Battle Of The Bay...

Angry Pope

All Raider
Feb 2, 2006
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Battle of the Bay 2006

The Oakland Raiders, The Team of the Decades and members of the American Football Conference Western Division, face the National Football Conference Western Division San Francisco 49ers this Sunday in their first preseason home game. This marks the third preseason game for the Raiders and the second for the 49ers.

TELEVISION: This week's game will be televised locally on KTVU FOX 2, with Grant Napear handling play-by-play, Raider Legend Jim Plunkett and veteran football analyst and former college and NFL coach Artie Gigantino as color analysts. Raider Legend George Atkinson will handle sideline reporting duties while Jim Gray will serve as host of the telecast.

RADIO: KSFO 560 AM is the Raiders flagship for the multi-state Raiders Radio Network. Greg Papa and former Raiders player, assistant and head coach Tom Flores will man the booth for the 10th straight year. The pregame show and postgame show will feature Raider Legends George Atkinson and David Humm along with KGO's Rich Walcoff.

RAIDERS-49ERS SERIES: This game marks the 34th preseason game between the Raiders and 49ers. The Raiders lead the preseason series, 17-16, with the first contest having been played in 1967. This is the sixth straight year the Bay Area teams will have played in the preseason. The teams previously met in the preseason in home-and-away contests for consecutive years from 1976-93. The Raiders hold a 6-4 advantage over the 49ers in regular season action since the teams first met in 1970 in Oakland.

LAST TIME, PRESEASON: The Raiders lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 21-13, in the preseason opener for both teams on August 13, 2005.

LAST WEEK: The Oakland Raiders defeated the Minnesota Vikings 16-13 at the Metrodome in Minneapolis and improved to 2-0 in the 2006 preseason.


RAIDERS: Player personnel executive Kent McCloughan's sons, Scot and David, work in the 49ers' personnel department... Rookie WR John Madsen and 49ers QB Alex Smith both played for Utah...K David Kimball played for Penn State with 49ers DT Anthony Adams and RB Michael Robinson...LB Grant Irons and 49ers DE Lance Legree and WR Arnaz Battle were teammates at Notre Dame...P Shane Lechler played with 49ers CB Sammy Davis at Texas A&M...Rookie TE Derek Miller played for Maryland with 49ers rookie TE Vernon Davis...CB Nnamdi Asomugha and T Langston Walker both spent time at Cal with 49ers DE Jerry DeLoach...DT Tommy Kelly played for Mississippi State with 49ers DT Ronald Fields...DT Bryant McNeal and 49ers WR Derrick Hamilton played together at Clemson...DT Rashad Moore and 49ers DE Parys Haralson were teammates at Tennessee...LB Timi Wusu and 49ers T Kwame Harris both played for Stanford...RB Lamont Jordan played for Maryland with 49ers QB Shaun Hill...QB Marques Tuiasosopo and 49ers S Tony Parrish were teammates at Washington as were FB Zach Tuiasosopo and 49ers CB Derrick Johnson...RB ReShard Lee played for Middle Tennessee State with 49ers rookie DT Bobby Payne...RB Justin Fargas played with 49ers CB Kris Richard at USC...T Robert Gallery was teammates with 49ers G Ben Sobieski at Iowa...DT Anttaj Hawthorne played with both 49ers CB B.J. Tucker and WR Brandon Williams at Wisconsin.

49ERS: Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner was head coach for the Raiders 2004-05...Running backs coach Bishop Harris was an assistant with the Raiders during 1995-97...K Joe Nedney played for the Raiders in 1999...C Jeremy Newberry was born in Antioch.


LECHLER LETS LOOSE - AGAIN: Shane Lechler's 53.4 yards per punt average against Minnesota on 8-14-06 was still short of the Raider record set by Lechler on 12-24-05 against Denver when the punter averaged 59 yards a kick. Five of the last six years he has averaged more than 45.6 yards per kick. He is the NFL's all-time leader in punting average entering the 2006 season.

SEA BASS GETTING HIS KICKS: Sebastian Janikowski is off to a perfect start this preseason. He is six-for-six on field goal attempts, including three from 50 yards and beyond. His 55-yard field goal last Monday night at Minnesota matched his Raider record for the longest field goal made in the regular season (11-2-03 at Detroit) and his career long. Janikowski is the Raider leader in field goal accuracy entering 2005 at an 80.8 percent clip. Janikowski has scored over 100 points five of the last six seasons and has led the Raiders in scoring in each of his pro campaigns.

JOHNNIE ON THE SPOT: Johnnie Morant had the best game of the preseason for any Raider wide receiver, catching five balls for 108 yards including a touchdown on a picturesque 67-yard strike from QB Andrew Walter last Monday at Minnesota.

CARR IS SOUPED UP: Chris Carr returned a kickoff 60 yards against Minnesota in the Raiders second preseason game versus the Vikings. Carr, who also plays in the secondary, was an undrafted free agent out of Boise State signed before the 2005 season, and played in every game as the primary return specialist for the Raiders, averaging over 24 yards a kickoff return.
Whether it is the regular season or the preseason, I so love beating this team (even at a charity basketball game). I don't want Norv to feel one bit of satisfaction for having beat us.
I don't like the 49er's much but as far as a rivalry goes they're nothing compared to KC nd Dencer. Not even close.
Everyone on my sister-in-laws side of the family is a 49ers fan although, as with the San Francisco Giants, they are only interested when they are good. Anything that quiets them badmouthing my Raiders and anything less to cheer about with the 49ers makes me giddy.
A matchup for the preseason ages

Ray Ratto

Friday, August 18, 2006

Finally, the earth around Alex Smith has cooled a little, and the beyond-rave reviews he's received in the last week for finally showing that he might actually be a legitimate NFL quarterback have eased a bit.

Just in time, as it turns out, to be pitted against the Raiders' Aaron Brooks, who's had two practice games at his new post and shown, well, nothing.

The contrast is intriguing ... at least as close to intriguing as exhibition football can manage ... because Brooks' current sins are being ladled onto his up-and-down career in New Orleans, while Smith is benefiting tremendously from his emaciated body of work in San Francisco.

Put another way, Brooks is going into Sunday's game having convinced none of the Raider faithful that he's the guy for this thankless job, while Smith has already morphed into Tommy, the deaf dumb and blind pinball wizard from The Who rock opera of the same name who is suddenly cured of his afflictions and turned into a national phenomenon.

You know, sort of like Paris Hilton before she first spoke.

This is a remarkable thing to view from the safety of distance, because it takes as fact three pretty dodgy suppositions:

-- 1) that the first practice game tells us something meaningful about anything;

-- 2) that Smith's work against Chicago was exemplary on its own without any contributions from the Bears;

-- and 3) that this is all the proof you need to see that the 49ers have solved their quarterback issues.

But head coach Mike Nolan, who is more invested than any of you in the care and feeding of Smith's psyche, seems to get it. He is realistic enough to know how illusory 16-for-21 for 137 yards and no interceptions in early August is, but he also knows that a 92.8 quarterback rating off the first practice game is still going to draw more bees than a 40.8 rating after one year of real games.

"Look, 49er fans want to win, they want a hero," he said. "Last year was difficult ... the last few years have been difficult. But they had high hopes for him last year that weren't entirely realized, so that when he does well, it's like, 'yes!' It's preseason. They want good news. Why not?"

Well, he has a point there. Of course, if you're that invested in August football, you may want to take in a meeting or two, but that's between you and your clergyman.

Point is, in the public eye, Smith went from one of the worst rookie quarterbacks ever to a semi-Carson Palmer awfully quick. There is much to do with him and his teammates still; even Nolan, in assessing the 49ers' current state, said "on a scale of 1 to 10 from the start of last year, we're 2 1/2, but we can see strides."

Strides ... now there's a radical departure from the norm.

Brooks, on the other hand, is paying many dues now, many of which weren't his fault. Maybe this is the price for not being Vince Young, who the Raiders couldn't get, or Matt Leinart, who the Raiders weren't sufficiently interested in acquiring. Maybe this is the price for following Kerry Collins, who was chased out of town for the crime of having two pretty brutal years. Surely, this is the price for having played two preseason games and compiling a quarterback rating of 37.5, which was lower than Smith's last year.

Two completions in nine throws will cause a lot of folks to jump to conclusions though, and most of those conclusions will be unkind. Fantasy football has reduced the ability for critical thinking to the point where every down is given equal importance even though it is still August, so maybe Brooks wasn't destined to be given much of a chance in Oakland.

Or maybe Raider fans have a more jaundiced eye about their team than their more tolerant and hazier brethren across the bay. Maybe they demand more. Maybe they got their socks in a bunch on draft day and will never forgive Brooks for being signed (yeah, like it was his fault someone offered him money), instead of Leinart or even Jay Cutler. Maybe all will be forgiven as soon as he can stay upright long enough to find Randy Moss behind the 49ers' secondary.

Whatever the reason, Sunday's game in Oakland will almost certainly define Brooks for Raider fans, because he came to town on a wave of skepticism even from the truest believers, and three games of nothing would be exponentially worse than two.

Smith, on the other hand, has all but been declared cured of all the things that allegedly ailed him last year -- even, apparently, his small hands. And no, please don't tell us how he managed to make his hands bigger over one offseason -- we have enough inexplicable athlete behavior to figure out already, thank you.

Why, one can only imagine how hysterical it's going to get around here if he takes advantage of what was last year's 27th-best defense and goes, say, 17-for-22 for 138 yards Sunday. I mean, if you can be forgiven after one good game around here, what comes after two, Canton? Heaven? Endorsements?

But we may be overthinking this. Maybe it's just like Nolan said, and you can fashion any question you want onto this simple answer.

"Why not?"

Can't say that we have a response for that one yet. Maybe we'll just wait until some better and more useful data comes in.
Raiders-49ers rivalry endures cooling trend

By Jim Jenkins
Published 12:01 am PDT Sunday, August 20, 2006

When Hall of Fame center Jim Otto played for the Raiders from 1960 to 1974, he made no secret of his intense dislike for the cross-bay 49ers.
Whether in a game, socializing at the same Bay Area night spots, or at a Raiders-49ers charity basketball game, San Francisco players could expect to be hassled.

Assistant coaches even got into it. As the Raiders' Charlie Sumner and the 49ers' Sam Wyche came off the field after a 1981 exhibition game, they became embroiled in a heated argument that ended with Sumner punching Wyche in the mouth.

"We hated the 49ers," says Otto, now a Raiders administrator whose dislike for the 49ers hasn't softened much.
Much has changed since the good old days, of course. Although today's renewal of the so-called "Battle of the Bay" still generates interest, it's not the rivalry it used to be.

The Raiders' stay in Los Angeles from 1982 through the 1994 season diluted the competition between the two organizations.

Many of the current players with Oakland and San Francisco were born around the time when the Bay Area had only one team.

The NFL isn't the same, either, and that has had an effect. Ever-changing rosters -- driven by free agency and the salary cap -- are a far cry from the continuity of how teams used to be.

Talk to today's players, and they shrug their shoulders on the subject of local rivalries. Sure, they know it's important to the owners and fans. As for themselves, they're pretty much detached.

That is not to say Raiders owner Al Davis doesn't care about coming out on top when his team plays the 49ers. But let the Raiders beat Denver or Kansas City, longtime division adversaries, and watch his reaction.

The 49ers and Raiders play a regular-season game Oct. 8 in San Francisco. Nevertheless, today's exhibition game is significant for a couple of reasons.

There's the coaching angle. Art Shell, a Hall of Fame tackle for the Raiders, is back for the second time as their head coach but the first in Oakland, where he starred as a player. Also, the coach he replaced, Norv Turner, will be back at McAfee Coliseum for the first time since Davis fired him in January. Turner returns as the 49ers' offensive coordinator.

There also is the matter of attendance. The Raiders hardly want to lay an egg in their opening home game after taking control of their ticket sales for the first time since returning to Oakland.

The Raiders' front office indicates that season-ticket sales are running ahead of previous years' sales that fell under a chaotic ticket agency operation.

How far ahead sales are, no one has said, except plenty of tickets remain for today's game. The potential exists for a rare sellout.

The global touch

The Dallas Cowboys, because of their winning tradition and widespread popularity, label themselves as "America's Team." But when it comes to attracting and developing a fan-base outside the U.S. borders, the Raiders are unsurpassed.

They have played exhibition games in London, Spain, Japan and Mexico City, and the team's Web site has language links in Spanish, Chinese and German.

In keeping with their international interest, the Raiders routinely invite coaches from foreign countries to their training camp. Three who were invited to Napa this summer came from Mexico, Germany and China.

While Mexico and Germany have longstanding ties to the NFL, China's representative, Tang Hai-yan, is from a country that doesn't know much about the sport. Hai-yan coaches flag -- not tackle -- football for children 14 and under in China, where exposure to pro football has been limited to the global telecast of the Super Bowl.

Envious of the NBA's immense following in China, the NFL sees a potential for fan growth and marketing opportunities in the world's biggest country, with an approximate population of 1.3 billion. Hai-yan, 25, also sees the possibilities, perhaps even a preseason game there someday.

"It will take time for interest to grow, but more kids are getting involved," he said through an interpreter. "Right now it is five-on-five football, but already kids are downloading pictures of their favorite players on computers and cell phones."

Up from the bottom

If nothing else, Eric Heitmann is a survivor.

Drafted in the seventh round by the 49ers in 2002, the former Stanford offensive lineman has watched high pick after high pick -- five first-rounders alone since the first of the year -- disappear from the locker room. But he enters this season as the apparent successor to injury-plagued center Jeremy Newberry.

Heitmann has started every game the past two seasons, alternating between guard and center. He has become a fixture, bucking the odds.

"I guess it's surprising to some people that I'm still here and so many high picks aren't anymore," said Heitmann in reference to second-year coach Mike Nolan ridding the team of selections he didn't make. "Then again, I've never looked at myself as a seventh-round pick. Injuries had a lot to do (with) where I was drafted. A lot of people knew that. I just continued to work hard and waited for my chance."

Said Nolan: "Eric is tough. He's smart. That's what I saw. Guys respond to him."
Low expectations mean glass is half-full

Gwen Knapp

Already, the Raiders and 49ers, near the bottom of the standings a year ago, have become the leaders in the NFL for 2006. They have, in combination, achieved the nearly impossible. They have made the preseason seem practically relevant.

It certainly says something about the Raiders that the most aggressive part of the Oakland offense so far has been Randy Moss' statement of disapproval after he was removed too fast for his liking in Minnesota last week. Compounded with Jerry Porter's trade demand, the Moss commentary constitutes high drama.

In fact, discontent in the preseason says a lot more than pronouncements of unhappiness in a dismal December. By then, a cranky quote is more redundant than informative. The standings have already spoken. For the last three Decembers in the Bay Area, they have pronounced both teams utterly unfit for the playoffs.

On the field, the Raiders' two preseason games have sent the mixed messages that everyone expects from August in the NFL. They have played torpid football and won both times.

So no one would dare bill tonight's meeting between the Bay Area teams as a battle of unbeatens. The won-loss column for the preseason will never be significant.

Before last week, I'd have said the final scores didn't matter, either, but after watching the 49ers' offense score 28 points (more than the team scored in Games 12, 13 and 14 combined last year) in its opener against the Bears, I realized that a shutout would have been considered very meaningful.

The stats generally say very little, especially from veterans biding their time and protecting their bodies for the real thing. But can anyone seriously argue that Aaron Brooks' total of two completions over two games carries no weight? At the very least, the number is rather suggestive, certainly enough to trigger a case of déjà vu among anyone who followed his career in New Orleans. By the time Brooks left the game in Minnesota last week, the chance of a renaissance in Oakland looked more distant than ever.

S0 all the typical caveats about the preseason aside, tonight ought to be very interesting.

If Alex Smith duplicates his performance against Chicago, 49ers fans will have every right to feel the kind of euphoria that comes with the first breath after a long spell under water. The Raiders' defense lacks the credentials of the Bears', but has looked better in the two preseason games than it did most of last year. Smith, on the other hand, didn't look better. He looked completely different.

His stats, 16-of-21 passing for 137 yards in the half he played, were impressive, but they weren't the reason Smith received so many raves last week. He met the Supreme Court jurist's definition of porn as applied to quarterbacking legitimacy: You know it when you see it.

Even Smith's five incompletions held promise; he knew when and how to get rid of the ball.

Now, does that make him Joe Montana? No. Steve Young? No. Jeff Garcia? No.

It just makes him quite possibly not the kid who could barely hold onto the ball last year, or a potential sinkhole for millions in salary-cap money.

The 49ers' defense has almost nothing to gain from this game. If the Raiders' offense plays as poorly as the last two weeks, and as most of last season, the 49ers won't get credit for much. They won't even get much of a learning experience. A video-game simulation might test them more. But if Moss and Brooks and Lamont Jordan take off, nobody will be able to give the 49ers the benefit of the doubt that used to come with being roasted by Randy Moss. He has been too consistently invisible in Oakland to retain his status as the receiver who can make any defense look weak.

Of course, Art Shell may make a point of flushing Moss out of hiding, setting him up as the centerpiece of the game plan. It wouldn't be a bad idea, but Shell may resist creating even the appearance that he has yielded to a complaining player. Unlike the past two Raiders coaches, Bill Callahan and Norv Turner, he doesn't aim for dull diplomacy.

When he canceled practice on Thursday, saying that the team wasn't working hard enough, Shell added another layer of interest to tonight's game. Let's just hope the regular season has as much drama.

49ers at Raiders
When: 5 p.m. today

TV: Channel: 2 Channel: 5 Channel: 13 Channel: 46

Radio: 1050 AM, 560 AM
The first part of a story on Norv...

Raiders not really hot topic for Norv
49ers aide Turner prefers to focus on current job, not former

By Roger Phillips

SANTA CLARA — Norv Turner was not here to talk about the past, even though this was hardly a Mark McGwire situation and he was not under oath to discuss past malfeasances before a congressional hearing.
The San Francisco 49ers' new offensive coordinator may be an adherent to the vertical passing game, but he spent a few minutes the other day not going deep when asked about his previous job as the coach of the Raiders.

Turner's new team will visit his old team today at 5 p.m. in a preseason matchup. The teams also will meet during the regular season, Oct.8 at Monster Park.

"Obviously I'm human," Turner said when asked to predict his emotions when he steps onto the Coliseum field today. "You go back to a place where you coached a year ago, there are feelings. I've got a lot of fond memories of those players, and I care a lot about them."

Of course, not all the memories are fond ones. Turner's Raiders teams posted a dismal 9-23record in two seasons. The Raiders were 30-21 losers to the New York Giants in his final game, last New Year's Eve at the Coliseum. Turner addressed his players after the game, but star receiver Randy Moss was already out of the locker room by then and on the way to his car.

This week, Turner spoke briefly of the fact that he grew up in Martinez and had been attending games at the Coliseum since he was 10 years old.

In response to a question, he said he spoke to Raiders owner Al Davis at the recent Hall of Fame ceremonies and would speak to him again if their paths happen to cross today.

He said the excitement of facing the Raiders would come in October, because that will be a regular-season game.

After less than three minutes, Turner was ready to end the Raiders-intensive interview. He said he had expected to discuss his current team, not his previous one, and he began to move toward the 49ers' locker room. ..........
Shell to coach Raiders for first time at home

Sunday, August 20, 2006 1:18 AM PDT

OAKLAND — The Oakland Coliseum is notorious as a stadium that’s unfriendly to the Raiders’ opponents.

Just ask Art Shell.

Even though he was one of the franchise’s greatest players, Shell still got to experience the visitors’ treatment three times as an assistant with Kansas City and Atlanta.

“I remember coming in on the bus, somebody threw an egg at the bus, but hey, it happens when you go elsewhere,” Shell said. “Other stadiums, those things happen. I remember when we used to go to Denver, they would throw snowballs and oranges at us. Hey, that’s OK. They’re good fans.”

Shell knows the reaction will be much more positive today, when he will be part of the Silver and Black for a game in Oakland for the first time since the end of the 1981 season.

The Raiders moved to Los Angeles following Shell’s penultimate season as a player and his 51⁄2 years as head coach of the team came before owner Al Davis moved the team back to Oakland.

Shell was hired for his second stint as coach in February. After winning his first two preseason games away from home, Shell finally gets his first chance as a head coach at the stadium where he played most of his Hall of Fame career when the Raiders host the San Francisco 49ers.

“It’s going to mean a lot,” he said. “Coming back home, being in front of the rabid fans that we have, the loyal fans that we have, it’s a great group of people to be in front of and have cheer for you. I know you go around the country and everybody talks about, one of the worst places you can play is Oakland, because of the noise and the fans. The fans kind of intimidate people sometimes. But we have to go out and play well to give our fans something to cheer about.”

There hasn’t been much to cheer about for the Raiders in recent years. They are 13-35 have the past three seasons, including 15 losses at the Coliseum. It’s a far cry from Shell’s days as a player, when the Raiders went 86-23-2 in Oakland.

Davis hired Shell in part to help return the Raiders to the style of play that was so successful in the 1970s. The team has won its first two exhibition games but has not looked sharp.

“I’m looking forward to it because one thing they keep saying is how they’re going to bring back the old-school toughness,” 49ers coach Mike Nolan said. “That’ll be a challenge for us. So we’ll see if they have gotten tougher. ... We’ll see what Art has got going over there.”

The game also marks the home debut for Raiders quarterback Aaron Brooks and the return of former coach Norv Turner, who was hired as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator after being fired by Davis in January.

“You can tell how much (Turner) does for us, just in the first few weeks of practice,” 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said. “There’s so much I’ve learned from him already, I can’t even say it all. He gives you experience, and I just feel confident with him in charge of it.”
We’re talkin’ ’bout practice

August 20th, 2006
By Jerry McDonald

OAKLAND _ Before getting too deep into the Raiders’ 23-7 win over the 49ers Sunday night, let’s take a moment to review a pet peeve with regard to how NFL coaches treat exhibition football.

Example 1: Alex Smith finally has something going for the 49ers after a 46-yard strike to Antonio Bryant to the Oakland 38. A 2-yard run two incomplete passes later, the 49ers are faced with fourth-and-8 at the Oakland 36 with 1:48 to play.

Coach Mike Nolan had two choices _ trot out Joe Nedney for a 54-yard field goal attempt or let Smith take a shot at getting the first down.

You tell me which is more beneficial in the long run. Nedney is an established kicker _ the 49ers only reliable player a year ago. The snap, spot and kick is one of football’s most basic plays.

Smith, who has had a rough half after an encouraging game the previous week, needs experience at do-or-die plays. Here’s a chance to run a play against a fourth-and-8 in a two-minute drill.

Nolan trots out the field goal team. Nedney misses the kick. Even if he makes it, what’s the point?

The 49ers gained nothing in terms of developing a the quarterback who holds the team’s future in his hands.

Example 2: On the next possession, Aaron Brooks hits a 39-yard pass to Randal Williams to the San Francisco 11-yard line. He spikes the ball to stop the clock with 1:13 to play.

After one incompletion and a 6-yard flip to Justin Fargas, the Raiders have fourth-and-goal at the 49ers’ 5-yard line. The Raiders let the clock run to 20 seconds, then call time out to set up a 23-yard field goal attempt by Sebastian Janikowski.

Is there anyone out there who thinks Janikowski will miss from 23 yards?

Of course not. He makes it, and the Raiders lead 10-0.

Since that’s a play the Raiders already know they can make, the better option is to go for the touchdown. Go ahead and simulate a situation where a field goal does you no good and see if Brooks and Co. can stick it in the end zone.

To Shell’s credit, on the opening drive of the third quarter, the Raiders were faced with a fourth-and-1 at the San Francisco 21 and let Justin Fargas gain 2 yards for a first down rather than attempt another field goal.

Preseason is the only time in professional sports I’d subscribe to the theory that, “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.'’ And playing the game the right way, in the preseason, is using the time to find out things you don’t already know.

Other observations from Sunday night:

— Shell and his team didn’t make too much of the offensive performance. If they weren’t relieved, then their fans must be. Heck, I have no stake in the Raiders and I was relieved.

The dismal performances on offense in the first two preseason games have almost been matched in many practice sessions. No matter how skeptical you believe the media to be, no one wants to watch football that bad on a regular basis.

– Shell is probably most gratified by the fact that his team was clearly the more physical of the two _ the Raiders got the better of the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

– Randy Moss, Doug Gabriel and Alvis Whitted appear to be locks. Johnnie Morant would appear to be close. Two more spots left at wide receiver, three at the most. There’s Jerry Porter, Kevin McMahan, Will Buchanon and Carlos Francis.

Then there’s Ronald Curry, anxiously awaiting activation from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

You wonder if the Raiders can’t find a deal they like for Porter if they’d try and get something for Morant.

— Oakland’s running game can get better. The Raiders averaged only 3.8 yards per carry and taht included a 25-yard run from Brooks on a scramble.

— Michael Huff’s 44-yard interception return, followed by a twisted ankle, underscored the good and the bad of the Oakland defense. They’ve got enough quality starters to be a decent defense. Lose a few of the important ones and they’re in deep trouble in the AFC West.

— Picking two tight ends to go along with Courtney Anderson is one of Shell’s most interesting dilemmas.

Randal Williams would seem to be solid at No. 2, based on how much he played the last two weeks. If that’s the case, it’s Marcellus Rivers, O.J. Santiago, John Madsen and Derek Miller fighting for one spot.

Rivers and Santiago have NFL experience, and Madsen could maybe use some time on the practice squad. But teams can claim players from the practice squad of another team at any time, and Madsen could draw interest. He is already an NFL quality receiver.

One way to keep Madsen around is if the Raiders settle on a lreserve lineman to serve as a tight end in obvious running situations. Once camp breaks Wednesday and practices are closed, that’s something the Raiders may work on.

Another option is Joe Hall, the 280-pound fullback who has had some impressive lead blocks.
First round goes to the Raiders

By Ann Killion

If you want grand pronouncements about the Bay Area's football rivalry, you'll have to wait until Oct. 8. That's the day the 49ers and Raiders play each other in a real game, and will be a fine day to jump to conclusions.

But the third Sunday in August? It's too early. But, this is the update-me-now era. So, after watching these teams scrimmage on Sunday evening, we can come up with a few truths:

Like: Feel free to book a vacation in January.

And: Don't fret if you haven't yet jumped on either team's bandwagon. There's plenty of room available.

Also: The 49ers must really have a lot of work to do if they can make the Raiders appear so dominant.

The Raiders trounced the 49ers 23-7 to remain undefeated this exhibition season, a statistic that each and every one of their players takes with a large grain of salt.

For the first time this summer, the Raiders' offense showed some signs of life. However, let's not forget who they were playing.

``We are a work in progress,'' Coach Art Shell said after the game. Mike Nolan, his 49ers counterpart, called his own team flat.

Sunday night at McAfee Coliseum, neither team had the aura of a champion-in-waiting, and the Bay Area fan base was savvy enough to stay away from this practice game in droves. They could have left Lew Wolff's tarps on the Coliseum's upper deck without any problem.

For the past several autumns we've been comparing and contrasting our two terrible teams' collective drop into NFL obscurity. ``Who's worse and why?'' is a favorite Sunday-evening parlor pastime.

This season that game will be easier thanks to the scheduling of the AFC West against the NFC West. Our teams' fates will rest largely on common opponents and that big grudge match Oct. 8.

Each is probably counting the other as one of the scant victories they can hope for in the regular season. Both teams would love St. Louis and Arizona to remain bottom-feeders -- though that would help the 49ers more than the Raiders. Likewise, the expected difficulty of AFC West opponents -- Kansas City, San Diego and Denver -- will hurt the Raiders, who get them all twice.

In short, there will be plenty to learn about these teams in the future. But there's not much we can deduce now, except that Norv Turner looks far more comfortable in the visiting box -- where he sat as 49ers offensive coordinator -- than on the home sideline -- where he once stood as Raiders coach.

Raiders quarterback Aaron Brooks finally put together a decent line: 10 of 17 for 125 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He led the team on an opening touchdown drive. He showed that his best weapon is still his feet -- running for 31 yards in four carries. But he only got one pass to Randy Moss -- for 14 yards -- and overthrew a few other receivers.

``It's a process,'' Brooks said.

49ers quarterback Alex Smith's performance won't result in any rave reviews from Bill Walsh this week. In fact, his line looked like a throwback from last season: 6 of 12 for 81 yards and two interceptions. But he still looked more in control and composed than he did last year. He threaded a nice ball into Antonio Bryant for a 46-yard completion. But he also threw several passes too high, including his first lateral of the game.

``We've got a long way to go,'' Smith said.

Raiders mayor/inn-keeper/offensive coordinator Tom Walsh finally found his groove and earned Shell's praise. We saw a glimpse of the power-running, vertical-throwing game plan. LaMont Jordan ran for 45 yards. Brooks completed a 39-yard pass.

``I feel very encouraged by what I saw today,'' Jordan said. ``We got better from last week.''

What else did we learn? That Frank Gore ran for 42 yards in seven carries in his first game as the 49ers' unquestioned starting tailback, hours after Kevan Barlow was traded away to the New York Jets.

That Shell said he felt emotional walking back into the Coliseum, a place where he became a Hall of Famer.

That receiver Jerry Porter, or ``the baby,'' as Raiders teammate Warren Sapp has called him, is still the invisible man. He played about three plays, did nothing and looked happy to be wearing his big hooded jacket on the bench.

Will Porter be around Oct. 8? Will the 49ers feel good about the Barlow trade? Will Jordan still be encouraged? Will Moss have more than one reception a game? Will Smith keep progressing? Will Shell be the Raiders' answer?

We have to wait for the important answers. All we really learned on Sunday was that the Raiders had a better day of practice.
Raiders take a step in right direction

By Steve Corkran

OAKLAND, Calif. - Raiders coach Art Shell on Sunday night made a triumphant return to the place he once dominated as an offensive left tackle in a career that culminated with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Fans waited almost 25 years to see the man they adored for so many years.

Oakland fans must have wondered after their team's first two exhibition games if the wait to see their team play football the way most of Shell's teams did during his 15-year career would be just as interminable.

The Raider Nation can rest easy. For now, at least. One of their own is back in the familiar colors. Most important, the Raiders played the kind of football in a 23-7 victory over the 49ers that Shell has preached and promised since he replaced Norv Turner in February.

"This was another step for us to get better as a football team," Shell said.

Quarterback Aaron Brooks found his groove. Running back LaMont Jordan ran around, past and over defenders. Wide receivers Randy Moss and Doug Gabriel got open seemingly at will. The offensive line cut out the penalties and cut off the unimpeded paths to Brooks.

Defensively, strong safety Michael Huff showed for the first time why the Raiders thought enough of his talent to select him with the No. 7 pick in the NFL draft in April. The defensive line made life miserable for 49ers running backs and quarterback Alex Smith.

It has been a long time coming, players said. That it came in Oakland's third exhibition game and not after the regular season started is all the Raiders care about.

"Coach Shell told us that it wouldn't be an overnight process," outside linebacker Sam Williams said. "We just have to build each game and get closer to where we want to be once the season starts."

Sure, they expected success sooner than it arrived. That doesn't mean much now. What matters is, how well they build upon their performance Sunday night and use it as a stepping-stone for their regular-season opener against the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 11.

The foundation looks rock solid on the heels of two straight subpar outings by the starters in the first two exhibition games.

Brooks completed six of his first seven pass attempts for 62 yards. He capped Oakland's first drive with a bullet-like pass to Gabriel for an 8-yard touchdown. His 25-yard run on a third-and-nine play kept alive the drive and showed off one of the things that separates him from predecessor Kerry Collins.

Jordan has said that the Raiders offense has the potential to be a potent one, but only if the offensive line blocks well, and he runs well.

On one play, Jordan ran over 49ers inside linebacker Jeff Ulbrich and turned a short gain into an 8-yard run and a first down.

Two plays later, Brooks found Moss on a crossing route for 14 yards and a first down. Gabriel scored two plays after that in putting an exclamation point on a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

Huff struggled his first two games. On Sunday, he made his presence felt right away. He stopped 49ers running back Frank Gore on back-to-back plays and forced a punt. Two drives later, he intercepted Smith and returned it 44 yards.

So what if the game doesn't count in the standings. Who cares if the Raiders regulars played only for one half?

The Raiders did enough right to feel good about themselves with two games left before the opener. The fans got to see Shell once again. Shell got to see what he waited three games to see. What happens from here out can wait for another day.

"We don't want to peak right now," defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "We want to feel like we're climbing. We're taking steps right now. I like our chances."

Brooks offers promising look

OAKLAND - Raiders fans got their first in-the-flesh peek at new starting quarterback Aaron Brooks on Sunday night. Allow us to articulate the unspoken question that is dancing in their heads this morning:

Who's going to present this guy when he gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Sure, you could try to explain to these nice people the relative nature of the NFL's exhibition season, and the fleeting buzz that will be realized from Sunday's 23-7 victory over the agreeable San Francisco 49ers. On some level they know.

But they also know this was the most lively, dynamic game they've seen a quarterback play here since Oct. 24, 2004. If they're really good, they'll remember who that quarterback was.

Do you? Here are some hints. The Raiders blew a lead and lost a game to the New Orleans Saints that day. Kerry Collins, making just his second start in place of the injured Rich Gannon, got booed by the home folks for the first time that day.

Poor Collins was a victim of circumstance. He couldn't compare to Gannon, an MVP and fan favorite. Nor could he compare to the quarterback who was making magic for the other team.

Fellow named Aaron Brooks.

If you could have articulated the boos that afternoon into sentiments fit for print in a family newspaper, you would have come up with something like this: Why can't our guy be like their guy?

Now he is.

In fact, there was a lot for the ticket-buyers to like about Sunday night. The Oakland defense intercepted two of Alex Smith's passes in the first half; one went to first-round draft choice Michael Huff. Running back LaMont Jordan rushed for 46 yards. Sebastian Janikowski's perfect summer continued as he converted his seventh consecutive field goal attempt.

Backup quarterback Andrew Walter looked good, too, completing 8 of 10 passes in leading the Raiders to a touchdown and a field goal on his two drives. But as you look toward the regular season, you figure it'd take an odd bounce of the ball to change the quarterback hierarchy we saw Sunday: Brooks, followed by Walter, followed by Marques Tuiasosopo.

Thus, Brooks' performance invites the greatest scrutiny. In addition to completing 10 of 17 passes for 125 yards, Brooks ran four times for 31 yards. In short, he was as good as the Raiders hoped he'd be when they signed him as a free agent in March.

"He made some nice throws," Raiders coach Art Shell said. "He missed one big one early on to (Alvis) Whitted. I thought he was OK. He did all right."

Brooks was good, but not perfect. As Shell noted, he overthrew an open Whitted down the field on a third-and-nine play. His pass for Randy Moss at the goal line on the Raiders' first drive went into (and through) the hands of 49ers safety Mike Adams.

There was a botched handoff with LaMont Jordan that resulted in a fumble (Brooks recovered). He threw for a touchdown, but had another pass ricochet off the hands of Randal Williams in the end zone -- it was intercepted by Tony Parrish.

But the good far overshadowed the bad. When Brooks left the game at halftime, the Raiders had 10 points, 201 yards total offense and were eight seconds shy of 18 minutes of possession time. Big things if you're a fan getting your first eyeful of the new toy. Not so big if you do this kind of thing for a living.

If you think Shell's appraisal was understated, you should have heard Brooks critiquing himself.

"We're just concerned about our production," Brooks said. "We just want to get better. I felt we got better tonight. I don't think it's necessary to make a big thing about a preseason game."

Well, yes and no. It is important for everyone -- fans, coaches and teammates -- to see the boost Brooks could give the Raiders. It breeds confidence and optimism. He revealed more Sunday than he had in the team's first two games.

"We got off to a little bit of a slow start as far as the first two games," he said. "It's a process."

Consistency, Collins' big bugaboo, will be the key to the process. Because the scouting reports on Collins and Brooks are not as dissimilar as you might imagine, especially if you had been in the stands that day back in 2004. Both are capable of doing great things. But both have had trouble staying good enough for long enough.

Don't try telling that to Raiders fans this morning. It's as if their prayers for a guy like Brooks were answered, if 22 months after the fact.

A short wait, now that it's over. Or if you're from Detroit, where they've been praying for a guy like the other guy since Eisenhower was president.
Shell makes a nostalgic return to Coliseum

Former Raider Atkinson says Porter needs to shape up or go

OAKLAND -- Raiders coach Art Shell last appeared at the Coliseum in a non-exhibition game as an employee of the Raiders on Dec. 13, 1981, when the Raiders lost to the Chicago Bears 23-6 in the second-to-last game of the season.

The lone exception came Aug. 26, 1989, when the Raiders played the Houston Oilers in an exhibition game as a means of gauging interest for a possible return from Los Angeles to Oakland.

He played his final season for the Raiders in their first season in Los Angeles, in 1982. He then spent 12 years coaching the Raiders in Los Angeles. His previous three appearances at the Coliseum came as the offensive line coach of the Kansas City Chiefs in 1995-96 and the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 26, 2000.

Shell said he enjoyed his first game as a member of the Oakland Raiders in almost 25 years.

"I walked out and I heard Willie Brown's voice in my ear, Jim Otto's voice ... ," Shell said. "All those things came back. ... It was really nice to walk back into this stadium and be a part of it again, on the right side."

The fans enjoyed it, too, as evidenced by their cheering throughout Oakland's 23-7 victory over the cross-bay-rival 49ers. Those same fans still cheered Shell the three times he visited the Coliseum as a member of the visiting team.

"I was treated well," Shell said. "I remember coming in on the bus, somebody threw an egg at the bus, but, hey, it happens when you go elsewhere. Other stadiums, those things happen. I remember when we used to go to Denver, they would throw snowballs and oranges at us. Hey, that's OK. They're good fans."

Buy a clue

Former Raiders defensive back George Atkinson in the team's pregame show called disgruntled wide receiver Jerry Porter "clueless" for challenging Shell's authority and said that Porter has to go unless he changes his attitude.

Porter has been at odds with Shell since an offseason meeting between the two parties disintegrated into a screaming match and Shell kicking Porter out of his office.

Porter demanded a trade as a result of a difference in philosophy between he and Shell. The Raiders have said that they are open to trading Porter, as long as they get adequate compensation. So far, there haven't been any suitable offers.

Porter sustained a calf injury the first day of training camp and has been in and out of practice ever since. He also missed Oakland's first two exhibition games.

Sunday night marked his 2006 debut, though he appeared in only a handful of plays with the second-team offense in the third quarter. He did not catch a pass.

Jano rolls on

Raiders kicker Sebastian Janikowski increased his streak of consecutive field goals made to seven when he converted a 23-yarder in the second quarter.

A familiar face

Former Raiders coach Norv Turner made his first return to the Coliseum since he got fired Jan. 3, three days after his second and final season. He guided the Raiders to a 9-23 record in his two seasons. He now is the 49ers offensive coordinator.

For what it's worth

The Raiders won their third straight exhibition game. It marks the first time they have started 3-0 in such games since the 1976 season. Make of it what you will: The Raiders won the Super Bowl that season.

Extra points

Left offensive tackle Robert Gallery left the game late in the second quarter after he got poked in the left eye by a 49ers defender. Chad Slaughter replaced Gallery until his eye cleared up. Gallery said he is fine. ... Strong safety Michael Huff sustained a sprained left ankle early in the second quarter and was forced from the game. Shell termed it a "mild" sprain.

-- Steve Corkran

Thumbs up

• LB Grant Irons: His tackle on running back Maurice Hicks in the second quarter went for a 3-yard loss and increased the likelihood of his making the opening-day roster. These are the kinds of plays defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is looking for from hopefuls such as Irons.

• OL Corey Hulsey: He performed well in place of injured starter Barry Sims. Performances such as this go a long way toward a backup lineman earning an opening-game roster spot.

• TE John Madsen: His conversion from wide receiver has proved a seamless one, as he caught two passes for 52 yards in a reserve role in the second half.

• QB Andrew Walter: Oakland's No. 2 quarterback directed back-to-back scoring drives in the second half in helping the Raiders blow open a close game. He finished 8-of-10 for 99 yards without an interception.

Thumbs down

• TE Randal Williams: He got called for an unnecessary-roughness penalty at the end of a 49ers punt return. That cost the Raiders 15 yards. His mixed-bag night continued a few plays later when he had an Aaron Brooks pass hit off his hands and into the arms of 49ers safety Tony Parrish for an interception in the end zone. He somewhat atoned for his gaffes by catching three passes for 53 yards in the first half.

-- Steve Corkran
I kind of agree. Pre-season sucks.

why do coachs play the compnay line al lthe timne. Is there an unwrittien rule that says play pre-season games a certain way and don't deviate?

It's ridiculous. In fact as far as the Raiders are concerned, why hasn't Walter been put in with the 1's say in the second quarter last night? We saw what Brooks brought to the table -- not much.

This PC, don't make a mistake thinking drives me nuts.
Raiders finally show some life offensively

Jerry McDonald

OAKLAND — Talk about a sense of relief.

The Oakland Raiders aren't awful on offense.


Considering the way the Raiders had played in two preseason games and had looked through most of training camp with the ball in their possession, that counts for something.

It was encouraging enough for the home fans to begin a rousing chorus of "Raiders, Raiders, Raiders," early in the fourth quarter Sunday night with their heroes well on their way to a 23-7 win over the San Francisco 49ers and their first 3-0 preseason record since 1976.

True, the Raiders' win came against the only team in the NFL that can duplicate their 13-35 record over the past three years.

To dwell on the opponent would be a mistake, because the Raiders were so abysmal offensively in wins over Philadelphia and Minnesota it was virtually impossible to envision them even staying on the field with the San Diego Chargers on Sept.11.

Maybe it was being at home McAfee Coliseum. Perhaps it was the impetus provided by coach Art Shell when he ordered his team from the practice field Thursday for not working hard enough.

Whatever the reason, the retro offense installed by Shell and offensive coordinator Tom Walsh looked contemporary.

The promise of a downhill running game looked at least possible, with the Raiders compiling 156 yards on 41 carries.

There were deep pass completions, only one sack surrendered, zero presnap penalites and a sense of confidence and purpose with the ball that seemingly came out of nowhere.

If Shell was relieved, it didn't show.

"We did a little bit better today, but we left some points on the field when we should not have," Shell said.

A little bit better?

After what went on in the first two games, mere competence would have sufficed. The Raiders not only met that standard, they also exceeded it.

Quarterback Aaron Brooks, who seemed mostly amused over the concern about his play, hit 10 of 17 passes for 125 yards, a touchdown and an interception that glanced off the hands of tight end Randal Wiliams in the end zone.

If Williams had held on to that pass, Brooks' quarterback rating of 76.8 would have been 126.1.

The Secret Society for the Promotion of Andrew Walter will live on for another week, with the third-year backup leading the Raiders on a 67-yard, 15-play touchdown drive on the first possession of the second half.

Walter finished 8 of 10 for 99 yards with no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 107.9.

The Raiders had what the 49ers had after their preseason-opening win against the Chicago Bears — a sense of optimism and something to build on.

And while it's possible Oakland could go south Friday against the Detroit Lions in much the same way the 49ers did against the Raiders, film study for the next few days will feature more about what went right instead of what went wrong.

Brooks, who smiled and shrugged in the aftermath of the two offensively challenged preseason games, was doing the same after a preseason win.

"I don't think it's necessary to make a lot out of a preseason game," Brooks said. "It's a process that we have to go through to get better each time we hit the field. There's no need to get too high or too low about it. We just need to get better."

It wasn't perfect.

Brooks and running back LaMont Jordan got away with a bad exchange that resulted in an 8-yard loss and nearly a turnover. There's still the troublesome issue of Brooks developing a chemistry with Randy Moss, who caught one pass for 14 yards and didn't come close to catching another.

Yet it would be hard to envision things going better for Shell and Co., based on how bad things had looked on offense entering the game.

As much as Shell has talked about competition, there has been a clear pecking order since camp began and Sunday night's resurgence was accomplished without upsetting the status quo.

Brooks, the starting quarterback since Day 1, displayed why he is the best choice at the Raiders' current state of development. His ability to escape trouble, as he did on a 25-yard gain for a first down on third-and-9, is what sets him apart from Walter.

On at least two other occasions, Brooks sidestepped potential sacks for short rushing gains, turning potential second-and-12 situations into second-and-7s.

Walter, for as good as he looked, was dumped for a 10-yard loss by Lance Legree on the same sort of pressure Brooks escaped in the first half.

"We drove down there and scored right away, and that helped with momentum," left tackle Robert Gallery said. "Things seemed to be clicking a little more for everybody. Individually and collectively, it helps when you get back to camp. Sometimes when you've got a lot of time in camp to think, it can be a negative."

Jordan, who finished with 12 carries for 45 yards before taking the second half off, felt it was time the Raiders began to execute the new system they've been learning since Shell arrived.

"It was very important. Once you get something started, you kind of get a feel for what you did to get it started in the first place," Jordan said. "What we do now is we have to build on it."
Raiders execute Shell game

Quality play from quarterbacks, tight ends give coach win in Oakland return

By Bill Soliday

OAKLAND — Art Shell said what he wanted for his return to the Coliseum in Oakland was some consistency from his quarterbacks.

He got it ... and plenty more. There was major production from the tight ends, the first signs of that downhill running game and a defense that nearly pitched a shutout.

It all added up to the Raiders powering their way past the San Francisco 49ers 23-7 on Sunday night. During the one-sided win, Shell swore he could hear voices.

"I heard Willie Brown's voice in my ear, I heard Jim Otto's voice, I heard Dan Birdwell," Shell said of his old Raiders teammates from the 1960s and 1970s. "(Gene) Upshaw, Snake (Stabler). All those voices came back. ... I could hear all those voices ... just like all the alumni were out there.

"It was really nice to walk back on this side and be part of it."

Not to be forgotten, it was only an exhibition game. But for those seeking an optimistic view, it was also the Raiders' third straight exhibition victory without a loss — and those voices might have been issuing a reminder to Shell.The last time the Raiders opened the preseason 3-0 was 1976. They proceeded to finish 13-1 in the regular season and win Super Bowl XI.

Pie in the sky? Probably, but there is no denying this victory was satisfying because it came against the rival 49ers, who a week ago flattened Chicago 28-14.

Shell wouldn't call it perfect.

"They're still not where we need to be," Shell said. "I want a more efficient game throughout. We left some scores on the field and shouldn't have.

"But it was a combination of all three aspects of our team performing, and that's what you have to have to win football games."

The three aspects Shell was referring to were offense, defense and special teams. Oakland came within a hair of a 400-yard offensive performance, achieving 24 first downs to the 49ers' nine. Their 394 yards came on 238 passing and 156 running on 41 attempts.

After two painful games on the road in which he completed two of nine pass attempts, quarterback Aaron Brooks' Coliseum debut was a first-rate one. He had 10 completions in 17 attempts for 125 yards and a touchdown in a half of action. That was followed by Andrew Walters' 8-for-10 effort.

"It's not necessary to make a big deal out of a preseason game," Brooks said. "It's a process where we need to go out and get better every time we hit the field. I feel we did that today."

Altogether, three Raiders quarterbacks passed for 238 yards. Half the 20 completions were to four tight ends who combined for 158 yards. It was reminiscent of the ghosts of Raymond Chester, Dave Casper and Todd Christiansen.

"I've always said that tight end is going to be an integral part of what we do," Shell said. "It always has been big for us. In our scheme, the tight end will be a factor."

Randal Williams had three catches for 53 yards with a long of 39. O.J. Santiago got three for 33 yards. Rookie John Madsen collected two for 52 including a 35-yarder. Starter Courtney Anderson chipped in two for 20.

Anderson also had a third catch for a 1-yard touchdown but it was called back for an offensive interference that both he and Shell disputed.

"I was being held and trying to get away from him (Manny Lawson)," Anderson said. "I thought they should have called it on him or called nothing."

Undrafted, Madsen shifted to tight end at the start of camp. He has been an impressive camp performer since.

"When they told me they were going to move me I was hesitant at first, but I am happy to get an opportunity," he said. "Half the time I am split out like a wide receiver anyway."

The defense lost its chance for a shutout in the final minutes of the game when 49ers backup quarterback Trent Dilfer hit reserve running back Michael Robinson with a 6-yard touchdown pass.

Quarterback Alex Smith completed half his 12 passes and had a 46-yard completion to Antonio Bryant but otherwise averaged just 3.2 yards per pass attempt.

"Sometimes for you to be successful you have to take more from these situations," said Smith, who was 16-for-21 a week ago against Chicago. "You have to look at it and learn from it. That's what preseason is for."

The lost shutout didn't bother Oakland's defenders.

"It would have been great, but I think we made so many strides tonight," linebacker Kirk Morrison said. "We put a complete game together on offense, defense, special teams."

For the third straight game, the Raiders had three field goals only this time just one of them came off the foot of Sebastian Janikowski, a 23-yarder in the second quarter. Camp kickers Tim Duncan and David Kimball later chipped in with field goals of 45 and 23 yards.

The Raiders' fast start was virtually all Brooks. He completed four of five passes for 42 yards, including the 8-yard scoring pass to Doug Gabriel on Oakland's opening possession.

He added a 25-yard run, the longest of the year by a Raider, giving him 67 of the team's 75 yards to himself.

Meanwhile, the 49ers were struggling so long as Frank Gore wasn't carrying the ball. On San Francisco's first two series, Gore had three carries for 25 yards. It was when Smith passed that things fell apart.

Smith's first two possessions consisted of 2-for-4 in completions for a net of 2 yards and a backwards pass for a loss of 12 yards on the game's opening play from scrimmage.

Smith also threw an interception that Raiders rookie safety Michael Huff returned 44 yards to the San Francisco 15. However, Smith managed to emerge a hero on the play in the end. His shoetop tackle of Huff prevented the Raiders' first-round pick from going 59 yards for a touchdown.

It was a big save. Although the Raiders scored, they actually emerged with no points as the touchdown pass to Anderson was negated. A play later Brooks' pass for Williams was tipped in the end zone and intercepted by Tony Parrish.

The 49ers gave up one more score before halftime, the Janikowski field goal that came after Brooks' 39-yard pass to Williams.

With Walter at quarterback and Justin Fargas replacing Jordan, the Raiders promptly took the kickoff and marched 67 yards in 15 plays to take a 17-0 lead. The big play on the drive was a 17 yard pass to Madsen on third-and-16.

San Francisco0007—7Oakland7376—23First Quarter

Oak—Gabriel 8 pass from Brooks (Janikowski kick), 7:15.

Second Quarter

Oak—FG Janikowski 23, :16.

Third Quarter

Oak—Fargas 3 run (Janikowski kick), 5:50.

Fourth Quarter

Oak—FG Kimball 23, 14:52.

Oak—FG Duncan 45, 6:51.

SF—M.Robinson 6 pass from Dilfer (Nedney kick), 3:35.


SFOakFirst downs924Total Net Yards209394Rushes-yards15-5741-156Passing152238Punt Returns2-123-14Kickoff Returns4-971-29Interceptions Ret.1-02-44Comp-Att-Int12-20-220-30-1Sacked-Yards Lost0-01-10Punts5-49.62-46.5Fumbles-Lost1-01-0Penalties-Yards3-353-40Time of Possession18:1941:41INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—San Francisco, Gore 7-42, M.Robinson 3-9, Dilfer 1-5, Hicks 3-1, A.Smith 1-0. Oakland, Lee 11-49, Jordan 12-45, Fargas 12-32, Brooks 4-31, Tuiasosopo 2-(minus 1).

PASSING—San Francisco, A.Smith 6-12-2-81, Dilfer 6-8-0-71. Oakland, Brooks 10-17-1-125, Walter 8-10-0-99, Tuiasosopo 2-3-0-24.

RECEIVING—San Francisco, M.Robinson 3-29, Gilmore 2-24, Bryant 1-46, Bajema 1-28, Norris 1-12, T.Jackson 1-9, V.Davis 1-5, Hetherington 1-(minus 3). Oakland, Whitted 4-45, R.Williams 3-53, Santiago 3-33, Madsen 2-52, Anderson 2-20, Gabriel 2-19, Fargas 2-10, Moss 1-14, Morant 1-2.

MISSED FIELD GOAL—San Francisco, Nedney 54 (SH).
Raiders tight ends get in the mix

By Jerry McDonald

OAKLAND — Courtney Anderson thought it was a touchdown. So did Oakland Raiders coach Art Shell.

Instead, the Raiders tight end was whistled for offensive interference, a call which cost them dearly when Tony Parrish stole a deflected Aaron Brooks pass in the end zone on the next play.

In the grand scheme of things, all it meant was the Raiders won 23-7 instead of 30-7 at McAfee Coliseum.

But it was troubling to Shell.

"I told (referee) Ed (Hochuli) he needed to take a look at it this week because the guy (49ers rookie linebacker Manny Lawson) was holding him," Shell said. "We don't want another one like that later to come back to haunt us."

Losing the touchdown only slightly tarnished what was a huge night for Oakland tight ends.

In all, Raiders tight ends caught 10 passes for 158 yards. Randal Williams had three receptions for 53 yards with a long of 39, O.J. Santiago had three receptions for 33 yards, John Madsen had two catches for 52 yards and Anderson had two for 20.

Shell, as he has said since camp began, maintained it is Raider tradition to have tight ends heavily involved in the offense.

Quarterback Brooks had another reason.

"When you've got two guys guarding No.18, then someone has to be open," Brooks said.

No.18, of course, is Randy Moss, who had one catch for 14 yards.

MINIMAL FLAGS: Anderson's penalty was only one of three for the Raiders.

Guard Paul McQuistan was whistled for unnecessary roughness, as was Williams on a special teams play.

NINERS FLAT: Niners coach Mike Nolan attributed the 49ers' poor performance to being "flat."

"I don't dismiss it because it's the preseason," he said. "It's an opportunity to learn from it without it being costly because it's the preseason."

Quarterback Alex Smith took a step back after his strong game last week against Chicago. He was intercepted twice, and it would have been three but for a drop by the Raiders' Kirk Morrison.

On the positive side, Smith hooked up with Antonio Bryant for a 46-yard completion. Additionally, first-round draft choice Vernon Davis caught his first pass, for 5 yards.

But the 49ers' defense struggled badly and was burned by the scrambling ability of Brooks. The play of Lawson and rookie defensive lineman Melvin Oliver were positive developments.

HOT-BLOODED: Backup quarterback Trent Dilfer threw a touchdown pass in his preseason debut with the 49ers and also picked up two personal fouls for taunting.

The first came after Dilfer was brought down on a hard hit by rookie linebacker Darnell Bing.

"Nice hit," Dilfer told Bing. "It didn't hurt."

According to Nolan, Dilfer's helmet also made contact with Bing's, drawing the flag.

On the second taunting penalty, after his touchdown pass, Dilfer said he went to the Raiders sideline to say hello to Warren Sapp, one of his best friends in the NFL. But players are not supposed to go to the opposing sideline.

PORTER PLAYS: Raiders wide receiver Jerry Porter saw his first action of the season in the second half.

Porter, however, was in for only a few plays and was not the target of an intended pass.

EXTRA POINTS: The 49ers reported one injury. Linebacker Brandon Moore suffered a knee strain that was not considered serious. Raiders tackle Robert Gallery missed a few plays after being poked in the eye, and S Michael Huff had an ankle sprain.
49ers-Raiders notes: Mild-mannered Dilfer racks up two taunting flags

By Jim Jenkins
Published 12:01 am PDT Monday, August 21, 2006

OAKLAND -- You know the NFL is serious about cracking down on taunting when a quarterback is penalized not once but twice during an exhibition.
Trent Dilfer, backup to 49ers starter Alex Smith, thought both calls were borderline but technically correct.

Dilfer was flagged the first time after verbally reacting to a tackle by Raiders rookie linebacker Darnell Bing in the the third quarter.

"I just got up and told him, 'Nice hit. It didn't hurt.' And (referee Ed Hochuli) felt that was taunting," Dilfer said. "On the second one (after throwing a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter), I just went over to the their sideline and said 'Hi' to Warren Sapp, one of my best friends in the league. Then I gave him 'five.' But going over toward the opponent's bench is considered taunting, too."

Dilfer said he received an almost apologetic explanation from Hochuli, but basically was told that the league is monitoring calls closely.

"It's unfortunate," Dilfer said, "because this game is a lot of fun to play, and a lot of (players) have great camaraderie and enjoy competing against one another. But I also understand why they're calling it because of some of the recent events that have gone overboard. What I did, though, certainly was not out of disrespect to my opponents."

Said rookie defensive end Manny Lawson of Dilfer: "We were flat. He was trying to put some fire into us."

Then and now -- Raiders head coaches past and present had distinctly different views of the game.

Norv Turner, fired in January, spent the game calling plays from the booth as the 49ers' new offensive coordinator.

Art Shell, Turner's successor, patrolled the sideline in a first for him. When Shell last coached the Raiders, they were in Los Angeles. His playing career as a Hall of Fame tackle, however, was spend almost entirely in Oakland.

"When I walked out on the field today, all those (Oakland) memories came back," Shell said.

Said Turner: "It'll mean more on Oct. 8 (the date of a 49ers-Raiders regular-season game in San Francisco)."

Stars collide -- It's uncanny how these things happen. When tight end Vernon Davis, the 49ers' first-round draft pick this year, made his first catch of the preseason, a five-yard pass from Alex Smith in the first quarter, his tackler was safety Michael Huff, the Raiders' 2005 first-round choice.

On a second-quarter interception by Huff, the tackler who stopped him from returning it for a touchdown was Smith, top pick of the 2005 draft.

Et cetera -- Jerry Rice, ex-49er and Raider, moving through the press box at halftime, taking a break from TV commentary on the San Francisco side: "No more. I'm retired." He was referring to a return to celebrity dancing, not football, although the 49ers are retiring his number this season. As for the Raiders, they don't retire numbers. The only one that's to remain unused is "00" worn by Hall of Fame center Jim Otto. The league doesn't allow players to use that number anymore.

• This is the first time the Raiders have started the exhibition season 3-0 since 1976. They won the Super Bowl that season.
Brooks steps up as Raiders top 49ers
Oakland's new QB uses his mobility to spark the offense.

By Jason Jones
Published 12:01 am PDT Monday, August 21, 2006

OAKLAND -- It wasn't planned, but it was a pleasant sight for the Raiders.
Facing a third and nine in the first quarter, Aaron Brooks looked downfield, couldn't find an open receiver and took off. Twenty-five yards later, the drive was still going and ended with a touchdown.

With a strong right arm and fleet feet, Brooks showed why the Raiders signed him in the offseason with his best showing of the exhibition season. His mobility kept the 49ers off balance, and his passing kept the first-team offense moving in the Raiders' 23-7 victory Sunday night at McAfee Coliseum.

Brooks doesn't enter a game intent on running, but if there is some space, he has no problem taking off.
"No, it's never part of the plan," Brooks said. "It's just one of the abilities that I was blessed with. Doing that was able to take a lot of pressure off the offensive line. It can help us in a lot of ways."

Brooks' mobility is something the Raiders (3-0) coveted after the offense struggled in part because Kerry Collins couldn't escape the pass rush last year.

Brooks' elusiveness sparked the first-team offense, which played the first half.

"We know he has that ability, and that's a great threat for our football team," coach Art Shell said. "… That makes the defensive line a little bit more wary. It was good to see."

Brooks completed 10 of 17 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown with one interception on a pass that ricocheted off tight end Randal Williams' hands in the end zone.

Brooks also ran four times for 31 yards, evaded defenders and took advantage of better offensive-line play.

While Brooks' other runs weren't as long, they were important because they kept him from getting sacked and helped a struggling offense move the ball.

Brooks, who completed only two passes in the first two exhibition games, doubled that total on the Raiders' first drive, connecting on four of his first five passes to three receivers. The fourth completion was to wide receiver Doug Gabriel for an eight-yard touchdown.

After being heavily pressured by Philadelphia and Minnesota, Brooks wasn't sacked for the first time in the exhibition season. The 49ers (1-1) aren't among the NFL's elite defensively, but the Raiders needed to show they could execute in a game situation.

"We probably would have been concerned if we hadn't (improved) by Game 3," left tackle Robert Gallery said. "Sometimes it takes longer than other times, but we're not where we need to be."

The Raiders' defense continued its solid preseason with two interceptions of 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, who completed 6 of 12 passes for 81 yards.

One interception was by first-round pick Michael Huff, who returned it 44 yards. Huff left with 9:55 to play because of a mildly sprained left ankle.

The Raiders have five interceptions in three exhibition games after picking off only five passes in the 2005 regular season.

In the first two games, Shell had been pleased with the efforts of his defense and special teams and had been waiting for the offense to show some life.

"They're still a work in progress," Shell said of his players. "And I think our football team is working very hard to become a competitive team."

And there's a good chance Brooks' unplanned running could play a big part in that.
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