Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Raiders offense struggles early in preseason
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Randy Moss is complaining, the offense is
stagnating and Aaron Brooks has been unable to move the ball.
With the season opener less than four weeks away, the Oakland
Raiders are searching for answers at quarterback.
Moss was visibly upset after going unseen while open in the end
zone on the first possession. He said after the game the team did
not show much improvement between the first two preseason games.
"I don't see it. Hell, no, I don't see it," Moss said. "But
what we're doing as far as practice, it seems that way in practice,
but when we get to the games, it doesn't seem like we're moving in
the right direction."
Brooks, signed as a free agent in the offseason to replace Kerry
Collins, has looked more like the struggling quarterback who was
benched in New Orleans last season than the big-play passer he used
"We need better production out of the quarterback position
overall," coach Art Shell said Tuesday. "It's not just Aaron. We
need better production out of everybody. I think Aaron would be the
first to tell you that he's not satisfied with his production at
all. He needs to get better and I hope he will get better."
In two exhibition games, Brooks, Andrew Walter and Marques
Tuiasosopo have combined to complete 23 of 58 passes for 321 yards,
four interceptions and two touchdowns. They have also been sacked
Walter, who threw for the team's only touchdown in a 16-13
victory over Minnesota on Monday night, drew praise from Shell
despite throwing two interceptions. He could get a shot with the
first team before the preseason is over.
With Brooks on the field in the first two exhibition games, the
Raiders have gained just 62 yards on 29 plays. Oakland has had only
four first downs on his three drives and gotten into the end zone
once. Brooks is just 2-for-9 for 28 yards with one TD and one
Moss also expressed frustration about being pulled in the middle
of a drive after making his first catch of the preseason in the
second quarter. Shell said that his star receiver had been in long
enough and said there was no need to talk to Moss about the
"I made a decision to take him out," Shell said. "There was a
time frame I had for him to play and that time frame had come. It
was time to get him out of there."
The Raiders struggled to fully utilize Moss last season in his
first year in Oakland, contributing to the decision to fire coach
Norv Turner and cut Collins.
They signed Brooks to a two-year free agent deal worth more than
$8 million because of the big-play ability he showed at times in
New Orleans. In his first four full years as a starter, Brooks
threw for more than 3,500 yards each season and had 98 touchdown
passes and 61 interceptions in that span.
He struggled mightily last season, completing just 55.7 percent
of his passes, throwing 17 interceptions and 13 TD passes before
losing his starting job after 13 games.
The Raiders brought in Brooks to be a bridge to Walter, a
third-round pick in 2005. Oakland thinks so highly of Walter that
the team passed up the chance to draft Matt Leinart or Jay Cutler
Walter showed signs why the Raiders believe in him with a
67-yard touchdown pass to Johnnie Morant on Monday. But he also
threw the two interceptions, drawing an angry stare from his coach
after one of them. Walter is 13-for-29 for 194 yards so far this
"Those two mistakes that he made are things we have to work
on," Shell said. "We will first ask what did he see and we'll
explain to him why he shouldn't have gone in those directions.
Having said that, I thought he was much better in the pocket."