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Monday, November 06, 2006

Raiders Coach Art Shell Willing To Stick With Tom Walsh - And Fall With Him Too

Well, Art Shell really stuck his foot in it. In the article that appears below, he says "I like Tom Walsh." But that's not the way a team wins. Later in the article, Raiders Owner Al Davis says that Tom Walsh "Is a bright guy. You'll see that in time."


It only takes a few moments of time for any level of intellectual greatness to emerge in any field of endeavor, and that includes football. What are the Raiders going to do, wait until they have the personel to win with whatever Tom Walsh does? That's silly and will never happen.

It's appearent that the only way Tom Walsh knows what he's doing is because Al Davis and Art Shell don't know what they're doing, and they hired the guy.

Look, your offensive scheme either works, or it doesn't work. There's nothing in between. Thus we see a textbook example of failure. Making a terrible decision based on blind loyalty and sticking with it because of -- yep -- blind loyalty. There's nothing in Tom Walsh's "system" to suggest greatness or innovation. There's not a single NFL coach or GM that's willing to stick their neck out and say the Raiders Offensive system is the best in the NFL.

And the numbers prove it's not. If this keeps up, Bill Walsh will ask Tom Walsh to stop using his last name.

So watching the Raiders Offense is going to be a form of torture for a while. As long as this management-by-friendship continues, Shell will ultimately produce a losing team and avoid giving young black offensive minds any chance to show that they really do know what they're doing.

And I'm not talking about running bed-and-breakfast homes.


Shell stands by his coach
Raiders' Walsh is still upbeat
David White, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, November 6, 2006

Offensive coordinator Tom Walsh is in charge when the Raiders have the ball. Off the practice field, you can usually find him smiling and strolling, but it can't possibly be connected to production levels.

Going into Sunday, his overall offense -- or the Al Davis offense, if the boss still wants his name attached to this -- is ranked 32nd in a 32-team league, making it just as bad in the NFL as the team's passing offense.

The Raiders are last in yards per play.

And, rushing yards per carry.

Also, passing yards per net play.

Don't forget interceptions per throw, or giveaways all together.

Or, sacks per pass play.

First downs per game, too.

Plus, for those into scoreboards, the Raiders have produced the fewest offensive points in the NFL.

So, why does Walsh look like the happiest man in Alameda this 2-5 season?

Maybe because his immediate supervisor is thrilled with him.

"Yes, I am," Raiders coach Art Shell said.

Never mind that you have a tough time getting a starter to praise Walsh beyond calling him cool or a nice guy.

Forget that Warren Sapp, the unafraid team leader, half-joked about Walsh "flipping pancakes" the last time a pass to an offensive tackle scored, making Sapp the umpteenth person to drop a bed-and-breakfast reference on the pride of Swan Valley, Idaho, where Walsh ran a B&B during a lengthy break from football.

Lay aside the dumbfounded employees within the hierarchy, one of whom described the Raiders' offense as "an absolute embarrassment" under Walsh. The daily e-mail bag produces ALL-CAPS requests for Walsh to be the NFL's fourth offensive coordinator canned this season.

Walsh can't defend himself. Shell hasn't allowed media access since Walsh sat down with reporters during training camp to discuss Sega games, Ronald Reagan and chicken Marsala.

So, Shell does the standing up for him.

"I like Tom Walsh," Shell said, tersely enunciating every syllable. "Tom Walsh has been with me for a long time. I like what he does. Everybody criticizes the guy, but the guy is a very smart guy. The guy knows exactly what he's doing."

But, Walsh's offense has not scored a touchdown in four out of seven games. Wind and sideways rain tonight in Seattle might make matters even more difficult for his charges.

"There's a whole lot of so-called geniuses in this league, too, and they're not doing as well as a lot of other people think they should," Shell said. "Tom Walsh can coach. I trust him."

That last sentence explains everything.

Walsh and Shell go way back, and Shell is ever the loyalist.

Walsh was Shell's play-caller during his first run as Raiders head coach, all the way up to the day Shell was fired after the 1994 season. They were co-assistants from 1983-89.

Shell decided long ago that if ever got another head coaching job, Walsh would be his right-hand man. Shell made good when the Raiders re-hired him in February, even though Walsh had been out of the NFL for 12 years, serving as mayor in small-town Idaho and running that B&B.

Nothing is going to change Shell's mind at midseason, and Davis is the only person with overriding power. For now, Davis is backing Shell.

"Tom Walsh is tremendously bright," Davis said in August during his most recent interview. "You will find that out over time."

It's taking time, no doubt.

Walsh has worked with second-year quarterback Andrew Walter since Aaron Brooks went down with a bruised pectoral muscle in Week 2.

He didn't have wide receiver Jerry Porter at his disposal until last week, and lost another key receiver, Doug Gabriel, in a late-August trade to New England, where the player has 22 catches for 302 yards and three touchdowns.

The offensive line hasn't pass-protected, running back LaMont Jordan is off the 1,000-yard pace and star attraction Randy Moss is suddenly dropping balls.

So, it's not as if Walsh is dealing with overachievers, but still.

Walsh calls the plays. There's no truth to rumors that tight ends coach John Shoop -- the former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator -- has assumed some play-calling duties, a team source said.

If results don't change soon, it's only a matter of time before players stop speaking in subtle code for "This reeks."

"At times, we're just banging our head against the wall," Walter said. "We need to shake it up, I believe. It's been frustrating and certainly we need to get better.

"I'm a player. I try to play. Certainly, coaches can answer that better than myself, but I know we need to do something different."

Time To Praise Indianapolis Colts' Head Coach Tony Dungy

Almost every week -- in fact of late every week -- we hear or read about how great New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick is or how many rings he has. Last week, all we listened to was how Belichick was going to come out with a mad-scientist-level game plan for the Colts game. Or if it's not Bill Belichick, it's Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Bill Parcells. Yes, I know both have a combined total of five Super Bowl rings, but there's one coach who has the second highest winning percentage of all NFL head coaches from 1999 to 2005 according to NFL.com, and has won a remarkable 30 of his last 33 regular-season games. This coach just beat Bill Belichick for the second consecutive year.

Indianapolis Colts' Head Coach Tony Dungy.

No, Tony doens't have the rings, and he's not flashy or given to the loud shout or the quick quip, or even the use of weird hair gel. But what Tony has is a steady temperment and the kind of focus, determination, and managerial accumen that has few peers.

Managerial acumen? Yeah.

Think about it. Tony stays in the background of his team's glorious stars like Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Bob Sanders, Dwight Freeney, and many others. He has a group of talented assistants like Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore and Defensive Coordinator Ron Meeks. They all do their jobs well and gain praise -- especially Manning, who may be the best quarterback of the 21st Century. But at the end of the game, they all turn to Dungy. As Manning said after the Denver Broncos game, Dungy is a calming force while your in the middle of a game. Reminding you of what to do in certain situations.

Like the late Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry, Dungy calls on his faith in God for guidance and calm. It certainly helped him last year with the passing of his son James. And it was during that most trying of times that America saw just how much this "All-Pro Dad" was loved by everyone in the NFL and in sports.

Dungy is also an incredible role model, especially for African American young men. It's a true and rare event to see the national TV cameras pointed at a black male leader of a team headed for a remarkable record. But it's a welcome and much needed image, and one that Dungy's fully aware of. But with that, Dungy does not seek the spotlight. He's not on every talk show. He's not trying to upstage his star quarterback. He's not a fixture on the NFL Network -- except when the Colts win.

What everyone is seeing this year is just how good Dungy is at leading and managing his on-the-field organization. And now, as we begin talking about the Colts driving toward perfection, it's time to praise Tony Dungy.

Indianapolis Colts' Perfect - Beat New England Patriots 27-20 - Indy Star

Prime-time punchout

By Phil Richards

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Peyton Manning piled up the big numbers but the Indianapolis Colts' much-maligned defense made a bunch of the big plays Sunday as it contributed five takeaways to the Colts' 27-20 victory over the New England Patriots at rowdy, chilly Gillette Stadium.

It's only midseason, but the Colts' 30th victory in their past 33 regular-season games pushed them to 8-0 and gave them what amounts to a three-game lead on the Patriots (6-2) in the chase for the AFC's No. 1 playoff seed, because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Colts are at least two games ahead of everyone else in the conference and remained three up on Jacksonville (5-3) in the AFC South.

It was the Colts' second consecutive victory at New England after a run of nine losses in succession here.

Manning completed 20-of-36 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns to become only the second Colts quarterback to throw for 300 yards in three consecutive games. John Unitas did it in 1963.

"You have to win as a team," Manning told an NBC reporter after the game. "You can't win playing as an individual against these guys."

The Colts embodied team. On a night when they were outrushed 148 yards to 53, the defense kept taking the football away.
Defensive tackle Raheem Brock forced and recovered a fumble. Safety Antoine Bethea intercepted one pass in the Colts end zone. Safety Bob Sanders stole another at the Colts 3-yard line.

The second of linebacker Cato June's pair of interceptions came on a pass that deflected off Patriots running back Kevin Faulk and put the game away. It came with 1:18 to play with New England driving and at the Colts 39.

"They were around the ball," Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said. "They've got good aggressiveness on defense. They got their hands on it. They didn't drop any."

Adam Vinatieri, who played the first 10 years of his career for New England before signing with the Colts as a free agent in March, had a forgettable homecoming night. He converted 23- and 31-yard field goals but missed from 37 and 46. He was booed throughout by the sellout crowd of 68,756.

Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison caught eight passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. It was his seventh 100-yard game against the Patriots, two more than he has against any other NFL team.

Harrison's most spectacular catch was for the third-quarter game-winner, the touchdown that gave the Colts a 24-14 lead. He beat cornerback Eric Hobbs into the end zone. Harrison stretched with his left hand, tipped Manning's pass, then gathered it in and got both feet down before he fell out of bounds.

It was touch, artistry, ballet. And it came against one of the NFL's top defenses.

New England hadn't permitted a touchdown in its past two games and was the only team in the league that hadn't allowed an opponent to score more than 17 points in a game all season.

"The thing I like about our team is we're finding different ways to win," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "We're still not playing our best."

Manning came into the game on a roll. In victories over Washington and Denver, he had thrown for 342 yards and four touchdowns and 345 yards and three touchdowns, respectively.

After missing his first two passes Sunday, he hit his next nine for 140 yards and two touchdowns as the Colts took a 14-7 lead.

"We had them in a chase position most of the night," Manning said. "That was part of the plan and it worked out well for us."

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