Offensive slumber

The Oakland Raiders offense, which struggled mightily in the early days of training camp, began to right itself in Week 2, but you wouldn't know it from the anemic offensive display on Sunday vs. the Philadelpha Eagles.

Looking at the face of quarterback Aaron Brooks, it was obvious that things weren't going quite as planned. Brooks went 1-for-3 with a touchdown and an interception, scoring only because Fabian Washington brought them close enough to the goalline with an interception.

When the Raiders couldn't seem to break a huddle without being called back for a few more words of instruction, Brooks looked unconcerned during the week of training camp leading into the game.

When Brooks began connecting downfield with the likes of Randy Moss and Doug Gabriel and Oakland started gaining ground with some running plays, the quarterback looked unimpressed.

He doesn't play with the stature of 6-foot-6 Andrew Walter, or the emotion of erstwhile backup Marques Tuiasosopo.

Brooks doesn't tear into a teammate who runs the wrong route like Rich Gannon, nor does he enthusiastically accept the quarterback's role as team spokesman the way Kerry Collins did.

However, Brooks was getting the major share of snaps with the first team and seemed to be decisively outplaying both Walter and Tuiasosopo. Coach Art Shell would go no further than naming Brooks the starter for the Hall of Fame game opener against Philadelphia.

Being named the starting quarterback in Week 1, health permitting, would seem to be a mere formality.

"I don't ask. He hasn't said anything," Brooks said. "I'm here to work. I'm not here to find out where I'm going to be seeded or what situation I'm in. If he decides at game time he wants to go with someone different, I understand, but I'm here to work and contribute to this football team the best I can."

Brooks has a throwing arm strong enough for the deep passes which are part of the Raiders new offense, plus the mobility to turn a broken play into a big play.

It was that dimension which was sorely lacking in Collins. He faced blitzes up the middle every week, disrupting his timing, and wasn't helped by the NFL's 29th-ranked rushing attack.

Running back LaMont Jordan believes defenses will have play straight up more often this season.

"It's going to stop teams from wanting to blitz us so much," Jordan said. "A.B., he can change the game running the ball. Michael Vick, Aaron Brooks, those types of quarterbacks can change games and change defenses."

After a week of preseason action, not much has changed in the running game. The Raiders managed to win the game but had just 2.2 yards per carry and Jordan averaged 3.0 per with one run of 14 yards.

Brooks' temperament is sharp contrast to Oakland's last mobile starting quarterback. Rich Gannon could be volatile and unforgiving with both players and coaches who he felt were in error.

Brooks is more likely to respond with a shrug and move on.

"You don't have to jump down someone's throat to gain respect," Brooks said. "Guys are going to respect you for your hard work and dedication to the team and in making the offense more productive."


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