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Raiders QB Walter apologizes for criticizing playbook

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland quarterback Andrew Walter
apologized Wednesday for criticizing the team's offensive game
plan, and coach Art Shell said the issue is in the past.

Whether Walter will keep his starting job, Shell won't say. He
might wait until just before game time to announce if Walter or
Aaron Brooks will start Sunday when Oakland (2-7) visits Kansas
City (5-4).

"We'll see how it goes for the rest of the week and then the
decision will be made," Shell said.

Walter has started seven straight games since Brooks went down
with a strained pectoral muscle early in the second game of the
season. But Walter's hold on the starting role is tenuous at best
because of his struggles, Brooks' recovery from the injury and
Walter's criticisms of coordinator Tom Walsh's offense.

Walter complained after Oakland's 17-13 loss to the Denver
Broncos on Sunday that the Raiders were too predictable on offense
and that there was not enough "depth" in the playbook.

Shell responded by calling Walter's complaints "off base" and
that Walter needs to be accountable for his own play. Walter
apologized Wednesday through the media but said he didn't talk
directly to the coaches.

"I was naive to think that my words wouldn't be heard across
the nation," Walter said. "That won't happen again. I will be
more wise as far as speaking from emotions and frustration after a
tough loss. Everybody obviously is feeling that way, including the
coaches. We're all in this together."

The two quarterbacks split snaps with the first team in practice
Wednesday, Shell said, and Brooks was able to make all of the
throws he was asked to do.

Brooks, just 6-for-14 for 68 yards before getting hurt in Week 2
against Baltimore, has been completely cleared by the trainers. The
only remaining question for Shell is whether he will be sharp
enough after the time off to play Sunday.

"I want to make sure that he can do the things that we're going
to ask the quarterback to do and then I'll evaluate the two of them
together and see where we are," Shell said. "It's not that Aaron
has to do this for me to do that. It's that he has to do certain
things and then I'll evaluate both of them and see where we are and
make a decision."

Walter's criticisms were rare for a player who is usually very
guarded in what he says. He said his public call for more screens,
quick passes and shorter drops was not much different than what he
has asked the coaches for in private.

He said his emotions got the best of him after Sunday's game and
he vocalized his frustration when he admits he would have been
better off keeping his complaints within the team.

"I spoke from the heart of a frustrated 24-year old basically
in his rookie year," Walter said. "I'll be smart about that in
the future as far as saying things of that nature in future
opportunities."

Shell said Walter's comments wouldn't play a role in the
decision about the starting quarterback and didn't respond to
Walter's apology.

"I've moved on. I don't live for yesterday," Shell said. "I
move on to the next day. I moved on, so I don't know what he said,
and it really doesn't matter. He said what he had to say the other
day, and he said what he had to say today, so I've moved on."

Walter, a third-round pick in 2005 who didn't play a single snap
as a rookie, has shown sporadic signs of success, but has been
unable to generate any kind of consistency. He has completed just
48.1 percent of his passes with only three touchdowns and nine
interceptions for an NFL-low quarterback rating of 54.6. He has
also lost seven fumbles and been sacked 40 times.

The Raiders have the NFL's worst rated offense and have scored
just one offensive touchdown in the second half all season. On
Sunday, Walter said the opposition has adjusted to what the Raiders
are doing during the game, leading to the second-half struggles.

He also said he should shoulder some of the blame and reiterated
that point Wednesday.

"I try to qualify everything by saying I need to play better,
and I do," he said. "So absolutely, there's always plays I need
to make, and there's always things that I can do better. That's
never going to not be the situation. You can never play a perfect
ballgame. So does that mean you should never say anything? Well, I
should have been more smart about that. And I'll be wiser in the
future about that."