AFC West Report 8/9/06: Raiders Open With Win

The Oakland Raiders won the Hall of Fame game, 16-10, over the Eagles on Sunday night behind the strong leg of Sebastian Janikowski. Meanwhile, Mike Shanahan declares a surprising starter at running back and the Chiefs and Chargers quietly take care of business.

The Raiders didn't come off Sunday's win impressing their critics, despite the victory. Aaron Brooks threw one touchdown and one interception, completing five of 15 passes for 63 yards. Sebastian Janikowski gave the Raiders the win, hitting from 51, 50 and 24 yards.

With the division tough again this year, many aren't giving the Raiders a chance. A disgruntled Jerry Porter isn't helping. Head Coach Art Shell is happy with the direction the team is going, but still needs to see improvement. Oakland's starting defense looked porous against the Eagles, but Shell said they got stronger as the game went on.

Porter was left in Oakland with his calf injury while Ronald Curry, recovering from another achilles surgery, made the trip. On Monday, Randy Moss returns to Minnesota for the first time since he left the team. The Oakland-Minnesota matchup will be broadcast nationally.

Shanahan shocked just about everybody in Denver this week, placing rookie free agent Mike Bell atop the running back depth chart. He will get the start Friday night in Detroit, but Shanahan said a change could still be made in the future.

Jay Cutler also moved up the depth chart, knocking Bradlee Van Pelt down to third-team. Mike Bell's promotion overshadows Cutler's, however. The Arizona rookie has continuously expressed interest to play in Denver. While other teams inquired, his heart was set on the Broncos, and he was given a chance with a $20,000 signing bonus.

The Chargers finished up their Fan Fest practice with positive results. Philip Rivers continues to progress, as he connected with with Malcom Floyd for two touchdown passes. Floyd beat first round pick Antonio Cromartie on the first, but the play was nullified by a penalty. The two then connected again, beating Cletis Gordon on a corner route. Later in the day, Nate Kaeding nailed a 60-yard field goal against live players. Kaeding called it the longest kick he's made in that type of scenario.

LaDainian Tomlinson was out with a sore neck, but has returned and looks healthy. Eric Parker suffered an ankle injury and Shawne Merriman has a sore hamstring. Both have been working out in individual drills only. On Saturday the Chargers will host the Green Bay Packers at Qualcomm Stadium.

After a trouble-filled training camp last year, the Kansas City Chiefs are having a quiet one this year. So far the defense looks good, although the Vikings did burn the secondary during a scrimmage.

The Chiefs offense is also progressing well. Kyle Turley is having a great camp. He brings experience to an offensive line that is making progress, according to Trent Green. Turley was out of football and never thought he would play again, but hard work and persistence have paid off and he will be a great addition to an already strong line.

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