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.