Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Raiders and the Shell Game

I have been dragging my feet on writing about the Raiders' hiring of Art Shell as their head coach, mostly because it does not excite me as a Raider fan.

Don't get me wrong: I think it is a good hire. It is NOT a great hire.

The Pros: Shell was a great motivator. When he coached the Raiders before, his teams were usually psyched for the games. They played at a high level, and executed well.

In additon, unlike most of the Raider coaches recently, Shell sees eye-to-eye with Al Davis. Shell is NOT a sycophant. He just happens to agree with Davis on most issues. The great Raider coaches have tended to be this way (i.e. John Madden and Tom Flores).

The Con: Shell was not a great X's and O's coach. His game plans were simplistic, almost to a high school/college level. It was easy to spot what play was called based on the formation. He also was not very good at making adjustments during the game (the AFC Championship against Buffalo was a glaring example of this).

Regardless, I still like Shell better than Norv Turner. Actually, I like Shell better than most of the lemmings who were hired as head coaches this year.

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