The Oakland Raiders possessed one of the worst records in the NFL in 2012, and the dire state of the offensive line was one of the main protagonists. A year we can expect much of the same can’t we? Maybe, but I think not.
Why am I optimistic OL conditions will improve for the Raiders this year? Well we’ve dropped the previous scheme and coaching team and brought in one of the best OL coaches in Tony Sparano. This in itself would likely prove sufficient to fuel a significant improvement, but couple this will likely age-related improvements at left tackle and centre and the picture brightens further. Right tackle was a real worry last year, as it has since Lincoln Kennedy, but I really like the signing of Watson in the second round, potentially giving us big strong bookends at either side of the line for many years to come.
What about guards I hear you scream, well here I hear reports that last year’s top draft pick Bergstrom is really looking good at left guard, whereas at right guard I envisage a dramatic improvement from a fully fit Brisiel. He’s been written off by many fans, I think a little unfairly as he played most of last year hurt. I know there are also concerns that he won’t suit the return to power blocking but he isn’t small, so this is not a particular concern to me. Lightening the outlook on the interior of the line further are reports of really impressive play by young prospect Lucas Nix, this kid himself isn’t far off starting.
Couple all these reasons for optimism and we have the basis of a much improved line in 2013-2014. Not only will this make McFadden’s job easier but it will also give our QB much more time, and a greater chance to shine.