Brooks eyes revival in Oakland

Enigmatic he has been called. A talented quarterback who can make plays with his feet but is prone to make mistakes is the long definition associated with Aaron Brooks' career. While he certainly had a capable receiver in Joe Horn and a talented running back in Deuce McCallister, Brooks has never played with the talent that Oakland has on offense.

"What was Aaron Brooks thinking?"

His career can be summed up in one play back in 2004 when the Chargers were crushing his team. He tossed a backward pass to lineman Wayne Gandy for a loss of 23 yards. It is that type of misguided play that had fans in New Orleans calling for a new quarterback.

What you may not know, however, is Brooks ranks second in club history in nearly every major passing category with the Saints, including yards, pass attempts and completions and is first in touchdowns (120) and passer rating (79.7). But the passer rating has declined in each of the past three seasons and he has tallied 84 interceptions since 2000.

Many feel the change of scenery will do him well and will give him a chance to be creative with his feet and use his strong arm to hit the plethora of wideouts in Oakland.

The biggest challenge for Brooks will be his decision-making. He has been miraculous and flawless one week only to be a bumbling fool the next. He never learned that with pressure comes the need to protect the ball, dropping it to the ground at a pace that would make Kerry Collins envious. Thus, consistency has been his biggest flaw.

Learning to play within the system and knowing when to make the safe toss will make him an effective quarterback. Getting into that mind to teach him that is the true challenge.

But he comes to Oakland with a team on the rise. He can be part of bringing back the history and propelling them into the future. He inherits an offense that has a multitude of weapons – and some that weren't used effectively last year. With his strong arm, he can hit Randy Moss anywhere on the field and know his catching mate will come down with it. That alone should inspire confidence.

"I think he brings leadership," said head coach Art Shell. "He's a guy that's been under the center and played in this league, a guy who has thrown a lot of touchdowns in this league. So he brings a lot to the table."

One thing that favors his progression this year is Shell's tactic of not naming him the starter. It has been a long time since he competing for the starting position and that could give him the boost he needs to perform, knowing that at any point in time he could be pulled.

"I'm going to stay competing because a quarterback's job is never secure," Brooks said.

Given that, Brooks could have a renaissance with the Raiders. He has mobility in the pocket and can make plays when none are meant to happen. Knowing that he can throw the ball away in such times will be the ultimate test of his advancement.


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