Fresh start: Raiders' Shell names two rookies starters

Updated: July 24, 2006, 6:24 PM ET
Associated Press

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Before the Oakland Raiders even arrive at their first training camp in Art Shell's second stint as coach, it's clear that few jobs are safe.

Shell has already penciled in two rookies as starters -- second-round pick Thomas Howard at outside linebacker and third-round selection Paul McQuistan at right guard. First-round pick Michael Huff is also in the mix at safety.

The changes are necessary after the team posted its third straight losing season for the first time in owner Al Davis' 43-year tenure.

"I want the best football players out there," Shell said. "In this league you can play with young guys if the guy has talent. They're going to make some mistakes, but you can live with them if they make them aggressively."

Shell also coached the Raiders from 1989-1994, going 54-38 during the regular season while leading the team to the AFC championship game following the 1990 season. The team has had only three winning seasons since Shell was fired -- one less than he had in five full seasons as coach.

"These guys are tired of losing and want to be part of a winning program," Shell said. "The work ethic this offseason shows they are on board and want to win. That's what they are here for."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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