Davis and Shell say it's time to get tough

Angel

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Davis and Shell say it's time to get tough
Ira Miller, Chronicle Staff Writer

Sunday, February 12, 2006



In a setting that was part pep rally, part alumni reunion and part revival meeting, the Raiders formally introduced Art Shell as their head coach Saturday.

John Madden, Jim Plunkett, Jack Tatum, Jim Otto, Raymond Chester and George Atkinson were among the former Raiders in the audience, listening to Shell and owner Al Davis make repeated references to the team's tradition and the toughness it used to have.

Davis confirmed that Bobby Petrino, the coach at the University of Louisville, turned down an offer to take the job before it was given to Shell. Shell becomes the first head coach fired and re-hired by Davis, and the moment elicited a rare admission from Boss Raider.

"I have never forgiven myself ... that I might have made a mistake," Davis said.

Correcting it will not be as easy as simply rehiring Shell, 11 years after Davis fired him, but it was a clear sign not only that Davis wants to get back to the Raiders' old ways, but that the team needed a coach who could command credibility in an NFL locker room.

As a Hall of Fame player and winning coach, Shell can do that, and that's at least a place to start. And before the Raiders, whose 13-35 record over the last three years matches the 49ers for worst in the NFL, can become a factor again, they seem to believe they need to re-establish an organizational identity, re-capture if you will the mystique they once had.

"I have to show them the way, the 'Raider Way,' " said Shell, who played for the Raiders for 15 seasons.

Madden, the former Raiders coach who eight days ago was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, acknowledged that the franchise appears to have lost its direction and its mystique.

"I haven't been around them for a long time because I've been away doing (TV) games," he said. "I know there used to be (mystique). Teams didn't like coming in to the (Oakland) Coliseum. They had that feeling -- they were a little nervous and they didn't enjoy it.

"Oakland wasn't a fun place to come and play, and every game was sold out. ... In those days, there was something to it. I don't know if it's still there now. It's probably not. If it's not, it's (Shell's) job to get it back."

Shell said he already had begun working on the team's offseason program. He declined either to address directly the status of quarterback Kerry Collins or talk about how he'd fill out his coaching staff. But signs were that one of his assistants, perhaps as offensive coordinator, will be Tom Walsh, a Raiders assistant coach during the 13 years the team spent in Los Angeles, 1982-94.

Walsh, wearing a Raiders shirt, sat quietly at the back of the room during Shell's news conference.

"It's coming home to finish what I started," said Shell, whose .577 winning percentage from 1989 through 1994 was better than all but one of the five coaches who have followed him with the Raiders. "I left coaching, but I've never left the game of football. When the job opened up, I wanted to try to be a part of it, because I felt my organization, my football team, needed me."

Shell, who was an assistant coach with Kansas City and Atlanta in the late '90s, said he didn't think it would take so long to get another head-coaching job after his first tenure with the Raiders ended.

"Players haven't changed," he said. "They all want the same thing. They all want to win, but someone has to go in there and give them direction." And, in what can be construed as a shot at former coach Bill Callahan, who once referred to his team as the "dumbest" in America, Shell said, "There's no such thing as a dumb player."

Davis said the Raiders still "have a lot of great players" on their roster, but acknowledged also that, "We're in a tough division." In 2005, Oakland went winless in division games for the first time.

Both men threw out all of the organizational catch phrases we're so familiar with, yet at one point, Shell also said, "Words don't get it done." Nonetheless, Shell said all the right things, and he and Davis were clearly in agreement when they both talked about the importance of running the ball better on offense and stopping the run better on defense.

During the 2005 season, when the Raiders finished 4-12, only three teams rushed for fewer yards than Oakland and only seven teams permitted more.

"We've got to run the football better," Davis said. "We've got to run it with toughness. This guy (Shell) knows what I'm talking about."

The Raiders' fall in their division, the AFC West, was emphasized by both men, too. Davis used the word "hate" in describing the feeling between some of these rivals, and that's probably not too strong an expression. But he said that recently, "I got the feeling the Raiders weren't ready to meet the challenge."

"It may take a short while, but we'll get that nastiness of the Raiders back," Davis said.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2006/02/12/SPG44H78AT1.DTL
 
``We'll play tough. We'll get that swagger back"

Oh yeah baby.

``...we wil get it back." - Al Davis
 
So.....It sounds like raider fans are happy with the hiring of Shell and the future of the Raiders!! :)
 
Angel said:
So.....It sounds like raider fans are happy with the hiring of Shell and the future of the Raiders!! :)
I look at it this way. When Norv Turner was hired almost to a man Raider Fan said ``WTF"...not so with Art Shell. Art is a Radier. He bleeds Silver & Black and he's up to the challenge.

I keep coming back to this but Al Daivs made some great points yesterday when he chastised the media for their ball washing of many coaches who three years later are either unemployed or working as coordinators. So really, who are they to question Al's choice of a HC? How do we really know how Whisenhunt will perform when he gets his chance? Art Shell had been a winner. A winner at a high level. He's won Super Bowls as a player and coahced in Super Bowls (Los Angeles [Raiders] and Atlanta). He's a living legend. A Hall of Famer. But most importunely he is a Raider. I'm very happy with this hire.
 
CrossBones said:
I look at it this way. When Norv Turner was hired almost to a man Raider Fan said ``WTF"...not so with Art Shell. Art is a Radier. He bleeds Silver & Black and he's up to the challenge.

I keep coming back to this but Al Daivs made some great points yesterday when he chastised the media for their ball washing of many coaches who three years later are either unemployed or working as coordinators. So really, who are they to question Al's choice of a HC? How do we really know how Whisenhunt will perform when he gets his chance? Art Shell had been a winner. A winner at a high level. He's won Super Bowls as a player and coahced in Super Bowls (Los Angeles [Raiders] and Atlanta). He's a living legend. A Hall of Famer. But most importunely he is a Raider. I'm very happy with this hire.

Agree 100%.

Art Shell will command the respect of the players IMHO and he won't be straddled with the Marcus Allen "issue" that was Art's primary downfall in Oakland.

Now on to the offensive line and the draft.....
 
I agree Bones....a great OC does not necessarily make a good HC....look at Martz....I just never felt he was good as a HC at all....he just doesn't seem to have a good rapport with players in the HC position....Al Saunders....I really don't think would be a good HC, but he's great as an OC....you never know until you try I guess, but Whisenhunt could be a big failure as a HC as well.
 
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