Offensive Line Analysis

Offensive Line

Partners in Crime

Partners in crime; Blindside tackle Barry Sims, right, and guard Robert Gallery, left, were among the league leaders in penalties committed in 2007.

Our offensive line was much more cohesive in 2007 than it was in 2006. Also, our run offense was among the best in the league and this improvement should be attributed to the offensive line. However, our line was still responsible for 41 sacks, which is among the worst in the league.

Left Tackle

Robert Gallery has been a huge bust at the left tackle spot and Lane Kiffin wisely moved him to left guard at the beginning of the season. Barry Sims took over for him on the weakside but, Sims is 33 and commits too many penalties (not that Gallery is innocent). With that said, this is one of the most glaring holes on the Raiders’ offensive line. We should be able to fix this in either the draft or free agency. One possible free agent upgrade could be Flozell Adams of the Cowboys. He anchored the left tackle spot for the ‘Boys this season and is on his way to the Pro Bowl. He is the same age as Barry Sims, and it would not be worth giving him a big contract. The most likely scenario for the Raiders would be addressing the problem in the second round of the draft.

Left Guard

Rob Gallery has finally found his niche along the offensive line. His play has elevated since he made the change to left guard prior to the 2007 season. He has only been responsible for ONE sack the entire season, compared to the 10 ½ sacks he gave up in only 10 starts at left tackle under Art Shell. A key part of Justin Fargas’ 1000 yard rushing season was his improved play. At this point he seems to be the future left guard for the Raiders, a far cry from his projected left tackle status. At least , he can play somewhere. His dramatic increase in play should be credited to Tom Cable, our outstanding offensive line coach. Chris Morris is the current back up for Gallery, and should do fine in the event of an injury. Morris plays well in a zone blocking scheme and Tom Cable moved him up in the depth charts during the last offseason.

Center

Jeremy Newberry is a free agent and it is questionable whether the Raiders will resign him. We have Jake Grove waiting in the wings, and Newberry’s knees are not going to last forever. Newberry is 32 and has missed 39 games in the past four seasons. Jake Grove did sustain an a season ending injury, but he is smaller and quicker than Newberry and should fit in nicely with Tom Cable’s zone blocking scheme. If Grove is not ready to play, we will most likely address this position in the draft. Also, a free agent signing could bring depth.

Right Guard

Cooper Carlisle performed above expectation this past season. Like Gallery, he was only responsible for one sack the entire season and he only committed two penalties the entire season.

Right Tackle

When Cornell Green went down with an injury ten games into the season, Paul McQuistan stepped up and played. The offensive line actually played a little better with him in the lineup. Green is also 32 and a free agent. Either look for the Raiders to resign him on the cheap or let him walk and keep Mario Henderson as a back up.

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