How will the Raiders’ offensive line shake out after offseason reboot?


HENDERSON, Nev. — Tom Cable has a course of. It is one the Las Vegas Raiders offensive line coach picked up years in the past from his mentor, Alex Gibbs. And it is one Cable should lean on closely this season.

Particularly after the Raiders reshuffled their offensive line by buying and selling away three-time Professional Bowl middle Rodney Hudson to the Arizona Cardinals, proper guard Gabe Jackson to the Seattle Seahawks and proper sort out Trent Brown to the New England Patriots.

Hey, a minimum of they rewarded left sort out Kolton Miller, the staff’s first-round choose in 2018, with a three-year extension price as much as $68.7 million and re-signed veteran left guard Richie Incognito — who shall be 38 years previous July 5 and is coming off an Achilles damage that restricted him to 2 video games in 2020 — after initially chopping him, proper?

“First, you have to determine your first 5 [linemen],” Cable mentioned in the midst of final season, echoing Gibbs’ mantra. “After which you have to determine your sixth man, then your seventh man, then your eighth man. And while you pick six, seven and eight after you understand who your first 5 are, all three of these guys have gotten to have the ability to play two spots. And that is actually what are components is.”

OK, let’s play, then. No less than, with regards to projecting a beginning offensive line in mid-April, thoughts you.

Let’s use a Sharpie to write down in Miller at left sort out and Incognito at left guard. And whereas the Raiders introduced in four-year veteran middle Nick Martin in free company, Andre James — who joined the Raiders as an undrafted rookie out of UCLA in 2019 — has the higher hand. Sure, despite the fact that he has began one recreation at middle for the Raiders instead of an injured Hudson in 2019, resulting from Hudson being such a mainstay for the franchise since 2015.

Contemplate: Hudson performed 100% of the Raiders’ offensive snaps since 2016, save for one recreation he missed in 2019.

Proper guard? It’s a must to suppose re-signed Denzelle Good, who performed proper sort out and left guard final season however spelled Jackson at proper guard in 2019, is already penciled in there.

Except … the Raiders do one thing loopy, like transfer Good out to proper sort out and transfer John Simpson, a fourth-round draft choose final 12 months who began two video games as a rookie final 12 months, in at proper guard.

After all, the Raiders nonetheless have Brandon Parker, who began two video games at proper sort out in 2020 however left sufficient to be desired that Las Vegas has been linked to utilizing its first-round choose (No. 17 general) on a proper sort out.

Oklahoma State’s Teven Jenkins, anybody? What about Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw? Maybe USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker? Certainly, the likes of Oregon’s Penei Sewell and Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater shall be gone by the point Las Vegas is on the clock.

Nonetheless, Parker began 12 video games at proper sort out in 2018 after being drafted within the third spherical. And with Miller on the left facet, it marked the primary time the Raiders began rookies at each offensive sort out positions because the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, per the Elias Sports activities Bureau. The Raiders additionally grew to become simply the sixth staff to begin a pair of rookies at sort out since 2007.

So why would the Raiders blow up a unit it had invested a lot money and time on the previous few years?

For starters, that projected line of LT Miller, LG Incognito, C Hudson, RG Jackson and RT Brown performed all of three snaps collectively final season. Three!

And with no playoff appearances with that unit, there was no actual return on the funding. Plus, the trades of Hudson, Jackson and Brown saved Las Vegas $32.6 million in wage whereas getting a haul of mid-to-late-round draft picks.

So now, Cable goes to work. Once more. And that is simply superb with Miller.

“Clearly, there’s going to be competitors, however I feel we now have a great group forward of us,” Miller mentioned after his extension was introduced. “We’re simply going to work exhausting collectively. We will proceed to take a position that belief. I belief Tom Cable. I belief me, Richie, Denzelle and Andre and whoever we select to … herald, we’ll be OK. We’ll proceed to work exhausting and get the job carried out.”

And as quarterback Derek Carr famous final 12 months, there’s a respect issue at play between the offensive line and its place coach.

“That basically jumps out at me,” Carr mentioned. “When [Cable] speaks, they hear. And it is, ‘Sure sir, I acquired it. No drawback.’ There isn’t any debate … and it is not likely like a dictatorship, it is similar to a mutual respect that they’ve and, clearly, we see the fruits of it and what’s been capable of occur.

“The command that he has, the respect degree that he has along with his group. It is particular.”

It’s going to even be a significant work in progress.

“We’re persevering with to construct,” Miller mentioned. “I assumed we made nice strides final 12 months, however clearly occasions modified. Like this 12 months issues acquired moved round lots and that occurs with groups, proper?

“However I really feel actually assured in our group and … going ahead I’ve the upmost confidence within the employees. I am going alongside for the trip and I am for it. Yeah, I be ok with it.”

It is a part of Cable’s course of.

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