Forum Spin Doctor
ALAMEDA, Calif. - Oakland Raiders coach Art Shell isn't worried about his future despite reports he will be fired in the offseason after the team's dismal year on the field.
"I am the head coach of the Raiders until I am otherwise informed," Shell said Tuesday. "That's the way I see it."
Heading into the season finale at the New York Jets on Sunday, the Raiders are just 2-13 in Shell's first season back as the team's head coach. The 20-9 loss to Kansas City on Saturday was Oakland's eighth straight and guaranteed the Raiders would go winless in their own division for the second consecutive season.
Last Thursday, the NFL Network - citing a high-ranking official in the Raiders' front office - reported that Shell would be dismissed after the season ends. The Raiders quickly sent out a response denying the report, though Shell acknowledged he and team owner Al Davis have not yet discussed plans for 2007.
"There's an evaluation process. He'll go through an evaluation process, so will I," Shell said.
Davis rarely speaks to the media during the season, though he did make a brief appearance in the Raiders' locker room following their 20-0 loss to St. Louis on Dec. 17. He declined to talk about Shell's future.
"We'll get it straightened out," Davis said at the time.
On Tuesday, the 59-year-old Shell said he was digging in for the long haul and acknowledged Oakland's long list of problems.
"I said when I first took this job this was not going to be an easy thing," Shell said. "My expectations were higher, though. I expected to be in a position where we would win more games than we won."
Shell's second stint as the Raiders' head coach - he previously held the position from 1989-94 - has been crammed with disappointment and drama.
Oakland lost its first five games and changed offensive coordinators midway through the season, but still ranks last in six offensive categories, including total yardage and passing.
The Raiders have been shut out three times this season and are on pace to finish with the fifth-lowest point total in NFL history since the league went to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
With only 12 offensive touchdowns, Oakland has been outscored by five different individual players, including San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson - the NFL's leading scorer - who has a league-record 31 touchdowns himself.
Shell has also endured a protracted feud with wide receiver Jerry Porter, subtle trade demands from wide receiver Randy Moss and an offensive line that has been in shambles all season.
Still, Shell said he expects to be the Raiders' head coach in 2007. If anything, he said, Oakland's struggles this season have strengthened his resolve.
"I'm a fighter. I'm not going to quit," Shell said. "I'm going to push my way through this. It's not easy. I don't like to lose. Nobody around here likes to lose."