Friday, December 16, 2005

Art Shell Deserves Another Shot

If the Lions, Texans, Saints, and any other team that will be looking for a new head coach don't bring in Art Shell for an interview and have him starting out at or near the top of their lists, then there really is something wrong with the NFL. Not only does Shell have a proven record as a winning coach who knows how to get the most out of his teams, but as a member of the Hall of Fame for his outstanding offensive line play, he brings serious credentials that demand a certain level of respect from players.

In 1989 Art Shell took over for a 1-3 Raiders team, leading them to a 7-5 record the rest of the way. In 1990 the Raiders finished 12-4 for their first winning record in five years. In Shell's five full seasons as head coach, the Raiders posted a winning record four times and made the playoffs three times. Shell's playoff record with those Raider teams was a respectable 2-3. In Shell's last year, 1994, the Raiders went 9-7. Without him, the Raiders wouldn't again post a winning record until 2000.

His experience as an offensive lineman and as an offensive line coach might also go a long way toward helping the Texans and the Lions in particular, as they are two teams whose offensive line play has left much to be desired this past season. No matter what QB or all-world RB they bring in, improvement for such teams isn't going to happen until they shore up their front lines. And there's no coaching candidate out there that would be better served to lead the way.

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