Friday, August 18, 2006

Unwavering Hand

Too much noise has been made in regards to Moss’ reaction to being pulled off the field in the middle of a series against Minnesota.
"I was just more (ticked) off," Moss said. "I've never in my career been taken out of a (exhibition) game during a drive."
Most of the media swooped in like vultures ready to pounce on a juicy story that is much ado about nothing. It is much ado about nothing because of who is in charge of the Raiders. Head Coach Shell squashed this distraction in its tracks by saying it wasn't even an issue. Asked if he would speak with Moss over the incident, Shell said no. "There is no need to talk to him," Shell said. "I made a decision to take him out. There was a time frame for him to play. That time frame had come and gone. It was time to get him out of there. There is no need to have a conversation about that." What makes Moss one of the greatest receivers of all time is his burning desire to compete and showcase his extraordinary talents.
"He made a decision," Moss said. "He's the head coach. I've got to live with it. I don't call the shots. I can understand where he's coming from, but at the same time, I love the game, I love to play ball. We're out there sweating and breathing hard, so just leave me in and take me out after a punt, (or) score a field goal.”

Anyone who questions his commitment to the team is sadly mistaken. Moss played through injury last year when he could have easily sat out. Plain and simple. He played hurt because he thought it would give the team the best chance to win.

Moss is very passionate about his profession and sometimes his emotions get the best of him. He wants to be on the field, making plays, and be fully utilized to make a difference for the team’s success. I would hope that Moss learns how to channel his anger, frustration, and emotion in a more constructive way to become a better team leader.

As far as all the fans and media hitting the panic button, screaming "Brooks sucks", "Walsh's offense won't work" ... step off the ledge. The Raiders have been in training camp for less than 4 weeks and played only 2 exhibition games.

When a team has gone 13-35 over the last 3 years, has hired a new Head Coach and staff members, signed a new QB, reconfigured the O-line, has numerous rookies, 2nd year, 3rd year players starting, what did you expect? Total smooth sailing from day one with no rough waters? It doesn’t work that way.

It starts with the new Head Coach instilling his philosophies of the game. It than moves to one of the more important phases which is the players buying into and believing in the Head Coach's program. It takes shape with a grueling training camp of implementing the game plans, working on fundamentals and techniques. The exhibition games are used to evaluate the players’ performance and the progress of the team. The last stage before the regular season is to weed out the dead wood and assemble the final roster for battle. Once the regular season is underway, the process of evaluating the players’ performance, making adjustments in the game plans, and working hard in practice continues. Not to state the obvious but the 2006 edition of the Raiders is a work in progress.

I take comfort in the one constant, steady voice of Art Shell. "We're going to stay the course", "We need to continue to work hard in practice", "Robert (Gallery) is going to be fine" etc. Shell knows he has a big hill to climb in front of him. The Raider Nation needs to trust Shell’s judgment and ability to turn things around in due time. It will be Shell’s steady, unwavering hand that will ultimately guide the Raiders back to the top.

Exhibition Game #3 vs. San Francisco: An Eye on Sunday
In the upcoming exhibition game vs. San Francisco, here are some things to evaluate:

1) The Raiders O-Line - Are LT Gallery and RT Walker providing solid pass protection for Brooks? Is Gallery still shaking off any rust from being inactive with a quad injury a few weeks ago? Is the O-Line providing a consistent, dominant inside push on run plays?

2) QB Aaron Brooks - It is crucial that Brooks gets into a productive rhythm with the offensive unit. He needs to sting together multiple completions and 1st down conversions, and establish a level of awareness, consistency, and confidence.

3) The Raiders tight ends - The TE needs to be used as a primary weapon over the middle of the field to move the chains and set up the deep stikes down the sidelines for the receivers.

4) TE Pass Coverage - This is a golden opportunity to test out the defense against an elite TE. Will Thomas Howard and Michael Huff be able to blanket rookie sensation Vernon Davis. With a division loaded with awesome TE weapons like Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez, Davis will be a good 1st test for our rookies Howard and Huff.

5) Offensive game plan & protection vs. 3-4 defense - The exhibition season is ideal for testing out the protection & run blocking schemes in preparation for the regular season. Our 1st regular season game is against San Diego which also uses a 3-4 alignment as their base defense.

6) Penalties & Turnovers - Minimizing the bone-head penalties and turnovers on offense while creating turnovers on defense has been the blue-print and points of emphasis throughout training camp. The exhibition game is an opportunity to focus on these important areas that can be the difference between a W and an L.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Always great level headed articles not too delusional or pro Raider but not negative or panicked either.

My opinion after two preseason games

The Good:

1. D is improved secondary, linebacker are young and fast. At last Raiders are making a commitment to build with youth.

The Undecided

1. Wide Receiver with Porter whining and Curry injured what should be one of the best units in the league even with a healthy Moss looks average. Hopefully when things are settled this will move up to the good list

2. Offensive Line
They have played horrible but there seems to be talent, hopefully it is a question of getting settled---4 new people in different positions. Maybe I am being delusional here.

The Bad:

1. D-line looks good from a pass rush perspective but they seem to still get pushed back and be thin at defensive tackle, in the AFC West this could bode for a long year against the run. We have sunk a long way from Coleman, Adams, Parrella etc.

2. Jake Grove seems to have the smarts but not the strength. Too bad about Barrett we need a big nasty man like that (he outweighs Grove by 30 plus) to make the running game go. Football is strength up the middle

3. Quarterback Brooks has physical tools, but little leadership and football smarts. Walter is too young and inexperienced. A long year at this position

The most important positions in football are quarterback, offensive line and cornerback. We are weak at two of three and the jury is out on cornerback. Bottom line I think 8-8 would be an accomplishment.

Your thoughts to my prediction would be appreciated.

Thanks for all your great work


Florida Raider

10:44 AM  

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