The quarterback criticizes the offensive coordinator. The star wide receiver admits he’s lost interest and isn’t playing very hard. Still angry about a meeting nine months ago, the coach hardly uses the team’s second-best receiver. And the 77-year-old owner, on a walker, threatens a writer in the dressing room.
Welcome to the 2006 Raiders, the most dysfunctional team and organization in the NFL.
After the Raiders’ seventh loss of the season, quarterback Andrew Walter criticized offensive coordinator Tom Walsh for not calling enough short passes to take the steam out of the pass rush and for using up all his best plays in the first half.
Walter hasn’t yet done enough to be critical, but he was absolutely right.
Walsh did use a few short passes in the first half and a screen pass off a fake reverse, but his offensive planning has been an embarrassment all season.
Coach Art Shell remains loyal to Walsh and he reacted in typical fashion to Walter’s remarks. First, he dressed down Walter at a news conference and then didn’t speak to him on the practice field.
Judging from the way Shell has handled the Jerry Porter situation, Walter may lose his starting job to Aaron Brooks, who has apparently recovered from a chest muscle pull that had sidelined him for 10 weeks. That wouldn’t make sense because Walter is supposed to be the quarterback of the future and needs playing time to improve. But very little of what has happened with the Raiders this season makes sense.
Shell had hardly finished his remarks about Walter when he was told that Randy Moss had told writers that he was "not too much excited about what’s going on" with the offense. "So, my concentration and focus level tend to go down sometimes when I’m in a bad mood," Moss said.
Not much of a surprise there. Moss has been that way throughout his career, which is why the Minnesota Vikings were eager to trade him. But his remarks surprised Shell, who doesn’t seem to realize that players today are much different than when he was playing.
Shell is his own worst enemy. He’s been punishing Porter all season, essentially depriving the team of a receiver who led the team with 76 catches last season. Porter was kept inactive, then suspended. He’s been active the last two games but was in for only one play in the loss to the Denver Broncos. With Moss sulking and Porter virtually unused, is it any mystery why the Raiders’ pass offense is missing in action?
Through most of the season, there has hardly been a glimpse of Al Davis, whose health is deteriorating, but he was in the locker room after one practice last week long enough to tell a San Francisco columnist that if he were 20 years younger, he’d deck him. Oh, my.
Before the Raiders’ loss to Seattle, the TV crew put up a comparison of a much younger Davis and his great players of the 1967-85 era with the current reality. Cruel, cruel.
But that’s not as cruel as what the Raiders are doing to themselves. The team that was once so feared throughout the NFL has had the worst record in the league for three-plus seasons, and the damage is self-inflicted.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.