Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

September 28, 2006

Question: Robert Gallery has been moved from right guard, to right tackle to left tackle in three years. The footwork alone for each of those positions is different, much less the assignments. Shouldn't he be given the benifit of the doubt until he has at least had a couple of seasons at one position? Also, with teams zone blitzing so much, why aren't we seeing screens to the backs and passes to the tight ends? During Tom Walsh's first tenure, we saw huge plays from the tight end position.
- Robert Harris, Vacaville

Answer: Gallery should be given time to play left tackle after playing on the right side for two years. But as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2004 draft, the pressure for Gallery to produce immediately is immense. And no one wants to hear about waiting a couple of seasons since that would put him in year four or five, a long time for a top pick to become the Pro Bowl player Art Shell said Gallery needs to be.

Tom Walsh promised the tight end would be a big part of the offense and the tight ends have five catches for 70 yards - not exactly overwhelming. He would probably attribute that to needing to keep the tight ends in to help with pass protection.

As for why the Raiders don’t try more screen passes, that’s anyone’s guess. It would make sense considering the offensive line’s problems to try some screens, but I haven’t spoken to Walsh since training camp. If the offense keeps embarrassing itself, chances are Walsh won’t be speaking to anyone publicly about football.
- Jason Jones

Question: Man, man, man, what's up with the Raiders? I can't believe what I'm seeing this season. Do you think Art Shell will be fired in the middle of the season again? I've always said that it's the parents' (Art) fault when kids (Raiders) act up, if you know what i mean. Not that the offensive line is getting bad calls, but the head coach is a Pro- Bowl tackle. What's going on?
- Jose Gutierrez, Sacramento

Answer: Art Shell will not get fired midseason unless there was a full mutiny against him. And even that probably wouldn’t be enough. If Bill Callahan survived until the end of his last season, Shell is safe. But if the offensive line that Shell, Jackie Slater and Irv Eatman are trying to fix doesn’t play better, the quarterbacks will continue to be unsafe in the pocket.
-Jason Jones

Question: Through two games this season, it seems that they are once again throwing the committment to the run philosophy out the window. Is it just me, or does it seem like the coaching staff tries to run the ball for one series, and when it doesn't work they are right back to dropping back for the deep bomb? How can they expect to keep defenses off-balance if they won't commit to attempting to run the ball on a regular basis? Even if they only get 3 yards per carry, wouldn't that put them in a better position than third and 13?
- Chris Ross, Sacramento

Answer: That’s the way it looks. The offense has not done a good job of mixing up the run and the pass. When LaMont Jordan is running hard (the few chances he has had), the Raiders need to take advantage of that and follow with more downhill running that they promised to set up play-action passes. Just dropping back to pass will force them to bring Jeff George back because none of the quarterbacks will survive the season.
- Jason Jones

Question: I'm confused about the commitment to excellence motto. I mean there were a number of dumb decisions in the preseason -- trading Doug Gabriel, releasing Danny Clark and benching Jerry Porter are just a few to name. Who really is making these stupid decisions and do you think there is any chance that someone will slap Art shell and tell him he's and idiot for not at least letting Jerry Porter get the fourth WR job or even putting him in the fourth quarter? His attitude sucks, I know. But so did Randy Moss' before he came to Oakland. Benching Porter is one reason we don't have a touchdown yet heading into the third-fourth week.
- Anthony Persaud, Landover, Md.

Answer: No one is sure why the Raiders traded Gabriel after developing him into a starter. With the new defensive emphasis on speed, Clark wasn’t going to play much except on special teams, so it was probably best for him to have a chance to move on. Luckily for him, he hooked up with New Orleans, which is 3-0, one victory short of how many games the Raiders won last season.

The Porter situation is one players don’t like to talk about and one that Shell seems intent on not changing his mind on. That’s obvious if Shell would rather have a receiver the coaching staff has said needs to improve his route running and grasp of the offense (Johnnie Morant) active instead of Porter. Porter’s attitude hasn’t been a big problem since the start of training camp. He practices hard and hasn’t said anything publicly about the team since July. But it appears the damage is already done.
- Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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