Shell at a crossroads

Art Shell hasn't heard that he will be brought back to the Oakland Raiders. He also hasn't heard that he will be retained.

On how difficult this season has been

It's been tough. My expectations are high and so are the player's. Its been a tough situation for us; we've been fighting and trying to push our way through. I knew the job would not be an easy job, I knew it would be a tough situation, but I expected to be better then what we are now.

On if he thinks the players are still fighting

Yes I do. That's one thing that they've done. I take my hat off to them every week. They keep working. We go to practice during the course of the week and they continue to work hard and continue to get better and the effort is there. I really commend them for that.

On the perceived dysfunction with the team

From outside it might look dysfunctional, but it's not, it really isn't. Our players, for the most part, 95-99% of the players, are all on the same page of what we are trying to do and how we are trying to get there.

On how much the game has changed since his first stint as a Raiders coach

The game has changed in the sense that that there are a lot more zone blitzes going on in the league then before. There's more of getting to the quarterback before he can get the ball out and coming from different directions. You have to be able to pick up the zone blitzes and those things, because they create problems for you.

On receiving assurance that he'll be back next season

I haven't received any assurance and I haven't received any (indication) that I won't be back. I'm the Head Coach of the Raiders until I am informed otherwise and that's the way I am approaching it. When things come out from unreliable sources, you have to look at the source.

On who will start at quarterback this week

If Aaron (Brooks) can go, then he'll go. If not, it will be Andrew (Walters) again.

On Brooks injury situation

He got hit in the game the week before and his neck stiffened up on him and he couldn't move and throw like he wanted to because of the neck. The muscle was going down his neck. He came in today and he was feeling a little better, so we'll see how it goes today.

On the team wanting to ruin the Jets playoff aspirations

Sure, that's a great thing to do, in the situation that were in. We get a chance to play against a team that's vying for the playoffs and have a chance to go out and try to win a football game against an outstanding football team. The players are looking forward to it and so am I.

On preferring to play against a playoff hopeful over a team that has already been eliminated

It gives them a little more incentive and we want to finish the season on a positive note. What better way to do, it then to play against the Jets, who are trying to get into the playoffs.

On the lack of success by the offense

That's been very frustrating for us. Our defense has been playing at a level that we can win with, but offensively we just haven't been able to put the points on the board. We've been moving the football between the 20 yard lines, getting into the red Zone and been putting up three points, getting field goals and that's just not good enough. We keep stubbing our toes with mistakes in crucial situations and when you do that, you don't have a chance to win because you don't get enough points on the board. That's been a frustrating thing for us.

On the defense struggling against the run

We've faced every big back there is in the league and we have a couple of them here in our division that are pretty good. We have teams that can run the ball very well and we have backs that run the ball with a lot of effectiveness (in our division). We've played a lot of good teams that have outstanding backs and when you have outstanding backs that can make plays when there is nobody blocked, that gives them an opportunity to make big plays. Our defense has had problems with that. We've played well in spurts against the run, but we put our defense in crucial situations with our offense at times and that's been unfair to them.

On the key to beating the Jets

It's not going to be an easy job. They are well coached, they have big playmakers and their defense doesn't make many mistakes, you're going to have to beat them. You can see that they're well coached and they have enough personnel and number one draft choices up there in the front seven that make a lot of plays. Offensively, you have (Laveranues) Coles you have the quarterback that has outstanding touch. They don't beat themselves; you have to find a way to beat them, because they don't make many mistakes.

On the kickoff coverage against Justin Miller

It's going to be tough; we've had great challenges all year long. We had an outstanding one last week against Kansas City, but it's going to be a tough situation for us. Our special teams work very hard. I like our special teams coach; he does a good job of trying to get our guys together during the course of the week. It's going to be an interesting situation and I think it's going to be a good game.

On Randy Moss wanting to remain with the Raiders

Randy has not pointed out to me that he does not want to be here. I've had discussions with him, not so much about football, but about other things. He talks into the future. We'll se how it goes.

On Moss maintaining his elite receiver status

I think he can still be an effective player in this league; he can make plays. He's had some problems with some injuries and things like that, but I still think Randy Moss can be a force.


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