoff contender with a black head coach than a team that's only won five games once in the last three seasons. That, and I think Art Shell is about as un-hip-hop as you can be.

The only two advantages I can see from this perspective is that Art's a HOFer and is the original black head coach in the NFL.

7:52 PM  
Blogger Doobie said...

Even though I'm content to have Art Shell as a head coach, albeit as a major backup plan, I think there's one major area that will continue to remain a concern for this team...their inability to draft. With a fresh young head coach, it's difficult to gauge their drafting talent until a few years later. However, Art has a track record between 1989 and 1994 and, folks, it ain't good. Granted, we can always be sure that Al's the ones pulling the strings at the draft, but Art has to take some blame too.

1989 is kind of a wash because they didn't have a draft pick until the sixth round (anyone remember why that was? They had three 1st rounders in '88...did they trade their '89 picks for them? Maybe the picks for Wisniewski who they also got that year?). 1990 through 1994 are relative disasters. You hav some picks that they only got a few good years out of before they disappeared (Anthony Smith, Torin Dorn, McGlockton, Skrepanek, Nolan Harrison, Rocket Ismail) and some high picks that bombed (Marinovich, Nick Bell, Patrick Bates, Billy Joe Hobert, Rob Fredrickson).

Most importantly, there were no franchise players that came out of any of those drafts. Nor were there any late round steals that became solid players for an extended period of time. Maybe Biekert in the 6th round, but that's about it.

I wish I could get my hopes up for the 2006 draft, but looking at history, I'm not optimistic.

6:56 AM  
Blogger frkyraider said...

i welcome Art back with open arms. and i must say that all this talk of him being a desperation hire is all media-heresay crap.
ok so petrino turned us down, there were some seriously tough situations goin on in these negotiations, and it just didn't work out because of them. oh well, next!!! first the media tells us that saunders turned us down and signed elsewhere (in a lateral move). yeah right, like he wouldn't grab this job up in a heartbeat and try to stuff it up KC's butt!! then it's everyone Al interviews has turned us down, nobody wants to come here and coach. well to this i say, BS!!!just because our owner is the most thurough in the league, perinially, suddenly nobody wants to take a job in oaktown? bs. "whiz" comes in for a 3 hour interview and goes home claiming he's staying put. uh....yeah your staying put because we have the last job available and we didn't offer it to you. that one was laughable to me, 3 hour interview, lmao, Al takes more time than that to order lunch!!
Art is the right man for the job at this point in time. it also gives us a chance to right a wrong at the same time. a man of Art's respectability, i beleive, he can lead some of these so called "new era" athletes that not many can even engage. they will listen to Art. believe it.
we will need a good mind at OC, and i have to give my shout out right now for "Slick" Rick Nuehiesel, he'd be a perfect fit, and deserves a chance to prove himself in this league. a mavrick in his own right.

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody seen any comments from Rob Ryan through all this? Didn't read anything about him being at the press conference; I'm sure he's on board. Art will be in charge of attitude and preparation, and will make play-to-win game decisions. Someone else we be in charge of offensive X's and O's [I guess that would be O's]. Someone with the same juice and no bs attitude as Art, someone who was an intelligent leader, someone from from the past [no, not Snake, but how cool would that be?]. Rich Gannon, Raider brothers, coming to an OC or QBC position near you. stay tuned

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LK: One man rumored to be the next Raider OC is Tom Walsh. Walsh was at the Shell press conference. Walsh was Shell's QB coach... '88-94.

It is hard to remember the QBs from that era, my memory banks have erased them...Jay Schroeder? Hardly a ringing endorsement.

Another name being mentioned for OC is current QB coach John Shoop. KFC isn't any better than Schroeder was...YIKES!

Must erase all memory of Collins and Schroeder now, for the health of my sanity...

What were we just talking about?

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stick 'em- I think it was Schroeder early and Hostetler late. Schroeder was the KFC prequel, Hoss was a pretty good QB. My memories of those years are pretty faded too-- I know I have blacked out the Schroeder years in order to avoid the night sweats associated with 'Post Schroeder Syndrome", common among Raider fans of that time. Hoss was like Gannon and could make plays with his arm, legs or head. I recall that during his years the O was pretty good but the D was only so-so. My point is that I think the scheme was good, so Walsh on the staff may not be bad. My concern is still Collins. No matter how good the line gets, Collins can't make plays with his legs or head. We won't get back to the SB without a smarter and more mobile QB [preferably one with some juice]. Based on how Roethlisberger has done, Art may give Walter a shot

7:20 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

lk - I would gladly suffer the growing pains of watching Walter mature OJT than suffer another season with KFC under center. Walter's physical tools are similar to KFC but judging from watching him in college and 1 exhibition game vs. SF, he seems to have a fair amount of mobiliity and overall pocket awareness. Regardless, I would be more optimistic with Walter leading the charge than KFC.

5:43 PM  
Blogger TheFreakingPope said...

Pass me a cup of Joe and let's enjoy the optimism.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better put some "juce" in that coffee king.......Were in for a real "tough to be a Raider fan" season. Now that Tom " What did I use to do" Walsh is our OC......Need I say more...........I can understand being positive about Shell, even Walsh would be barable...........But when you hear that Collins is going to lead us to a record of INT's Thats it! Am I the only Raider fan who has to hear about thease "STUPID" decisions? Is it possible that this is the "NEW" direction of Al Davis was talking of durring the Shell hire interview? Looks like more of the same....for the first time I am aprehensive about buying season tickets.........WTF AL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shell is a leader and a blocker and tackler. More important than win/loss % is a Raider Team that everyone senses is on the rise... and then correspondingly make other teams "nervous" to play, esp on their homefield. Next year, it would be appropriate if one of the Raiders' goals would be to make opponents pay a larger than normal price for any wins that they may get over the Raiders. All in the family was right on - now lets see Art Shell create that same sense of "family" among the 06 Raider players!

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