Shell sees progress in his Raiders

Who do you expect to play quarterback for the Steelers on Sunday? Art Shell: I expect Ben Roethlisberger. We expect him to play and if he doesn't, Charlie Batch can fill in very well. It is the Steelers system, so they just plug in a quarterback.

Do you see a difference in Ben from his first three games to his last couple?

Yes, he has really improved. I think his confidence level is back to where it belongs and where he wants it to be, and he is very efficient.

What did that win on Sunday mean for you guys?

It meant a lot. It meant that after working so hard finally we got some success. Our team needed that. We needed a confidence builder. Now their confidence level will be a little bit higher than it was in the past. Within the last three weeks, we had a couple games where we were ahead at halftime and then we came out and lost the game at the end. We had to push our way through something like that and with the Super Bowl champions coming into town, we definitely have to be ready.

When you took this job, did you come into it thinking that maybe this is a long term, or a couple years where it might take that long to get things turned around?

No, I didn't look at it in terms of years. I looked at it as it wasn't going to be easy. It was a situation where I had to come in and change the attitudes and the mindsets of the people that were here. We have some good young football players here but they needed direction. That is what I am trying to give them on how to win and how to prepare yourself to win. You have to prepare for success and the only way I know how to do that is to go out on the practice field and kind of hone your game as best you can.

How much would it mean to you personally to get Oakland back on top?

It would mean a whole lot. This organization has been my life for a lot of years. I am very proud to say that I am a Raider. The history of the organization has been very successful and I want it to get back to where it belongs, like the Steelers. The Steelers have been back up there for awhile now and that's where I want the Raiders organization to be because I think it is good for football when the Raiders are on top and working hard.

You recall the days from the 1970's, do you think this rivalry means anything to these two teams anywhere close to where it used to be?

I don't think the young kids understand the history of that rivalry and what it meant to pro football, period. But I think they have heard enough and I think they play hard enough and understand that it is going to be a tough physical game. I was talking to my team this morning, I told them I didn't care what the records are, when the Raiders and Steelers get together, it is always going to be a tough, physical hard-fought football game. That is what I expect on Sunday.

_ What does Randy Moss mean to your offense?

He means a lot. Randy and Andrew (Walter) are beginning to click now. I think they understand each other. Andrew knows where Randy is going to be and Randy knows where he has to go in order to get the ball from Andrew. With Randy being at the top of his game, that makes our offense a whole lot better and opens up things for other receivers and also helps us with our running game.

Is the way Randy Moss is playing one of the reasons that your quarterback has gotten better recently?

There is no doubt about it. I think when Randy is playing well, that helps our whole offense and our quarterback is growing and he is young, but he has gotten better each time he hit the field.

Do you expect the Steelers defense to play a little wounded after the way they were passed on by the Falcons?

The Steelers defense will be ready to play on Sunday, there is no doubt about that. I have no expectations other than that we had better be prepared to play because they are going to come in here ready to defend their championship.

What about your defense?

Our defense has really been coming along. They have been playing pretty good football. They started out very well at the beginning of the year and then they kind of hit a little low there for a couple of games. But now I think we are getting back at the top of the game, where they need to play. We have a lot of young players over there but they are really rallying and coming around. When you have a young guy like Derrick Burgess who is really the leader of that group, he is the defensive captain and he leads that group very well. They are responding to him and they are responding to our defensive coaching staff.

You said when you came in you needed to change some of the attitudes and mindsets. What were those?

I think the commitment to being the best that you can be. I don't think that was totally there. Maybe they had been a little lax in how they approached the game. Being on time for things is very important. You have to have a certain amount of discipline in what you do.

Do coaches have to play younger players quicker?

Yes because you are paying these young guys a lot of money, therefore with free agency and guys moving on, you have to be prepared to get these young players to play right away. You can't keep all of your players, that is the tough thing about free agency. You can want to keep all of your players together, but you can't so you have to take your money and spread it around in a very efficient manner.

How is Lamont Jordan?

His back is a little stiff. He didn't play in the game because he twisted it in warm-ups. That was a setback for us. He seems to be better, his practice today will be limited, I am not sure but we will see.

Do you expect him to be able to play on Sunday?

I am hoping that he will be able to play because we really need him.

Is that a good one-two punch for you guys?

It has been very good for us with him and Justin (Fargas) running the ball, I think that has been a good one-two punch. Justin comes off the bench and gives us a lift.


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