--Running back Justin Fargas has seen his numbers decline in each of his first three seasons due to injury and ineffectiveness, with a low of five carries for 28 yards last season.
Shell says Fargas looks like a new man.
"I don't look at it as a make or break year. Justin is doing well. He has really improved," Shell said. "I was talking to (running backs coach Skip Peete) and he said, `I'm seeing Justin doing some things out there I haven't seen him do over the last couple of years.' That comes from maturity."
--Safety Jarrod Cooper likes the idea that only precious few players appear safe when it comes to their starting roles under Shell.
"It's upped the competition in this room times 10," Cooper said. "Nobody feels safe, which is good. That's how you get people to compete, when you're competing for your job all the time."
"It was funny, because they said, `Well, we promised Chris Simms this and that, but we really want you,'" Brooks said. "Right now Chris is going to start, but it could change by training camp. And I'm like, `What the hell is that?' They weren't really trying to give me a decent salary to work for. I'm not content, I'm not ready to be a backup."
--Shell did not sound overly concerned about place kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who managed to stay out of trouble last season but missed a third of his 30 field goal attempts.
"It's more mental than anything else," Shell said. "He's had the same guy holding for him all these years, so that hasn't changed. He'll be fine. I told him I expect him to be in the Pro Bowl this year. He has that kind of talent."
During Oakland's first mini-camp, Shell put pressure on Janikowski by making his teammates run laps every time he missed a kick.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"We're going to block until the quarterback gets rid of the ball, until the whistle blows. It's not about getting the ball out in 1.5 seconds or 2.2 seconds or whatever it is. We have never been about that. The mentality is, you block, block, block." -- Raiders coach and Hall of Fame left tackle Art Shell on the tenacity he expects to see from the offensive line.
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