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2006 Season Review

For the Raiders, their 2006 season ranks among the worst in team history. A floundering offense is the chief reason for Oakland's fourth straight losing season, a franchise record for futility.

Despite the return of Hall of Fame offensive tackle Art Shell on his second tour of duty as Raiders coach, Oakland's 2-14 record reveals the depths that this once-proud franchise has fallen:

The Raiders finish with a franchise-worst 168 points. It's the fifth fewest points since the league adapted a 16-game format in 1987.

The Raiders rank last in total offense (246.2 yards per game), 29th in rush offense (94.9 yards per game), 31st in pass offense (151.2 yards) and last in scoring (10.5 points).

How pitiful does it get?

What makes 2006 so maddending for Raiders fans is that Oakland's defense plays well. The Raiders are third in the league in total defense (284.8 yards per game) and first in pass defense (151.2) but rank 25th in rush defense (134.0).

Too many times, the Raiders' inability to stop the run negates its defensive positives.

On offense, Raiders quarterbacks Aaron Brooks and Andrew Walter are sacked a league-high 72 times. They combine to throw 21 interceptions and six touchdowns and lose 12 of 18 fumbles. As bad as Brooks and Walter perform, the onus falls on the Oakland offensive line.

From Pop Warner to the NFL, if you don't block, you don't win. It's as simple as that.

Four days after this hideous season ends, managing general partner Al Davis fires Shell for a second time. But more on that later.

In the end, the 2006 Raiders are the NFL equivalent of The Titanic.

Here's a capsule review of Oakland's dismal 2006 season:

Biggest Surprises

CB Nnamdi Asomugha — Emerges as one of the league’s top cover defensive backs. His eight interceptions are eight more than he had during his first three seasons in the NFL (all with the Raiders) and three more than the team had in 2005.

WR Ronald Curry — Develops into the team’s most dependable receiver after sustaining season-ending Achilles injuries the previous two seasons. Curry has 33 of his team-high 62 receptions during the season’s final four games.

OLB Thomas Howard — The rookie from Texas-El Paso helps shore up one of the team’s major weaknesses entering the season. His quickness and speed give the Raiders a potentially dominant player at a key position.

OG Kevin Boothe — The sixth-round draft choice from Cornell is a starter for the final 14 games of the season.

Biggest Disappointments

Offensive coordinator Tom Walsh — The Raiders have one of the worst offensive showings in league history under Walsh’s watch. His play-calls of long-developing pass routes and predictable runs resemble outdated schemes from 30 years ago. It should be noted that after Walsh’s demotion in Week 12, the Raiders score only 29 points in their final five games under new offensive coordinator John Shoop. So Walsh's play-calling is only part of a larger problem.

WR Randy Moss — When he isn’t dropping passes, the five-time Pro Bowler is giving a lackadaisical effort going after balls thrown into coverage. Moss's production doesn't equate his team-high salary, not to mention his reported poor demeanor in the lockerroom.

QB Aaron Brooks — His winless record in eight starts is a riveting indictment on his ability, despite playing behind a woeful offensive line and hindered by predictable play-calling.

OT Robert Gallery — Has done nothing to distinguish himself, unless you’re counting sacks allowed, since being selected by the Raiders with the No. 2 pick in the 2004 draft.

Fast Facts

The Raiders set franchise records for most losses (14) and fewest points (168) in a season.

The Raiders finish last in the NFL in scoring (10.5 points per game) and total offense (246.2 yards per game) and first in sacks allowed (72) and turnovers (46), including a league-high 22 fumbles.
Derrick Burgess (11.0) and Warren Sapp (10.0) combine for 21.0 sacks of Oakland's 34.0 sacks. Burgess, chosen for the Pro Bowl the past two seasons, recorded an NFL-high 16.0 sacks in 2005. Sapp has the most sacks in 2006 since he had 16.5 sacks for Tampa Bay in 2000.
The Raiders finish third in NFL total defense at 284.4 yards per game and first against the pass at 150.8 yards per game, but they ranked 25th against the run at 134.0 yards per game. They were run on a league-high 524 times and passed on a league-low 483 times.

By The Numbers:

8: Interceptions by Nmandi Asmougha, tying for fourth place on the franchise career list for most interceptions in a season.
11: Consecutive Raiders road losses.
14: Consecutive Raiders losses against AFC West opposition.
15-49: The Raiders’ win-loss record the past four years, the worst record among the NFL’s 32 teams over that span.
156: Field goals made by Sebastian Janikowski, tying George Blanda (1967-1975) for second place on the Raiders' all-time list. Chris Bahr (1980-1988) holds the club record of 162 field goals. On the downside, Janikowski finishes last in field-goal percentage for the second straight year.

Parting Shot

On the day that Art Shell was hired for a second time as Raiders coach on Feb. 11, 2006, he told reporters: "It's coming home to finish what I started."

Eleven months later after one of the franchise's worst seasons, Shell was shown the door following a reported meeting with managing general partner Al Davis on Jan. 4.

Another season, another disgrace.

After a 2-14 record in 2006, the Raiders are a league-worst 15-49 the past four seasons. Shell's return as coach was sabotaged almost from the start — when petulant wide receiver Jerry Porter and Shell (right) had a reported falling out soon after Shell was rehired. Porter, who led the team with 75 catches in 2005, reportedly was given permission to work out a trade but nothing materialized.

Once the regular season began, the Raiders offense floundered in historic proportions. When Porter was reinstated in Week 8 after a two-game suspension for insuborination, his presence had little impact in Oakland's passing game. He finished with one catch for 19 yards in four games before missing the season's final four games because of a reported hip injury.

As the Raiders opened the season with five losses, players reportedly became divided on the Porter-Shell rift. A combustible situation that should have been resolved in training camp continued to fester during the early weeks of the season. Too many players reportedly wondered why Shell continued to punish a proven player when the Oakland offense was struggling.

Sadly, the situation never was resolved.

Sadly, the hands-on Davis had to sign off on Shell's method of discipline.

Porter, who has a history of whining, wasn't alone on bailing on the team. High-profile players such as wide receiver Randy Moss and running back LaMont Jordan chimed in on what ailed the offense.

What none of these Raiders stars did was be accountable for their abysmal performance.

The Raiders were broke long before Shell was re-hired. He took over the reins believing the team needed discipline and a leader. His reward for returning was trying to coach a group of underachievers who were quick to point the finger at everyone except themselves.

When former Raiders greats such as Jim Plunkett, Tim Brown and Rich Gannon complain about their successors and their lack of effort, you know something is terribly wrong.

What ails the Raiders starts at the top. The patriarch Davis has gone through three head coaches — Bill Callahan, Norv Turner and Shell — since Jon Gruden bolted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in February 2002. The Raiders' abysmal record the past four seasons speaks volumes for Davis' inability to assemble a competitive team. The fact that Davis made Shell the scapegoat of the 2006 season is a riveting indictment on the chaotic state of the franchise.

The Last Words

"The one thing in a football atmosphere is you don’t want to have gray area. White, black — in or you’re out. Either you’re with us or you ain’t."

Raiders DT Warren Sapp

"When you're 2-14, you've got to do something different. You can't keep doing what you're doing because it hasn't worked."

Raiders SS Stuart Schweigert

"It would be very unfair and unjustified to use coach (Art Shell) as a scapegoat. He did everything he needed to do as a head coach. I hold the players accountable."

Raiders QB Aaron Brooks

"We got to find a way to get this thing turned around. I don’t know if we can get any lower than this."

Raiders FB Zack Crockett

"I've never been involved in a season like this. The way we're playing and the record we have, it's unbelievable.

Raiders SS Stuart Schweigert

Photos captions/credits:

Raiders QB Andrew Walter (16)
coughs up a fumble against the Chiefs.
By The Associated Press

Coach Art Shell searching for a
winning formula on the Raiders sideline.
By The Associated Press

Updated: 1-15-2007


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