Raiders Notebook: Week one tidbits

What does it take to be an offensive lineman? A milestone could be reached in Oakland this week. A 45-degree angle? True believers. All this and more in this edition of the Raiders Notebook.

  • Often anonymous, an offensive line melds mind with muscle to freeze out pass rushers. What goes into this all-important – but often unheralded – skill of pass-protecting?

    "I'm looking for what defense is in front of me to make sure I know where my assignment is and come off with good technique," Barry Sims said. "I want to make sure I stay low and make a crease if it's a run or try to keep my guy out of the throwing lanes and give time for my quarterback if it is a pass."

  • Oakland wide receiver Randy Moss has a milestone within reach when the Raiders host San Diego on Monday night.

    With two touchdown receptions, Moss will become the seventh NFL player to reach 100 – and he can do it the second-fastest in history.

    Moss has 98 touchdown catches in 125 games. If he reaches 100 in Week 1, he will do it in the second fewest games in history, trailing only Jerry Rice, who reached the mark in 120 games.

    The NFL players with 100 touchdown receptions and the number of games to reach 100, and the top 10 leaders in touchdown receptions:

    Player Games to 100 TD Receptions Player TD Receptions
    Jerry Rice 120 Jerry Rice 197
    Terrell Owens 141 Cris Carter 130
    Marvin Harrison 143 Marvin Harrison 110
    Cris Carter 180 Terrell Owens 101
    Steve Largent 198 Tim Brown 100
    Tim Brown 243 Steve Largent 100
        Don Hutson 99
        Randy Moss 98
        Don Maynard 88
        Andre Reed 87

  • Oakland Raiders wide receiver Alvis Whitted, who competed in the 1996 Olympics in the 200 meters, runs on 45-degree angles in the heat.

    "In the heat of Jacksonville, I run 150 yards on a 45-degree incline," says Whitted, who began his NFL career with the Jaguars (1998-2001). "I do it eight times and in the heat, those last couple of climbs take forever."

    Whitted will get the start on Monday against the Chargers.

  • This Shell was on the beach for a while. But, no more.

    Art Shell, who owns Super Bowl XV and XVII rings as a player with the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders, resumes coaching the Silver and Black this season after a 12-year respite.

    Shell previously served as the Raiders' coach from 1989-94, leading them to a divisional championship in 1990 and an overall 56-41 record. After assistant coaching stops in Kansas City and Atlanta, he served as the NFL's senior vice president in charge of football operations and development in 2004-05.

    Will the long layoff from being a head coach hurt Shell's coaching ability? If anything, just the opposite.

    "It's like going out into the wilderness and you travel around, you learn, you gather experience and new ideas, but yet you evolve as a person and as a coach, and I think I've done that," Shell says his 12 years off, which ties for the fourth longest in history with one team.

    And his thoughts on what makes a team great haven't changed.

    "We will be tough, we will be powerful, and I want the ability, as always, to strike from anywhere on the football field," Shell says. "My philosophy has not changed. I believe in the things that we have done throughout the years, and those things work."

    Others around the team agree that the decade-plus layoff won't hurt Shell or the team. Sean Jones, a former defensive end who now works in the club's personnel department, says that "In Art's case, it's a matter of once a Raider, always a Raider."

    Legendary Oakland coach John Madden -- a 2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectee -- echoed Jones' words almost exactly. "He's a Raider and has always been a Raider," Madden says. "He's back where he belongs. This is the right thing."

    Six head coaches have returned to a team after a dozen or more years away.

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