Shell determined to fix the line

Art Shell says he's confident the problems that plagued the Raiders' offensive line in its preseason win over Philadelphia last week will be corrected. He's just not sure when and admits it may take some time before all the kinks are worked out.

''It's a time-consuming thing to get five guys in concert together,'' Shell said Friday. ''It's not easy. It's a tough thing to do. That's why teams that have their offensive line together at a position for awhile, those teams are successful. So we've got our guys together.''

The Raiders went three-and-out on their first two series against the Eagles. Their third drive ended in an Aaron Brooks interception. Oakland's only touchdown, in fact, came after a Fabian Washington interception that gave the team the ball at Philadelphia's 23-yard line.

Afterward, Shell criticized both the offensive and defensive lines of the Raiders for their soft play and lack of aggressiveness. Shell was less critical on Friday, saying the line -- which has four players in positions different from those they played in 2005 -- needs time to find their comfort level.

''They've only been together, really, for a few months,'' Shell said. ''Some of them are working at new positions and it's a change. But we're going to keep the chorus line moving and trying to get them better.''

Shell said he hasn't figured out how long he'll play the starters against the Vikings but it's expected the first teams will play into the second quarter. Against Philadelphia, both of Oakland's starting offenses and defenses went to the sidelines after the first quarter.

* Running back DeJuan Green had to leave practice after getting hurt during scrimmage drills. Shell had no official word on what Green's injury was but said, ''He got dinged up a little bit.''

* Oakland's defense dropped three sure interceptions on a day when several Oakland players had trouble hanging onto the ball. Linebacker Danny Clark and cornerbacks Fabian Washington and Stanford Routt all let interceptions bounce off their hands, while running back Justin Fargas and wide receiver Doug Gabriel also dropped easy receptions.

* Fourth-string quarterback Kent Smith, who played in college at Central Michigan, took reps in practice Thursday and again on Friday, though Shell doubts the rookie will play against Minnesota.

''It's highly unlikely,'' Shell said. ''We just want to make sure he gets some reps. It helps him and it helps the other quarterbacks, too. It gives us a chance to take a look at him.''


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