No breaks on the horizon

This Oakland Raiders team needs a breather. A break from the talk of losing. A break from the constant bickering. A break from playing the game. What once looked like a win, however, isn't so clear this weekend.

It's been referred to as giving up, shutting it down, going in the tank, crying uncle and packing it in.

Succumbing to the inevitable undoubtedly happens -- but always to someone else.

The Oakland Raiders are 0-5 heading into Sunday's game at McAfee Coliseum against the 1-5 Arizona Cardinals.

The Raiders stand alone as the NFL team that hasn't beaten anyone. The Cardinals have beaten only the San Francisco 49ers in their opener, and are coming off an epic 24-23 Monday night loss to the Chicago Bears, one of the great collapses in league history.

Shouldn't somebody, somewhere be making some concessions with regard to the direction of the season?

Don't count on it.

Raiders coach Art Shell, when asked about Oakland's status as the only winless team, insisted all season his team's effort level has never wavered.

"We're the only team that doesn't have one. We're not going to run away from that," Shell said. "Our players are working their tails off. I can't say that enough. Some of you might say, 'What's he talking about? They're losing games?'

"But they're working. They have not shut it down. And I can't ask for any more than that. You continue to work, you'll come out of this hole. We'll get out of there some kind of way."

Wide receiver Randy Moss, who restricts his interviews to weekly segments on Fox Sports radio, has vented his frustration but also said he sees improvement.

"Every game that we play we show good signs, but having that zero in the win column is very frustrating," Moss said.

Safety Jarrod Cooper, Oakland's special teams captain, said unity is not the Raiders' problem.

"Everyone has shown up," Cooper said. "If everyone shows up and you lose, that's one thing. If you lose and half your team is there, and half your team is over there (in the other direction), that is another thing."

While Cooper has tried not to listen to the slings and arrows of the fans and media, Sapp knows what is being said. He knows the club's leadership and desire have been questioned.

"When you're on the outside looking at an 0-5 team it's really easy to nitpick and say what need to say because there aren't a lot of things you can fight off when you're 0-5," Sapp said. "The losses are there and there are no wins to fight anything with.

"We know what kind of ball club we've got. We just have to go out and show it. We have to get one under our belt and go from there.

When asked if he had ever been associated with a team that had given in when things got difficult, Shell gave it a moment's thought.

"I can't say I've ever been with a team that shut it down, as a player or coach," Shells said.

He thinks he knows the signs, however.

"A symptom is seeing a player or two that just aren't doing what they're supposed to do," Shell said. "They're kind of going through the motions. And you've go to watch and make sure that doesn't happen. If it doesn't, then you don't need that player on your football team and you don't need him on the field."

Shell did say he had played against teams that had appeared to have gone south.

"The job becomes easier against teams like that," Shell said.


SB Report Top Stories