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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Oakland Raiders Mini Camp Under Art Shell: "Leadership" and "Accountability" Are Spoken Words

As reported by "RaiderDee" at Raiderfans.net the Oakland Raiders' first mini camp under new head coach Art Shell featured the players using words like "Leadership" and "Accountability" to describe the style of player behavior this year and the coaching staff' approach to player relations.

RaiderDee reports:

"The recurring themes at today's camp were 'everyone's on the same page' and 'this coaching staff let's us know where we all stand.' Offensive lineman Barry Sims expounded on these themes during today's afternoon break. He talked about how he approached coach Shell about being moved to left guard and how he felt he was a better left tackle. Then later, Shell explained that if the team needs him to be a guard, then he'll be a guard. Shell touched on that conversation between he and Sims and confessed that that was what he expected Sims to say. "Barry said, to his credit, he said 'look coach. I think I'm a left tackle. I can play the position, but if you or the team want me to move to guard, I'll do that.' So, that's a credit to him. If he didn't push back, I would be disappointed. He did push back a little bit, but he understands we're doing what we think is best for our football team. We're going to get the best five guys out there that can play."

Barry Sims also spoke about how different the coaching staff was compared to seasons past. The last few seasons, guys were too loose and lacked leadership. He went on to mention how everyone's being held accountable now.

After Art Shell was hired as the 2006 Oakland Raiders Head Coach, there have been many comments on whether or not he and his assistants have been away from the game too long. I would tell you that time away from the game means nothing! If you are a good coach, then you are a good coach. After what I have seen today, I am convinced that this team can make a dramatic turnaround. Today, I witnessed crisp and surprisingly energetic workouts for it to only being a mini-camp. There was a sense of personal pride and fierce competition amongst the players. Moss was pushing the young receivers, Sapp lending his knowledge, and a head coach understanding that mistakes are to be expected as he (Shell) bellowed out a laugh as he patted a rookie player on the back of his helmet a if he were saying, 'I've been there before…it's alright. You'll get the hang of it' finally, a Raider coach 'gets it' Making his players more productive without having to resort to yelling with a dirty scowl (Jon Gruden), chastising its players for every mistake they made and walking off the field between games (Bill Callahan), and without having a fish-out-of-water, confused, bewildered, and befuddled look of utter impotence (Norv Turner). Once again, there is structure, discipline, and focus.

Welcome to the Art Shell Era (part deux)."

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