Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thank You Art

Statement from the Raiders organization:

‘Al Davis and Art Shell met today and discussed the 2006 football season. While Art will no longer serve as head coach, he and Mr. Davis have discussed and will continue to discuss opportunities for Art to remain a valued member of the Raider organization’.

This decision is the final (and sad) culmination of a silver and bleak 2-14 season. There is no use sugar-coating what transpired under Shell’s watch. This team will go down in infamy as the worst team and offensive unit in the history of the Raiders organization.

Like most of the Raider Nation, I was full of hope when Al Davis reached back into the past and rehired Big Art. I also feel that it is almost unanimous amongst the Raider faithful that Art had his heart in the right place this season and proved his loyalty to the organization. Unfortunately, some of Shell’s shortcomings and decisions as HC spelled disaster.

Here are a few reasons for the 2006 season being sour instead of sweet:

(1) Players: The offensive unit’s lack of execution and talent particularly at QB and the offensive line equated to league worst marks in scoring, yards per game, sacks allowed, and turnovers.

(2) Bad decisions: Shell was responsible for handpicking coaches Tom Walsh (OC), Jackie Slater (O-line) and Ted Dashier (Special Teams Coach). These coaches came up short in terms of leading, teaching, and game planning. The hiring of Walsh in particular was one of Shell’s gravest errors. Walsh’s playcalling, lack of imagination, and inability to make adjustments set the offensive unit back to the stone age.

(3) Personnel Management: Shell’s poor handling of Moss’ radio rants and effort, Porter’s pouting, and Walter’s public complaint about the offense affected team morale and performance.

(4) Game Management: Shell had difficulties with replay challenges, time out usage, and in-game adjustments.

(5) Lack of commitment to the run: Shell preached a return to power, smash mouth football centered on a committed rushing attack. The Raiders never did establish the run and more times than I care to remember, the team abandoned the run in closely contested games.

I know this might sound crazy but I would not be opposed to Shell being kept on staff as the O-Line coach as opposed to a front office role.

I know this idea under most circumstances seems highly unusual but I think it is worth considering for the following reasons;

(1) Shell can concentrate on the one thing he knows best. His experience as an O-line coach (7 yrs. with the Raiders, 2 yrs. with the Chiefs, 4 yrs. with the Falcons) would be a major upgrade over Slater/Eatman.

(2) I sincerely believe that the O-linemen would bust their tails for Shell knowing that they were partly responsible for his demotion.

(3) Shell's Raider heritage, knowledge and loyalty to the organization is still a valued commodity.
(4) Finally, having Shell on the field during training camp, practices, and games is a daily reminder to each player that Shell puts the teams goals first and foremost.

A decision on the new HC could be announced as early as tomorrow. If Rob Ryan is promoted to HC, I would anticipate LB Coach Martindale being promoted to DC. Possible OCs making the speculative rounds on the net are Steve Sarkisian (USC OC) and Marc Trestman (former Raider OC).

If Al goes outside the organization for a HC and keeps Ryan as DC, I think that Denny Green would make sense especially if we draft QB JeMarcus Russell with our 1st round pick. During Denny Green’s tenure at Minnesota, he did an excellent job with grooming Dante Culpepper. In Culpepper’s 1st year as a starter (2000), the Vikings offense was #5 in the league. Culpepper led the Vikes to the NFC Championship in his 1st year as a starter by completing 62% of his passes for 3,937 yards, 33 TD passes. Denny Green coming on board would also be an attempt to get more production out of Moss if Davis intends to keep him on the roster. Other HC candidates on my short list would be Mike Martz (Detroit Lions OC), Jeff Tedford (Cal Berkley) and Bobby Petrino (Louisville)

Although Shell’s immediate future is uncertain, his 28 years of past service to the Raiders should be honored and treasured.

- Art was drafted in the 3rd round out of Maryland Eastern Shores

- Shell played LT for the Raiders for 15 seasons (1968-1982)

- As a player, Shell had the following distinctions; 8 time Pro Bowler, NFL 1970’s All Decade Team; Ranked 55 on Sporting News list of the 100 greatest players; Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989

- Shell coached the Raiders a total of 13 years; 1983-1989 O-Line Coach; 1990-1994 Head Coach; 2006 Head Coach

Thank you Art for your loyal dedication and unquestioned love for the Silver and Black.


Blogger RaiderRealist said...

Spot on, Calico Jack. However, even if they bring in Denny Green as OC, I can't see how we can keep Moss on the roster. Art was held accountable for 2-14, and Moss half-assing his way through multiple games had a hand in that record. I think for our next HC to succeed we've got to clean house and get rid of the malcontents.

There is too much at stake for our future if this next HC fails. Firing Shell after one season sets a bad precedent. Any potential HC would have it in the back of his mind that the Raiders are likely to axe him quick if he has a bad year. So I think Moss(and Porter for that matter) would have to be traded before the draft for additional picks. I know we won't get full value for Moss, but I really believe that we can't afford to run the risk of him not being "happy" again.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Raider Greg said...

I have to disagree with you "Realist"

The Shell firing was necessary and had to happen if you wish to use words like "Commitment to Excellence". A coach that takes a team from 4-12 to 2-14, must GO! As for coaches being afraid to join the Raiders......We do not need them......We need a strong coach that has the vision and guts to take this team to a playoff. If I were a college coach, I would jump at the chance to make the Raiders great again........How much worse can it get?......Even if the new coach goes 5-11, it would be considered a victory and he would get another year to coach at the least.

Raider Greg

2:20 PM  
Anonymous raider00 said...


The Raiders cannot make Shell the 0-line coach.

Unless the culture is really changing, the new HC will already have to accept Freddy B., Willie B., and Ryan(assuming he is not the new HC), on their staff.
You just can't shove Shell down their throat as well.

What would be left for the new HC to do ?? Pick the special teams coach. No one with any credibility would accept the job with these terms.

7:05 PM  
Anonymous Tooz 72 said...

Art Shell is a player legend and an enormously decent man. All he did was answer Al's desperate call when it was clear that no coach candidate wanted the job. He didn't have to. But because of his loyalty to the organization and corresponding belief that Al was behind him, he did what he thought was right.

Sadly, he was destined to fail miserably by two factors. The first is that he is extremely untalented as a head coach. We saw that in his first stint with the team. As his better veterans retired, the team performance declined steadily. But particularly in this modern, show business/celebrity-oriented bizarre world that the NFL has become, he is even farther out of his league.

The second factor is that Al gave him the worst offensive unit ever assembled, complete with two selfish, disobedient and unreliable A-holes. Where was Al in acknowleging this? Nowhere! He ran this decent, respectful and respected man out on a limb, then cut it off. What a horrible way for Shell to learn that he was nothing more than a placeholder.

Farewell, Art. May you find peace and happiness and find yourself surrounded by good friends for a change.

As for the next "coach," you are out of your mind if you think a respected pro or college coach of any caliber will come to the Raiders. A washed up Denny Green, maybe. A middling Division 2 hack, maybe. Rob Ryan, maybe. But a good one like Cowher or Tedford, no way.

Given the rock solid fact that this is true (or am I wrong seeing a pattern in Shell/Turner/Callahan/Bugel/White/Shell, and Al's rejection of the only decent two since Flores -- Shanahan and Gruden, now with 3 Super Bowl rings between them?), we have to set our hopes on Ryan. He fits the whole team loyalty shtick, and is at least an accomplished defensive coordinator. With luck in selecting offensive coaches and a good draft and trades, he might be able to salvage something decent, maybe even start a rebuilding effort. Short of Ryan's ascension, it looks pretty bleak out there.

And by the way, the next time a Matt Leinart is available, how about we pick him? There is a good crop of QB's coming out this year. I'd love to see a young turk kick some butt or have fun trying. At least it would show evidence that somebody has got the interests of the team and fans in mind.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

Good points by all. Let me clarify my blog entry.

As far as HC candidates, I feel that we have basically 1 of 5 possibilities.

(1) Promote from within (ie. Madden, Flores, Shell). In my mind this is the most likely scenario, Ryan being promoted.

(a) If this is the case, do you really think Ryan would have a problem with Shell being on his staff as the O-line coach, Raider00?

(b) Same goes for filling the rest of the staff. Of course you would want Ryan to have input but do you think he would reject Green, Sarkisian, or Trestment if this is what Al wants? Not likely.

(2) Hire a HC candidate w/NFL experience, offensive minded, with ties to the Raiders or established relationship with Al. Denny Green and Jim Fassell fit this bill.

(a) Whether we like it or not, the possibility of Moss coming back are very real. Al obviously has turned a blind eye to Randy's efforts and still thinks he can be a major weapon. Green's relationship with Moss (and hiring)is a factor or variable in whether or not Moss returns.

(3) Hire a HC candidate with NFL experience and offensive minded who is currently either out of football, or working as a OC. (Martz, Mariucci). Martz would make more sense to me.

(4) Hire a college HC with or without NFL experience. (Petrino, Tedford). It is very unlikely that they would accept having their staff picked for them or more importantly, taking a major pay cut.

(5) Hire a wildcard or diamond in the rough; A hot shot, young coach looking to make a name for himself and willing to make up to $2M a year. (ie. QB coach Caldwell at Indy or 32 yr. old Sarkisian at USC). I think Davis relishes the opportunity to uncover a young, hidden talent and is more than willing to take the risk. Sarkisian fits the profile to a T.

When I weed through all the possibilities, 4 candidates rise to the top in terms of viability;
Ryan, Martz, Green, and Sarkisian.

It is also important to point out what I (the fan) wants to happen and what will realistically happen as determined by Al Davis (the owner).

Since Al doesn't seem willing to pay the type of salary a top HC commands or willing to allow a outside HC to pick his staff, this will in fact always limit the pool of applicants.

For the record, I would like to see Moss traded for draft picks. However if he is brought back I certainly would hope a new HC & OC would be able to maximize his talent.

10:05 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

Very good points my friend....even though several times we disagree in the end I have to say you have been on top of things very well...most of my hopes have been dashed to the ground and smashed to goes the NFL and life in general...but I have never been too proud to admit I was wrong...right in my heart with CoachShell but wrong at the end with the it had to happen and I love this team far too much to let my support of it slip in the slightest we press onward and hopeful of a solution...

I would expect to see the young caoch get the is the patern of the past just as with Shell, Shannahan, Gruden, Callihan and I don't remember how old Flores was at the time he was hired....but none of them had been "HC"s before...

My bigest worry is that we lose RobRyan because we bring in someone else instead of promoting him....but if we promote him before he is ready we will lose him anyway because he will fail and none of us want that...A "Poster" on RT's site sugested Ryan for "HC" and bring in his twin brother as "DC"...wouldn't that be nice...the kind of stuff dreams are made than we could resurect an old "Fossel" and bring back BuddyRyan to coaching and it would be the whole damn family...or move him to the front office with the rest of the retired personel so we can insure that we keep his "Boys" for a long time...

Evedently AlDavis wants someone who his players can identfy the "YoungBlood" brings that element with it...and it might not take much to turn things around...all we need is the commitment from the players to play the damn game and we could be close...and with a few very good draft picks and a very weak schedual we could be damn hears hopping for a "Merical"...because we alredy had the our "Dissaster"


11:11 PM  
Blogger Tim Mo said...

Shell was a good man.

9:58 AM  
Blogger R-8-er Mike said...

Really terrific break-down on the season and challenges faced by Art, lucid, factual and objective. But, I must agree with OO, no way Shell can add to the list of members stacked on the 'mandatory' coaching staff.
Also great comments, although perhaps more incendiary! As for coaches, its Ryan or bust. Forget drafting a fresh, young talent, go get me a 'tested and true' guy that can play - and get us a Real top-notch running back to take some of the heat off of him. OC, needs one big-time journey-man, and some real coaches to teach the talent we already have.
The season sucked, but faith prevails.

8:12 PM  
Blogger x said...

I really like the Sarkisian idea. I'd like to learn more about him in terms of personality and coaching style - is he firey? Is he an Xs and Os guy? Is he a teacher? Is he a "player's coach?

What about Sarkisian coming on as the OC?

By the way, don't know what to think about the latest BSPN report that Shoop is being seriously looked at as HC. What I read about his work with players and his enthusiasm definitely excites me, but I how could Al like him so much with that conservative offense he calls. I don't think I saw a pass over 20 yards in the air while he was OC.

Maybe if he's hired as HC, Al will hire a more dynamic OC like Sarkisian or Trestman.

9:07 PM  
Blogger RaiderRealist said...

A lot of the USC fans wanted to run Sarkisian out on a rail after the UCLA game. They feel the guy is not good at making adjustments at halftime(sound familiar?) and that he's not as innovative as Norm Chow.

Also, most credit Chow with making Palmer and Leinart into Heisman Trophy winners. After this year I'd have to agree with that considering that Vince Young played so well in his rookie season when most thought he would have to sit and learn the system.

9:29 PM  
Blogger Calico Jack said...

PR - I'm pretty sure that the Ravens could block Rex Ryan going to the Raiders as a DC since it would be a lateral move and he is under contract.

R-8-er Mike - After further review, you (and others) are probably right about Shell not being retained as O-line coach. My initial suggestion was based on Al retaining him in a capacity that he is most suited to contribute. After reflecting on it more I think everyone is right that it is not a good idea.

X - I like the feedback on Shoop as far as his energy, passion, and willingness to use the players input. I think he would be best suited to be our QB coach if Gannon is not brought on board. Picking him HC over Ryan would be a bad decision.

RaiderRealist - You are right that Chow deserves the lion's share of credit for USC offensive success from 2002-2005. As far as Sarkisian's ability to make adjustments, just look at the 2nd half adjustments made in the Rose Bowl where USC destroyed Michigan by opening up the offense and passing the ball on most snaps. HC Carroll raves about Sarkisian being a bright, talented rising star in the coaching ranks who is clearly on the fast track. Carroll recommended Sarkisian for the AZ St. HC vacancy that was filled by Dennis Erikson. I would love to see the following staff;
Ryan (HC), Martindale (DC), Sarkisian (OC). My 2nd choice would be Green (HC), Ryan (DC), and Sarkisian (OC)

Many folks seem to be forgetting the success and stabilty that the Vikes had under Green's leadership. Here are some numbers to chew on:
Green (HC) - 1992-2001
96-62 record, .610
Playoffs: 92,93,94,96,97,98,99,00
Divisional Titles: 92, 94, 98, 00
NFC Championship Game: 00

9:59 PM  
Blogger PantyRaider said...

BadNews: NO body wants to read but we need to....see at..

To paraphrase:
We have been lookin for da "Mole" in the FrontOffice and there may be one there also....but the one who I think CoachShell was complaining about was on his own staff...

He was interviewed 2 weeks prior to Shell being hired...when Shell got the job it was suposed he would be "OC" but Walsh was hired instead....He than had a "FallingOut" with Shell in February and demoted from QB Coach to coach "TE's...He than resurfaced late in the season as "OC" to replace Walsh and is now reportedly the #1 candidate to replace CoachShell as "HC"....He has now been dispatched by AlDavis to interview Testmen in preperation for an AlDavis interview...and Sarkisian is also interviewing in the process...both are expected to become "OC"s under "SHOOP" Fu',Kin Sick is all that....

When CoachShell met with his staff Friday to say good by "SHOOP" was NOT invited....

I am sad to say it appears worse than speculated by "BR"...the "Inmates" have won...the "TakeOver" is almost compleate...the "Conspiracy" has been we know why it has been so damn difficult to instruct the "O" to play "ShellStyleBall"..Why there has been such a divission by how well the "D" played under Ryan and how the "O" played under "SHOOP"s Malace....and they were evedently willing to through the intire season...and now get rewarded with the #1 pick in the draft...all at Shell's expence....

So what can we expect...Moss-n-Porter will be rewarded for their "Commitment-to-Lousy"...and "DC" Ryan will be undermined because he evidently did not buy into the "Culture" of the "TakeOver"...what a Totally Discusting Mess this Franchise has become if this report is all true....statments were made by Shell's Agent that he was offered a position in the FrontOffice but will probibly NOT accept it..."BornToLoose" is the "WrittingOnDaWall" when Shell was hired...and not because he was out of the game for too long...because he came in to "Abolish" a "Culture" which has become far too powerful in our beloved Raider organization....Where the Hell do we go from here my friends????


9:59 PM  
Blogger RaiderRealist said...

Yes, when they couldn't run the ball in the first half, they said the heck with it and came out throwing. But remember, when Jarrett was hurt the offense struggled. He's a good WR, but the team lacked that offensive balance. They also had an excellent defense that is Pete Carroll's specialty.

Put it this way, USC was a Ferrari with what the fans considered an average driver. But after watching Walsh and then Shoop, I'm open to anybody that can score points. Also, I hope whoever becomes our HC is given the leeway by Al to bring in his own staff(just keep Ryan if he's not the HC) and let him clean house on the offense. At least this year I think the Raiders will move fast and get a coach within the next ten days so he can get his staff together and work on possible trades and who to get in the draft. You can never have to much preparation time.

10:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was at lambert international airport in st louis this morning and just happened to see jim haslett of the rams boarding a flight to oakland. hmmmm....could it be for an interview with big al?

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Tooz 72 said...

From an article in Yahoo! Sports:

"Gruden left a Super Bowl team in place and his Buccaneers beat Bill Callahan's Raiders the following season for the title. Oakland has won just 15 games since, going through three coaches in the past four seasons."

Ouch. But all the more reason to break the cycle and start getting serious.

7:30 AM  

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