First Look: The Oakland Raiders

There's a possibility the last snap Aaron Brooks took as an Oakland Raiders quarterback was the one he fumbled on Sept. 17, leading to a pectoral strain that sidelined him for the past five games. Although Brooks returns to practice in some limited fashion this week, there's no guarantee the job will be his when he recovers.

Andrew Walter, a third-round draft pick in 2005, began the process of being groomed for the job shortly after he was drafted, and passing on Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler in the 2006 draft served as emphasis.

With a 2-5 record, there's no time like the present to begin preparing for the future.

"Right now, Andrew is the quarterback," coach Art Shell said. "Aaron has to do a lot to show me he's ready to play. It's not that you come out and say, `OK, I'm ready to go.' I have to see it." Brooks, pleasant and supportive of Walter throughout his rehab, has been vague about his possible return because he's not sure if he's healthy, and even when he is, must understand on some level he may not be the starter anyway.

"I don't want to get out there and end up hurting the team," Brooks said. "That's why I can't give you a definitive answer because I don't know when that day's going to come. The breakthrough could be Wednesday, it could be Friday, it could be the final week.

"I'm just trying to get myself to the point where I can go out there and contribute in a major way and not to the point where, `Oh, he shouldn't be out there,'" Brooks said. "I don't want to put the team in that type of predicament."

Brooks promises to be supportive of Walter regardless of his own status.

"I let him know before every game and during the course of the week that I'm behind him, no matter what," Brooks said. "Young guys need that. They need to know that a veteran guy is still behind them because there's been situations where veterans don't even mess with younger guys because they fear for their job. But that's not the case here."

Brooks became the New Orleans starter through injury after starter Jeff Blake broke his ankle on Nov. 19, 2000 against the Raiders. Brooks never felt Blake went out of his way to help him out. "The other guy, he may say different, but he was not much of a help, and I ended up getting the job," Brooks said. "I kind of learned on my own, from my own mistakes and experiences."

Brooks, who played in Green Bay when Brett Favre was the starter and Matt Hasselbeck was on the roster, said Favre relayed a similar experience and promised to be supportive. Brooks then smiled and said, "There's also a fine line between all that. You don't give a guy all your secrets. You help him out, you help the team out, as much as possible, though."


--QB Andrew Walter is on pace to pass the ball 338 times and gain 2,114 yards, which would be the second-lowest figure in franchise history for quarterback with 300 pass attempts. In 1962, Cotton Davidson threw 321 passes and gained 1,977 yards.

--RB Justin Fargas has 11 first downs on 61 carries, the same number of first downs starter LaMont Jordan has on 91 attempts.

--RB Zack Crockett leads Oakland in yards per carry with a 5.1 average on 12 attempts.

--WR Randy Moss has been the intended receiver on 58 of 177 pass attempts by the Raiders, or 32.8 percent.

--WR Alvis Whitted drew the start over Jerry Porter against Pittsburgh, but his snaps were reduced and he failed to catch a pass for the first time this season.

--TE Courtney Anderson, who had 6 receptions for 111 yards in his previous two games, did not catch a pass against the Steelers, the first time this season he went without a reception.

--DT Tommy Kelly had his second strong game in a row, with 1.5 sacks, two hurries and six tackles against Pittsburgh.

--LB Thomas Howard, a rookie second-round draft pick, had seven stops and deflected a pass in coverage that was intercepted by Nnamdi Asomugha and returned 24 yards for a touchdown.

--FS Stuart Schweigert, Oakland's interception leader last season with two, does not have an interception through six games.

--P Shane Lechler has not averaged less than 45 yards per punt in any game this season. Top Stories