Season continues under Brooks

Aaron Brooks, still looking for his first win as the Raiders' starting quarterback, will get another chance Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs at McAfee Coliseum.

"Aaron will start at quarterback," coach Art Shell said at his weekly press conference, without elaborating.

Brooks was unhappy about being pulled on the first series of the fourth quarter in favor of Andrew Walter, with Shell saying he hoped to give the Raiders a spark.

He talked with members of the media Monday before Shell's press conference and wasn't aware he was being retained as the starter.

"We practice (Tuesday), and I don't think they're going to call and tell me," Brooks said.

Shell wasn't concerned or surprised about Brooks' frustration over being pulled from the game.

"Nobody likes to be taken out of a game," Shell said. "I don't expect anything different from that. He's a competitor and he wants to be in the game at all times in every situation. So that doesn't surprise me."

Brooks is 0-7 as the Raiders starter. He suffered a turn pectoral muscle recovering his own fumble Sept. 17, returning Nov. 19 to face Kansas City. Although his mobility gave the Raiders a dimension Walter doesn't have, the fact remains the Raiders are the NFL's 32nd ranked offense and have scored no more than 14 points in any game Brooks has started.

Brooks' reputation for mistakes at the worst possible time has manifested itself on occasion with interceptions in the red zone, but the fact remains that he's also had poor blocking, no running game and a receiving corps crippled by Jerry Porter's season-long feud with Shell and by general indifference the last several weeks on the part of Randy Moss.

Porter's problems with Shell pre-dated Brooks' arrival. Moss seemed fine until he went on his radio segment on Fox Sports Radio and announced things were "fishy" in the days leading up to the season opener.

"Not in a million years would I have expected this," Brooks said. "There was controversy with Porter, and I'm like, 'What's going on?' I'm trying not to get involved with it because I just got here, trying to get acquainted with people.

"Randy was the perfect model citizen before his outburst, so it's like, 'Oh, great. What's really going on?' You see other issues across the board offensively that make you think, what have I gotten into?"

Brooks said there was little he could do to change the attitudes of either of Oakland's wide receivers.

"I talked to Porter, talked to Moss. They had their mind made up," Brooks said. "When guys have their mind made up, what can you do, you know? You can't change that. Jerry was like that from Day 1, maybe because Kerry (Collins) left, I don't know. It just kind of evolved with Moss, and that follows his history, you know?"


For the sixth time this season Sunday, the Rams had a different offensive line combination that started a game. The shuffling commenced with the first game of the season when center Andy McCollum was lost for the season, and hasn't stopped all year.

The Rams have had three different players at every spot on the line except right tackle where Alex Barron has started every game. Richie Incognito, who started the season at left guard, has played three different positions, the third coming Sunday with his move to right guard.

But the makeshift line that fought against the Raiders Sunday helped the team win, 20-0, and blocked well enough against eight-man boxes to provide running back Steven Jackson without enough running room to gain 127 yards on 31 carries. The latter was a career high.

"We were playing a lot of young guys," Linehan said. "I think the offensive line for the most part played pretty well."

Those young guys included Barron, a second-year player, Incognito, a 2005 draft choice that practiced once that entire season, left guard Mark Setterstrom, a seventh-round pick this year, and center Brett Romberg, an undrafted free agent with Jacksonville in 2003 who had his first snaps from scrimmage in a game earlier this season when Incognito injured his foot.

Jackson was asked if he thought he was running behind the team's line of the future.

"Absolutely," he said. "I'm the first one to try to put in my bid for that. Especially when 'Big O' (left tackle Orlando Pace) comes back, I think we have an offensive line that we could have around here for a while."

Incognito was at right guard because 35-year-old Adam Timmerman was inactive, breaking a streak of 184 consecutive regular-season games played. Judging by coach Scott Linehan's decision not to dress Timmerman, his future has to be considered in doubt.

When Linehan was asked Monday if this might be the line of the future, at least on the interior, Linehan said, "It's a possibility. It's certainly something to look at right now. They're a young group, really, across the board if you take (Todd) Steussie out of the mix as far as if you look at the age of the player. Setterstrom, four starts. Romberg's first. Richie's in his first year of starting in the NFL. Alex Barron's in his second year starting, and (tight end) Joe Klopfenstein's in his first year starting if you count him as part of the line.

"The encouraging thing is they're very willing. They've improved to this point to get in there, and deserve an opportunity. It shows for some good depth down the line for sure. I don't know if it'll be our starting lineup after this week, but we're not focused on anything but this game. So far, so good."

Jackson didn't accumulate his yards with a lot of style and flash. His long run was a 19-yard touchdown, and there were only two others of 10 yards or more. Three runs accounted for 47 yards; his other 28 totaled 80 in grind-it-out fashion with just one carry going for minus yardage (minus-1). There were nine carries of one yard or less against those eight-man boxes, but the plan was to stick with the run, and they did. Quarterback Marc Bulger had just 22 pass attempts in the game and passed for 137 yards.

"I can't remember the last time I threw for under 150," Bulger said. "I don't think I've ever done it. But to win a game like that, you know your defense is playing good."

As for Jackson, Bulger said, "Not that he wasn't willing to take the three or four yards before, but I think in the past he always tried to get a touchdown on every play. But now I think he's more than willing to dig it in there. I don't think he realized that when he does that -- pounding the ball into the pile -- he's wearing people down."

Concluded Setterstrom, "I have nothing but respect for that guy (Jackson). That's what football's all about, running the rock. It's good just to get back to the simple things."

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