Raiders' offense lags behind on Saturday

The Raiders engaged in a spirited scrimmage Saturday afternoon with the defense getting the better of the offense on nearly every play. That's to be expected, head coach Art Shell says, but it's time for Oakland's offense to start catching up.

''This defense has been in place for us longer than the offense,'' Shell said. ''They felt coming into this camp that they had to shore it up, so I am pleased with the defense and disappointed with the offense. If the offense was scoring all the time I'd be disappointed with the defense and pleased with the offense.

''The offense will get their share. I'm just happy the defense is getting done what they need to get done. Now the offense has to start taking it upon themselves to get done what needs to be done.''

Running back Rod Smart found that out the hard way. With LaMont Jordan still nursing a sore quad muscle, Smart alternated with Justin Fargas in the backfield. During a goal-line drill, Smart took a handoff from Marques Tuiasosopo and was promptly stopped cold by a thunderous hit from linebacker Robert Thomas.

A few plays earlier Smart was drilled by defensive end Tyler Brayton, who also had one of his best days all-around. Same goes for cornerback Fabian Washington, who is having a very strong camp and who came racing in to knock away a deep pass from quarterback Andrew Walter to wide receiver Alvis Whitted.

It hasn't helped that the Raiders are without three starters. Running back LaMont Jordan (knee, quad), fullback Zack Crockett (back) and left tackle Robert Gallery (quad) have all been absent from practice. All three are expected to return to workouts on Sunday.

''It takes time for our offense to catch up with the defense,'' Shell said. ''We have our spurts. The offense will have its spurts when it's looking good for a while and all of a sudden the defense catches up and shuts it down. But we'll be fine. As long as both sides are competing and guys are getting after it, those things will work themselves out.''

* One of the few highlights for the offense Saturday was when quarterback Aaron Brooks found a leaping Randy Moss at the back of the end zone for a short touchdown pass. Brooks is still developing the timing with his receivers but has shown a penchant to get the ball to Moss, something Kerry Collins never did get.

* Tuiasosopo drew praise from the coaching staff and his teammates during a scrimmage when he broke containment and raced 20 yards downfield. Tuiasosopo also hooked up with his younger brother, Zach, on a short touchdown pass. Zach Tuiasosopo is trying to make the team as a fullback.

* After holding two-a-day practices for the first four days of camp, the Raiders scaled back to one workout Saturday. The team will also practice just once on Sunday before returning to the two-a-day schedule Monday.

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