Jason Cole over at Yahoo! Sports just ranked the Raiders OLine dead last. Power rankings don’t get me all hot and bothered, but they do provide something to chop up during the offseason.
About the Raiders, Mr. Cole says:
32. Oakland Raiders: Wow, this is bad. Mario Henderson and Cornell Green shouldn’t be the answers to: “Name the Raiders starting offensive tackles from 2009.” Yikes. It doesn’t get much better in the middle and the sad part is that the Raiders didn’t do much to upgrade the personnel this offseason. Say a prayer for Jason Campbell. He’s going to need it.
He’s right. There hasn’t been much activity with the offensive line. Although, Cornell Green is gone and the Raiders picked up RT Jared Veldheer and RG Bruce Campbell in the draft. As for the snarky comment about praying for Jason Campbell, I’m guessing Cole didn’t see many Redskins games last year.
The weakest position on the offensive line, LT with Mario Henderson, has yet to be addressed. Even allowing for the frustration of playing in front of JaMarcus Russell, Henderson’s 10.5 sacks allowed for 2009 is inexcusable. He’s in the last year of his contract with the Raiders and I must say I’m a bit surprised the team hasn’t gone shopping for a legitimate upgrade.
Lining up next to Henderson is LG Robert Gallery. Gallery played in only six games during 2009. He suffered a broken leg (fibula) in September, returning just long enough to be taken out by a back injury, in week 13, that required surgery. So far, so good with his recovery. He’s been at every OTA and reports say he looks agile and healthy.
C Samson Satele got the starting gig when Chris Morris moved over to LG to fill in after Gallery went down. Traded from Miami, Satele got to spend his first year in Oakland juggling the three ring QB circus that defined the second half of the Raiders season. If anyone on the line gets a mulligan, it’s Satele.
Cooper Carlisle, RG, is penciled in as the starter for 2010. However, Bruce Campbell is going to want to compete for the job. Some say Campbell was drafted as insurance for Gallery, but a healthy Gallery on the left with a disciplined Campbell on the right could be a nasty combination.
RT is a little more blurry. Langston Walker has been starting ahead of Khalif Barnes in off season practices. There’s a strong contingent of folks out there who think rookie Jared Veldheer is NFL ready enough to win the job outright. It’s possible, although unlikely, that Bruce Campbell is thrown in the mix as well.
The greatest impact on the line is quite possibly the acquisition of QB Jason Campbell. As much as the Raiders OLine has struggled at times, JaMarcus Russell and his inability to scramble, his inability to find receivers, his inability to throw the ball or hold onto the ball, gave the illusion of a line in utter disarray. Camp should be an eye opener.
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Written by Julie Schloss