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Are you with Shoop?

Somebody left a door open. We writers normally have no access to team meetings and film sessions in Alameda, relying instead on coaches and players to replay the occasional anecdote or snippet of conversation. But there is a meeting room off a hallway just outside the media room, separated by a door – and today, someone had propped open the door with a garbage can. I came back from our locker room access time about 12:30 Thursday afternoon, and had… Read More »

More bizarre happenings in Raiderland

This was already shaping up to be a pretty damned interesting week with the long-anticipated demotion of Tom Walsh and promotion of John Shoop to offensive coordinator. Some Raiders – running back LaMont Jordan, in particular – were candid in their assessments of Walsh and Shoop on Wednesday. But when reporters spoke to coach Art Shell after practice this afternoon, on a chilly field in Alameda, we got more intrigue than we had bargained for. After running through the usual… Read More »

Walsh out, Shoop in

Al Davis and/or Art Shell have listened to the hue and cry of Raider Nation. Tom Walsh is out as offensive coordinator and John Shoop, recently the tight ends coach, is in. Fans have been calling for Walsh’s removal virtually all season as the Raiders have fielded an attack that ranks last in the league in most significant statistical categories. Walsh will remain on Shell’s staff, but Shoop will call the plays. I’ll have more in tomorrow’s paper The “illegal… Read More »

In a fine mood

As you probably know by now, the league hit Art Shell with a $12,500 fine this week, fallout from comments he made in reference to an officiating call during the Raiders’ loss to Denver last Sunday. Players and coaches have always had to check their freedom of speech at the door when entering the NFL. You can knock a dude cold on the field of play (as long as he’s not a quarterback), but suggest the officials might have erred… Read More »

Three plays … and out

It was a quiet moment in the Raiders locker room. Running back LaMont Jordan wasn’t ranting or even complaining. In fact, he was complimenting this week’s game plan for the Chiefs, and this is what he said: “I feel good about our running game plan this week. We have a variety of run plays, which I like. Last week I think we went into the game with only three run plays, and I don’t think that was enough.” Excuse me?… Read More »

Rumsfeld, Andrew Walter and O.J.

He actually said it. Art Shell, the increasingly embattled and doubted coach of the Oakland Raiders, was at the podium for his weekly press conference Monday when someone asked him whether Andrew Walter’s post-game pout was the result of frustration. “It ain’t easy, and at times things aren’t going to go your way,” Shell said. “But you’ve got to believe in what you do, you’ve got to stay the course.” Stay the course?? Hasn’t that phrase recently come to encapsulate… Read More »

Carr’s moving violation

It usually takes about a week for new players and coaches joining the Raiders to buy wholeheartedly into the “vast NFL conspiracy” theory, blaming every controversial call on the league’s desire to topple Al Davis and his team. Of course, Art Shell isn’t a new coach, he’s an old one – and an older player – so he probably feels less compunction to join the chorus. More important, Shell had an insiders’ look at NFL officiating when he spent several… Read More »

Gallery down for Broncos game

Just got the inactives list, and Robert Gallery’s name is on it. Gallery strained his groin at the end of practice Thursday and was held out of Friday’s work, so this wasn’t a complete surprise. But coach Art Shell had held out hope his blue-chip offensive lineman would be ready by Sunday, and he wasn’t. Chad Slaughter will start at left tackle in Gallery’s absence, right next to Corey Hulsey, who is filling in for the injured Barry Sims at… Read More »

Jordan’s back flaring up, etc.

The Denver game is sold out, and will be broadcast locally on CBS. It is the Raiders’ fifth consecutive sellout in 2006, the longest streak since 2002. The team’s new ticket sales staff is doing one heck of a job – assuming the stadium isn’t half-filled with active servicemen and wayward teens this Sunday. The bad news is that LaMont Jordan’s back feels worse this week than it did a week ago. The good news is that the Raiders’ starting… Read More »

How can you mend a broken wall?

What can the Raiders do to improve their pass protection? It’s a question we ask coach Art Shell and his offensive linemen every week. We’re sick of asking, and they are sick as hell of trying to come up with an answer. None of the linemen have snapped, but you can see the sour looks on their faces when the subject comes up. So what can be done? Short of sending, Shell, Gene Upshaw and Jim Otto into some Cocoon-like… Read More »