The Raiders added a quarterback with starting experience but weren't ready to proclaim him their new starter.
Aaron Brooks agreed to terms with Oakland, which caused the team's fans to celebrate the official departure of Kerry Collins, the much-maligned former starter who remained a free agent and a looming threat to return.
Brooks, 30, arrives with 82 career starts - 81 more than Marques Tuiasosopo and Andrew Walter, the holdovers from the 2005 Raiders roster.
"Aaron gives us great depth at the quarterback position and a veteran presence," Raiders coach Art Shell said in a statement released by the team.
Brooks has the deep passing skill to utilize threats such as Randy Moss, Jerry Porter and Doug Gabriel. He has rushed for 1,410 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career, evidence of mobility that was absent in the statuesque Collins.
Brooks led the Saints to the only playoff win in franchise history in 2000. As recently as 2003, he had 24 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. He was 43-43 as a starter for New Orleans before going 3-10 in 2005 and getting benched by Jim Haslett in favor of Todd Bouman.
Raiders owner Al Davis is said to have admired Brooks for a long time.
While Davis and the Raiders in public say they are shooting for the top, a .500 record would be a promising upgrade over the 13-35 record over the last three seasons.
So why not simply proclaim Brooks the starter from Day 1 and get on with it?
1) At the time of Shell's statement, Brooks had not yet put pen to paper. If he suddenly changed his mind and decided to join former offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy in Green Bay, the Raiders would save the humiliation of fawning over a player who left town.
2) The Raiders are hoping second-year man Andrew Walter surprises them with a strong enough performance in minicamps and training camp to compete for the job.
The Raiders' company line holds that Walter is the next great Raiders quarterback. He is tall, strong and throws a great deep pass.
But Walter mostly represents the unknown. He had shoulder surgery following his senior year at Arizona State. He had hernia surgery following his rookie season with the Raiders.
In two preseason games - he missed two others with a groin injury - Walter showed promise, though admittedly operating against the 49ers and Saints reserves.
Walter has not taken a snap in a regular season game, his play limited to practice sessions in which there was no chance of getting slammed to the turf by an opposing rusher.
Tuiasosopo, though he could end up being the backup to Brooks should Walter not be ready, probably faces the longest odds of the three to become the starter.
He got one start against the New York Jets last season, only to turn the ball over four times in a 26-10 loss. Collins was re-installed as the starter the following week.
Tuiasosopo is in the final year of a six-year contract he signed as a rookie.
Good post.Raiders_Rock said:I'll be fine as long as Brooks doesn't take a single snap all year.
Brooks can have stretches where he'll be brilliant - when he gets in a groove he's a dangerous weapon. It's just that something like an incomplete pass or sack will totally throw him off his game, and he'll start making asinine decisions. Essentially, I see Brooks as Kerry Collins with speed - not much of an upgrade IMO. Hopefully Walter can beat him out for the starting job
SHELL ON BROOKS: Raiders coach Art Shell said the biggest hurdle for former Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks will be to get away from where he's been, to "mentally erase as much of what happened and just dive into what we're doing with the Raiders."
Shell said Brooks, who turned 30 last week, is not coming in as a teacher, and that he will compete with young quarterbacks Marques Tuiasosopo and Andre Walter
Raiders get OK to meet Harrington
Oakland already has three QBs signed
By Bill Soliday
Having signed Aaron Brooks, are the Raiders still in the market for a quarterback?
That possibility was raised when the Detroit Lions said the Raiders were one of several teams that had requested permission to speak with Joey Harrington regarding a trade.
Harrington, the Lions starter since his rookie year, remains on the Lions roster, and Detroit is expected to explore a trade after adding Jon Kitna and Josh McCown in recent weeks. Failing to trade Harrington, it is believed the Lions will give him his release on June1.
The Raiders had no comment on the Harrington report.
The Raiders acquired Brooks earlier this month as a free agent who was formerly the starter in New Orleans. He joins holdover quarterbacks Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo on the Raiders roster.
Coach Art Shell, speaking with reporters at the owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., said nothing was concrete in terms of which of the current three quarterbacks would be designated the starter.
"He (Brooks) is coming in to compete against the two kids," Shell said, noting that the new Raider was not opposed to trying to win the job.
"The job has not been given to him. We went to dinner together, talked about a lot of things, and he said, 'Coach, all I want to do is compete.' The biggest thing for him is to get away from where he's been. Mentally erase as much of what happened and just dive into what we're doing with the Raiders. Come in, have fun, compete and he'll have success."
As for the holdover quarterbacks, Walter and Tuiasosopo, Shell said, "We feel pretty good about (them). Those two kids are outstanding talents. With the competition at that position, I think we're pretty solidified at that position. But we're always looking to upgrade in all different areas."
Addressing speculation the Raiders might be inclined to draft a quarterback on April29, Shell deferred comment for the moment.
"We don't know who we're going to draft, to be honest with you," he said. "We don't know how this thing is going to go (and) won't rule anything out. The Raiders' history is take the best player available, and
(with) the draft, it changes every day."
During his meeting with reporters, in his first public comments since a press conference upon his hiring on Feb.11, Shell said the decision to hire Tom Walsh as his offensive coordinator was based on a comfort level he felt with the man who held the position throughout his first tenure with the Raiders.
Walsh has not coached in the NFL since 1994 and in recent years has been out of football totally while running a bed and breakfast and serving as mayor of a small town in Idaho.
"He's a great football mind," Shell said. "He's a smart guy. He knows what I want, how I want to do things. He knows the system I like to run.
"He hasn't been involved in the NFL, but he's been involved in football. We've been talking for about two or three years now about football. I told him if I ever got back into this thing, I want (him) to come with me. I really feel good about him. He's going to do well. Having Tom back is a real plus to me because he knows me."
EXTRA POINTS: Confirming earlier reports, the Raiders will play in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, on Aug.6 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 5 p.m. game will be televised on NBC. Former Raiders coach John Madden and the late Reggie White, who played for the Eagles (as well as the Green Bay Packers), are scheduled for enshrinement. ... The remainder of the Raiders' exhibition schedule finds them playing the Vikings in Minnesota on Aug.14. Specific dates for home games against the 49ers and Detroit that follow have not been set, nor has the exhibition finale at Seattle. ... The Raiders have played in the Hall of Fame game twice, defeating Dallas 20-13 in 1979 and Green Bay 19-3 in 1993.