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Thread: Too little, too late on the offensive line?

  1. #1

    Too little, too late on the offensive line?

    The Raiders made some good moves this off-season. Trading for Jason Campbell, releasing JaMarcus Russell and drafting LB Rolando McClain were all moves in the right direction for a team that has lost at least 11 games each of the last 7 years. But did they do enough to address their most glaring need - the offensive line?

    After completely ignoring the offensive line in the last 4 drafts, the Raiders took potential starters in the 3rd and 4th rounds. 3rd round pick Jared Veldheer was dominating college tackle, but he played at Division II Hilldale College. Although he was impressive on tape and in pre-draft workouts, it's a huge jump from DII to the pros and it's hard to imagine him being a solid starter as a rookie. 4th round pick Bruce Campbell was the star of the combine after running a 4.85 40. Campbell has the physical tools to develop into a starter, probably at guard, but is far from a finished product.

    Veldheer and Campbell wouldn't be expected to start for most teams, but the Raiders have very little talent on the line. LT Mario Henderson started strong last year, but faded by mid-season. Robert Gallery, a former #2 overall pick, washed out at tackle and is barely holding on at guard. The rest, Sampson Satele, Cooper Carlisle, Chris Morris, Langston Walker, etc, are mostly journeymen.

    Veldheer and Campbell might someday develop into reliable starters. In an ideal situation, they would sit for a couple of years behind veterans before the team needed them to step up. But the Raiders have ignored the position for so long, they may not have any choice but to throw one or even both into the starting lineup on opening day.

  2. #2
    Anybody know if the raiders have made any other Of-line moves lately? We need somebody to open up holes for Mcfadden and Bush.

  3. It almost doesn't matter in the NFL what an offensive lineman's pedigree is before he reaches the pros. There have been just as many studs (Joe Thomas) taken in the top 5 in recent years as duds (sorry Raiders fans--Robert Gallery). You might as well take a chance on some younger guys, some guys that could make a difference because there really is no good way to tell who is capable of what until they reach the NFL.

  4. Football is a team sport, and analyzing the success of an offensive line without understanding the context in which they operate is foolish. I'm not saying the Raiders' line is all-world, but what I am saying is that it is almost impossible to realistically assess their performance over the last couple of seasons in light of the fact that they were forced to contend with perhaps the most inept QB play in the modern history of the NFL.

    I don't care who you have up front, if the QB is too obtuse, lazy or overweight to put himself in the right position both physically and mentally to execute a play... let alone marshal an offense and contend with professional defenses.... what possible chance is there of success. Jamarcus Russell's drops in the pocket were never, ever consistent or fluid (again due to terrible footwork and incompetence) and his "feel" for the game and game-speed was non-existent. The comments coming out of Raider mini-camps have said so in as many words.

    No one is going to say that Jason Campbell is an all-pro (yet, hopefully), but its indisputable that he works on his craft diligently and has the physical tools to be successful in a non-West Coast offensive scheme. The novel concept of professional competence from the quarterback position will prove to be a revelation in Oakland, and while they probably won't be regarded as among the best in the league... I don't foresee the offensive line being fodder for similar forums next off-season.

    This precise argument applies to the WR core and the defensive unit as a whole. With a QB that can actually get the ball out on time, and with some semblance of leadership (not to mention "a clue"), people will be shocked... just shocked, by the talent evident in these players. Stick it to 'em DHB!

    Likewise, having an offense that's good for more than one or two first downs a game might help the defense out a bit. I'm not a paid analyst or anything, but I'm pretty sure that giving people a glimmer of hope tends to improve effort and performance.

    No, I don't think Oakland will win the SB this year. However, the Raiders will surprise people this year. To my mind, anything less than 8 wins will be disappointing.

  5. #5
    No the Raiders don't have the best o-line in the NFL but alot of that while it is talent was due to injuries. Robert Gallery has set in nicely at guard and needs to stay right there. And while he may not be the all world tackle he was expected to be you cant really label him as a bust. He's still in the league and starting with the same team that drafted him he just had a position change. Look at the first game of last season against the chargers the raiders line dominated that game when they were all healthy. At least they did in the first half. It also comes down to the quarterback spot. having a QB that knows to get rid of the ball helps a line immensely because they're not forced to hold blocks longer than they need to. Health and better play at the QB spot will show the Raiders line is much better than people give them credit for.

  6. #6
    So no other moves?

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