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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."


Johnny said...

Wow, I didn't realize tha "Raidas" were last in so many catigories. I wish Art Shell would sho some emotion too. He looks bored man. I been playin this game called AirPlay on my phone tho. If you into fantasy sports its cool. Predictin plays on television and competin with fools. I'M OUT!

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