ALAMEDA Two coaches got fired Monday. That one of them wasn't Oakland Raiders coach Art Shell might come as a surprise to those at the NFL Network who promised such a move.
Not to Shell. He spent 25 minutes or so Monday at his season-ending news conference speaking with the confidence and assuredness of a man whose job is secure.
"I expect to be here, and I want to do this," Shell said. "I want to try to see this thing to fruition."
Shell said he intends to meet with managing general partner Al Davis this week, perhaps today.
Similar meetings didn't go well for Arizona Cardinals coach Denny Green and Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora. Both were fired Monday.
Shell still has one year remaining on the two-year contract he signed in February. There hasn't been any indication from Davis that he intends to make a coaching move for the fourth time since Jon Gruden left after the 2001 season.
Shell said Monday that numerous players made it clear to him after the Raiders lost to the New York Jets on Sunday that they are in his corner.
He had "veteran players walk up and say, 'Coach, this thing is on the right track. We're going to get this thing done,'" Shell said.
In many respects, Shell said, the Raiders are far closer to where they want to be than they were at the beginning of the season. It's just that their progress on defense, instilling a strong work ethic and adding speed and youth to the 53-man roster didn'tfrom Sports 1
translate into victories.
The Raiders were one of seven teams with four victories or fewer last season. The six other teams in that category improved by three to seven victories. The New Orleans Saints and the Jets showed the most improvement.
The Saints went from 3-13 to 10-6 and a playoff berth. The Jets spiked from 4-12 to 10-6 and a playoff spot.
The Raiders lost more games in one season than they did in any other in the franchise's 47-year history. None of Shell's Raider teams lost more than nine games during his first tenure, from 1989-94.
Not everything is rosy, Shell admitted. Changes to his coaching staff, particularly on offense, likely are in store. The rift between he and senior personnel executive Mike Lombardi needs to be resolved Lombardi's name has surfaced in connection with expected vacancies with the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.
And it's high time to part ways with disgruntled wide receiver Jerry Porter if there isn't a hope of repairing a relationship that soured from the outset.
"That's something that will be addressed," Shell said of his icy relationship with Porter.
Players such as receiver Randy Moss complained about some of Shell's strict policies. Moss and others also questioned the length and difficulty of Shell's practices.
"I told Randy this a few weeks ago," Shells said. "I said, 'You guys think you work hard. A lot of coaches that are winning in this league right now, you couldn't play for if that's what you think because my practices, they're tough enough but they're not that tough.' ... This is nothing" compared with when Shell played from 1968-82.
Shell said it's too early to address specific players or positions. That won't be done until he and his coaches conduct evaluations and discuss their findings.
Yet, he said, he already knows that the Raiders are far enough along to be confident that next season's team will make people forget about the disappointment from this season's team.
EXTRA POINTS: New Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh reportedly is interested in hiring away Raiders linebackers coach Don Martindale to be his defensive coordinator. Martindale has spent the past three seasons with the Raiders. ... The 45 second-half points scored by the Raiders represents the lowest figure by a team in the 29 years since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. ... The Raiders coaching staff is eligible to coach the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., by virtue of their last-place finish in the AFC. Shell said he isn't sure if the Raiders will accept the offer. The Raiders coached the Senior Bowl in 2005. ... Defensive tackle Terdell Sands is among the Raiders' soon-to-be free agents the team is in the midst of attempting to sign to extensions. ... Defensive end Tyler Brayton sustained an medial collateral ligament injury against the Jets, Shell said, "but he should be good to go by the time" it's time to resume practice.