Former Raiders not on the inside

Two former Oakland Raiders blasted the team this week - yet neither of them have come close to stepping foot in the locker room or made an appearance at practice.

Forget football. Right now the Oakland Raiders would have difficulty getting up a good game of follow the leader.

The leadership issue has been part of the public discourse regarding the Raiders and their 0-3 record.

On the NFL Network, Deion Sanders essentially conceded the Raiders the first pick of the draft and said it was because of the players, not the coaching.

Adam Schefter, also of the NFL Network, suggested 0-16 was a real possibility.

Criticism has even come from members of the Raiders family. Tim Brown, a studio host on Fox Sports Net's Pro Football Preview show, told the Los Angeles Times the Raiders had little in the way of veteran leadership.

Former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, a CBS color analyst, echoed those sentiments in a radio appearance.

The comments struck left guard Barry Sims as odd, considering he hasn't seen or talked to Brown or Gannon.

"It's interesting to me those guys would make those comments. I haven't seen either one of them around here in years," Sims said. "They're not in the locker room, and they don't really know what's going on inside the building.

"Usually, when teams are struggling or have bad records, that can be the case, but I don't see it as our case. We do have leaders in here and we're working in the right direction."

Defensive captain Warren Sapp, when asked about Brown's views on leadership, snapped, "Next question."

Special teams captain Jarrod Cooper shrugged it off as a byproduct of an 0-3 record.

"When you're down, everybody has something to say about everything," Cooper said. "With all due respect to anybody that's been in this league and is doing their own thing now, if they were in this locker room and something was said about them, they'd know it was just part of the outside world. You don't even acknowledge it."

Fullback Zack Crockett, a Raider since 1999, would love to see Gannon and Brown take a more proactive role.

"When's the last time you saw one of them in the locker room?" Crockett said. "They could come down, talk to the guys, give an inspirational word, maybe point guys in the right direction. What have they done to help?"

However, one of the radio critics of late has come from inside the locker room. Wide receiver Randy Moss does not speak to the local media, but he has a weekly appearance on Fox Sports Radio's "The Drive," with Chris Myers, for which he receives advertising for his clothing line.

When Moss was asked Monday why he didn't assert more of a leadership role, he said it was his belief the organization didn't want him to.

"I think that's already been established about how things are going to be around here," Moss said. "You don't let the vets be the vets or the leaders be leaders around here. All you expect them to do is come in, put on these pads and go to work and hopefully win on Sunday. That's about the only say we've got around here, the outcome of wins and losses."

Moss is the only Raider to put that frustration into words, and only on a radio show in which he gets advertising for his clothing line.

Andrew Walter, the second-year quarterback in place of the injured Aaron Brooks, did his best to steer clear of any discussion about Moss' concerns.

"He has his views. I have to go out and do my job," Walter said. "What I have to do isn't affected by what anybody says, outside or inside the program. He's entitled to his beliefs."

Crockett, who is friends with Moss, would rather keep whatever problems exist within the locker room.

"We've got to keep it in-house," Crockett said. "We've got a great group of guys. So guys are just going to go out there, keep playing hard. Everyone needs to look at themselves in the mirror and say, 'OK, what can I do to be better?' If you keep plugging, things will turn around."

Shell brushed aside the Moss radio interview and defended his team.

"All I know is I can say this -- the character in that locker room is very strong," Shell said. "I don't worry about all the stuff that's being said. I don't even ready the papers. Somebody told me what was said ... Maybe I'm naive, but I don't worry about that."


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