Sunday, November 05, 2006

Kudos to The Captain

Monday night’s game is more pivotal than we might have expected just a few weeks ago. It signifies the difference between a mid-season record of 2-6 and 3-5. This margin of just one victory is larger than it looks on paper. It represents a gulf of both perception and emotion. At 3-5, our wave will be ever surging, with promises of finishing with our best record since 2002. At 2-6, we will wonder if we’ve been caught in the undertow.

This season, to date, has been a tale of two units. The offensive unit has been largely offensive, in all the wrong ways. The defensive unit has emerged as magnificent. The screaming about Tom Walsh has been recently drowned out by the cheering for Rob “Caveman” Ryan. The sputterings of Porter, Moss and Gallery have been overtaken by the purring motors of guys like Morrison, Burgess and Asomugha. Lost in all of the noise, it seems, is…Art Shell.

In other words, there’s been a lot of discussion lately about the crew and the officers, but perhaps it’s time to check on our captain. How’s he doing? Are we on course? Are we lost at sea—or pointing toward our destination?

Some would have us scrambling for the lifeboats. For example, Fox Sports bestows their mid-season award for “Worst Coaching Job” on Denny Green, but with
an honorable mention for Coach Shell: “He (Green) edges out Art Shell because, unlike the Raiders coach, Green got everything he wanted personnel-wise and assistant-wise.”

Talk about an asinine take. There are 11 teams in the NFL right now with winning percentages equal to, or worse, than the Oakland Raiders. Of those 11, several are led by coaches like Nick Saban, Jon Gruden, Mike Nolan and Joe Gibbs who have had ample time and resources to build their teams in their own image, just like Denny Green. Unlike most of these teams, the Raiders have steadily progressed, culminating in two gutsy wins over the past two weeks.

Yet it’s Art Shell who’s barely edging out Denny Green for worst coaching job this year? Nonsense.

Art Shell was hired to, above all else, instill a winning attitude and a sense of purpose in a team that had lost its way. In my opinion, he got off to a rough start. I think he was rushed, due to his late hiring, and I think he was rusty. On his watch, our wide receivers corps went from solid to sickly, with Porter stuck in the doghouse, Gabriel shipped to New England, Moss running his mouth (but not his routes), and Alvis Whitted starting for the first time at age 32. He failed to throw a red flag for a crucial first down against the Browns, not as an informed decision, but due to a lack of preparation and systemization. He seemed to lack a long-term quarterback plan for the team, to the point of turning to Tui for answers. His handling of the Porter problem was old school, but it threatened to turn the locker room into Animal House.

And yet…we’re starting to see that winning attitude, are we not? Our old captain is shaking off the rust. The rumors of mutiny were apparently exaggerated. The crew is adapting to the new rules, and the ship is righting its course. Coach Shell has been
roundly mocked for his impassive face, for his steady demeanor. But is that not the genius of the man? He is in control, of himself, and seemingly of this team. Good captains don't panic.

Time will tell, of course. But I like what I'm seeing, what I'm feeling, from this team, considering all of the circumstances. At 0-5, the Raiders could have easily gone into a shell. Instead, they showed the character of Art Shell. And for that, I say, kudos to the captain.

P.S. I’ve got barbecued sea chicken on my Monday night menu.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My only knocks on Shell are a.) how he handled the Jerry Porter situation. That could've ended without a suspension and without 4 inactive games for our 2nd best wideout - and b.)keeping Tom Walsh, the man who devises the WORST offensive gameplans in the league. The Al Davis system can and must be adapted to today's NFL if it's to be of any success. Tom Walsh is not up to the task.

5:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to Fox Sports:
Art Shell was just voted NFL Coach of the Week (for week 7's win).

Here is the link:

Apparently the world at large doesn't agree with your jaundiced appraisal of how Coach Shell performs his job... so p!$$ off!

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RT, I couldn't agree more. There is just a perception of Shell, fueled by jerks like Bill Simmons, that is unfair and inaccurate. A friend of mine who is a Giant fan just said to me last night "You CAN'T be happy with the job Shell is doing?" When I explained the leadership void on this team and the way they kept working and fighting at 0-5, he still didn't really get it. As if 2-5 is okay as long as you make funny faces like Gruden or Cowher.

My big (well-documented) problem with Shell is the hire of Tom Walsh. Outside of that, I do feel we're headed in the right direction. But even if we somehow finish with 7, 8, or 9 wins this year, idiots like Simmons and Jay Glazer will dog Shell. That's okay. Nobody does "us against them" like the Raider Nation, and the fact that it is once again so easy to identify "them" is a lot of fun. It's one of the things I've always liked about rooting for this team.

7:25 AM  
Blogger Jason Culley said...

I could care less what the so-called experts or idiots in the media say about Art Shell or the Raiders for that fact.

As long as we continue to improve, win the games we are supposed to and fight to the last second of every game I am a happy Raider fan.

Enjoy the game monday night everyone.


7:41 AM  
Blogger Doobie said...

What I don't get is that coaching ability is usually measured against the talent they have to work with. If someone takes a mediocre (or worse) team deep in the playoffs, they get Coach of the Year. If they take a team with a lot of talent and run them into the ground, they're considered failures.

Art Shell's a "first year" coach working with a team he didn't build (with the exception of the 2006 draft). This Raider team has been marked for failure by the media since before the season began. So if the expectations were low to begin with, how can he even be considered for "worst coach"?

7:41 AM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Why isn't Bill Cohwer on the short list for "worst" coach for 06? The Steelers are 2-6 with basically the same personnel as the 05 SB team. What about Saban and Gruden? Both teams were in the playoffs last year but have only 2 wins. Expectations, last season's records, personnel, continuity, and of course Wins/Losses should all be factored into the equation.

I'm very proud of the job Shell has done with keeping the team motivated, working hard and believing in each other even at 0-5 w/all the mediot vulture circling. Shell's unwavering, steady hand, presence, and strong leadership has been very evident in getting things pointed in the right direction.

Besides A-Dub's development and the O-line's improvement, the next biggest remedy is identifying a competent OC for the 07 season.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out have a front page preview of tonight's game with pictures of the starting QBs....only the Raiders QB shown is Tui, though they believe him to be AW. Wow--great coverage at the 'official' site of the NFL

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yea, but read Pat Kirwan's article on the game. he has the Raiders going into Seattle and coming home with a W.
The media is talking about the Raiders like they're a legit NFL team, what a pleasant surprise.

-Franco, Raider fan in Ireland

let's see 3 TDs from the offense and some tough as nails running from Fargas and Jordan

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I definitly dont agree with the statement that Art Shell should be runner up for worst coach. I do believe that he should be in the bottem top 6.
The reasons are the mistakes that he has made throught the first 7 games. Not throwing the red flag in Cleveland. I dont want to hear how it was upstairs fault. As far as I am concerned he takes the blame for anything the people on his staff do. Plus he cant look at a replay on the big screen?
That brings me to the offense. Walsh was 100% his hire, thats his guy. The offense has been absolutly horrible the whole year. You cannot name one solid game. Yeah there have been stretches here and there but not one solid game yet. In fact they seem to have gotten worse. The game plans have been elementary. The play calling basic and predictable. The offensive line still doesnt block, the recievers dont run hard, sharp routes. Every one is droping balls. Our 235 pound running back runs out of bounds instead of over people. Our change of pace speed running back (fargas) runs harder than Jorden. Our young QB still makes really bad decisions with the ball. I know he is young. Someone tell me one positve thing about this offense. I blame one person, Art Shell. I dont want to hear the arguement that it is his assistants. He handled the Jerry Porter thing wrong.
The reasons he is getting grades lower than other coaches are because of the media bias. And because we have a talented team. Especialy on offense. You line our skill players against anyother team that has a record similar to ours and we are flat out more talented. He and his staff are not taking advantage of that talent. We have big slow takles with bad footwork. Shorten our drops and routes so that you remove or limit their liability. Which is handling speed rushers. During the steeler game in the second half every time we ended up 3rd and long Walters was sacked. How?.... by the outside linbacker...why?...Because he got around the offensive takle. And because the QB was in a seven step drop waiting for 20 yard routes to be ran. Coaching ....? The defense has played very well. But does anyone honestly expect them to keep putting 7 to 14 points on the board every game. So until Art Shell and his staff get the offense together he deserves a big fat D-. The only reason he gets the D- instead of the F is because he gets some credit for the drafted talent on defense and some of the credit for the way they have played. Even though Rob Ryan was already on staff. They either start to show some serious improvement on offense or either he goes or Walsh at the end of the season.

10:54 AM  
Blogger nyraider said...

Anybody see the weather forecast for tonight? Heavy rain and gusting winds. If that's true, our play calling may have to tone down the vertical passing just a bit and go with more intermediate and short passing. Is Walsh capable of that kind of adjustment???? GO DEFENSE!!!!

3:13 PM  
Blogger Penny Distribution said...


I think that's about as much of an offense as Walsh is capable of running. At least we have that going for us.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Penny Distribution said...


I think that's about as much of an offense as Walsh is capable of running. At least we have that going for us.

4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Panty Raider:
I dont have a problem with the disepline that Art commanded. I just dont understand why it took so long. He should not have been deactivated for 6 games. What ever happend should have been dealt with faster not necessarily with less force. They should have sat in a room and not left until it was worked out. Thats why I think it was handled wrong.
As far as establishing the run and trying to run are two very differnt things. If you look at our offensive stats we havent established anything other than mediocrity. We are practicly dead last in every offensive statistical catagory.
As far as the no quite attitude that the team exudes it goes as far as the defense at stops right there. Our best reciever has droped more passes so far this season than he has in any other whole season. On top of that he has got the worst case of aligator arms that I have ever seen.
Look I love the Raiders Im just not willing to give them a passing grade because of that. The sack problem hasnt gotten any better. And the running game only looks better because Fargas has been running hard. But he isnt blowing anything up. You cite youth and development as a reason, thats BS because our defense is even younger. The only thing looking up based purely on past performances is the DEFENSE.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Walter absolutely sux.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The captain and Teniele would be better than the butt pirates you have running the faidas now, "faida national" out, just cry baby. 2-14, complimentary continental breakfast for all faida nationals!

7:40 PM  

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