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O-line’s scheme, makeup depends on Cable

Fourth in a series evaluating the Raiders position by position as it begins it begins to prepare for the 2009 season.

Position group review: Offensive line

Starters: LT Mario Henderson, LG Robert Gallery, C Jake Grove, RG Cooper Carlisle, RT Cornell Green. Reserves: T Kwame Harris, C-G Chris Morris, C John Wade, T Paul McQuistan, T Mark Wilson, T James Marten. Unrestricted free agents: Grove, Carlisle.

The direction of this unit will become more clear once it is learned whether Tom Cable returns as either head coach, offensive coordinator or offensive line coach.

He won’t have the triplicate role of being in charge, calling the plays and handling his beloved grunts, but if Cable is still around, the Raiders will remain a zone blocking team, with an emphasis on beating opponents to the punch rather than overpowering them.

Cable believes in the scheme very deeply, and it was at its glorious best in the fourth quarter against Tampa Bay, when Michael Bush rushed for 129 yards and the Raiders left Bucs linemen strewn all over their own field.

If Cable doesn’t get the head coaching gig and takes another job, the Raiders could return to a man-blocking scheme or some kind of hybrid, as Denver has done in recent years.

As was the case in 2008, the Raiders’ best lineman was a guard, only this time it was Gallery, who had only three penalties all year and who would be getting some run as an upper tier player at his position if Oakland had a winning record.

Gallery has already reworked his contract once, usually an indication a player isn’t going anywhere, and with cap number approaching $9 million, could be asked again.

The rest of the line wasn’t nearly as consistent. Carlisle, the most steady player in 2008, found himself manhandled on occasion against the more physical tackles and is an unrestricted free agent.

Grove’s contract automatically voided on playing time incentives. The Raiders’ Ed Block Courage Award winner for his recovery from micro-fracture surgery, Grove is a staunch Cable supporter and his plans could hinge on whether the coach returns in some capacity.

Originally signed to be a veteran backup, Green has been a two-year starter on the right side and carries a $1.8 million salary into next season. Ideally, he’ll be a backup and a mentor to Henderson and other young linemen.

During the draft or free agency, the Raiders need a frontline tackle _ maybe two. The scheme they select will determine whether they seek a bruiser or someone more lean and athletic.

One of the bright spots over the past three games was Henderson. A public whipping post for former coach Lane Kiffin, and ridden hard by Cable in private, Henderson’s passion and desire were openly questioned.

He subbed for Harris against Buffalo and Kansas City, with Harris getting his job back when healthy. He subbed for him again because of injury later in the year, with Cable going back to Harris end emphatically stating he was the Raiders’ left tackle.

Finally, as Harris continued to struggle, Henderson got the job over the final three games, didn’t make a single penalty, and proved worthy of at least entering camp as a favorite to start.

Harris, on the other hand, is due $2 million in salary plus a $6 million roster bonus after earning $605,000 with a $1.5 bonus in 2008. Harris will never see the second year, certainly not with those numbers.

Cable’s loyalty _ he was convinced Harris would be a standout left tackle _ got the better of him in this case. He lobbied for Harris, who struggled in pass protection for the 49ers, and it stands out as his worst mistake in judgment since joining the Raiders.

The Raiders have right of first refusal on Morris, a smallish, mobile guard/center who won’t be around if the blocking scheme changes radically.

The Raiders still have Wade under contract for another year at $1.5 million should they lose Grove.

Marten, a Cowboys practice pick, was signed off their practice squad but was never active for a game as he adjusted to the system. Although Cable said he liked Marten’s progress, they never considered activating him even though Harris was struggling, Henderson wasn’t a favorite of the coaches and Green’s health was a week-to-week proposition.

McQuistan, who spent the season on injured reserve following knee surgery, adapted slowly to zone blocking and was ticketed for a reserve role before being injured. Wilson, also on I.R., will be fighting for a roster spot.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • RaiderRockstar

    Apparently Jerry didn’t know what Routt’s contract status was, so I haven’t the slightest.

    ***

    Jerry only answers the obvious questions in his live chats. He doesn’t know any more than we do and if he did, he would post it here. If you ask him a tough question, he’ll say “i don’t know” and give you his opinion. His opinion means nothing, because Davis is not predictable.

  • vegas raider

    I’m just glad Al admitted his mistake with Hall, and cut him and didn’t give that worthles POS another penny. The second-round pick for him was a killer

  • RaiderRod

    I hear you Rockstar , but I worry after the Lane Kiffin fiasco alot of would be gung ho coaches would rather rethink that opportunity for them coming to the Raiders.

    I agree though , I would also.
    I hold out hope.

  • darkknight01

    Old stubborn man Al…just hire a decent head coach, player personnel man, and let the head coach hire a solid defensive coordinator and get the hell outta the way for the next 3 years and then you can evaluate how they are all doing after 3 years.

  • RaiderRod

    Al letting Hall go like that was a shocker , I don’t think I remember any like that happening before.Unexpected.

  • RaiderRod

    Darkknight if he does that , it won’t take three years.
    You will have great status by the second year.

  • vegas raider

    #203

    Makes so much sense that it couldn’t possibly happen in Raiderland

  • http://view.playlist.com/12942502411/standalone La Milicia Negra

    # 4evaRaider Says:
    January 7th, 2009 at 6:30 am

    hey LMN G/M!!! Who would you like us 2 draft 1st???
    ____________________________________________________________

    hmm, well I rather wait with draft speculations till after we know who the new HC will be..

    Our needs will change regarding which scheme/philosophy we choose..

    But if you ask, what I would do…then i would trade out of the 1st round, trade players even just worth 5th round, if we dont need them or can find an upgrade..

    But im really sitting here in suspense, waiting for the HC hire, and we better find one soon, so we can get a head start!

  • http://none MaddenRaider

    Oh, just think, if crazy old Al wouldn’t have gotten so butt hurt over Kiffin taking control of his football team (as a real head coach is supposed to), we could be going into Pittsburgh this week. But, Al’s crazy ways have ruined yet another season for us, and have set us back at square one, ensuring we won’t be competitive again for at lest 3 more years (and that’s if we get a real gm to come here.

  • RaiderRod

    Al’s biggest gripe has to be that he want’s to prove all they nay sayers wrong.

    i.e. 6 consecutive losing seasons.

  • Pingback: Jerry McD: O-line’s scheme, makeup depends on Cable - Oakland Raiders Forum | Message Board - Where the Raider Nation lives!

  • http://Thehomo.com HOMO GUY

    HOMO GUY SAYS:

    JaMarcus Russell needs to move to the LT.

    JaMarcus Russell needs to call Oprah & go on her latest diet.

    JaMarcus Russell needs to lay down in Dr. Phil’s leather coach for an hour of head shrinking or head expansion.

    HOMO GUY says:

    The Raiders keep losing.

    The Raiders are clueless.

    The Raiders are gerbils running on a spin wheel.

    HOMO GUY says:

    Doesn’t Cable look like John Goodman’s little brother?

    HOMO GUY says:

    Do Raider fans shower in their Halloween costumes after Raider home games?

    HOMO GUY says:

    The Raiders will lose 11 or more game next season… again.

    So says… HOMO GUY.

  • RaiderRod

    I will still always yearn for a new begining , every time the season ends.

  • RaiderRod

    Time to skedaddle fellas , catch you all later on.

    Good chat.

  • darkknight01

    vegas raider Says:
    January 7th, 2009 at 10:12 am
    Darkknight,

    If ever a year to trade down this would be it. Maybe one of the QB’s will be available when we pick, and the Vikings, Jets or another team might want to trade up to grab him.

    Spikes would be awesome for our D, Mays to me scares me a little, due to the USC safeties letely being oversized and not panning out in the league. Both him and Mack are late first-rounders, so a trade down could save us some cash and pick up another pick, and still get a guy we really need. I am not on the bandwagon of a LT at #7, ask Jets fans if they are happy with the last tackle from Virginia D’Brickashaw. Henderson at LT, and get a RT in the 2nd or 3rd round.

    But we all know AL will draft the fastest guy anyways, so what the hell does it matter

    ^ The thing about drafting a RT in round 2 or 3, is that will they be able to start?

    Oher and Monroe can start right away at RT IMO.

    I think we will have good opportunities to trade down becuase the #7 position is a good spot top be in. There will be plenty of solid players avalaible that teams will want to move up to get IMO.

    Potentially two OT’s…a big time safety in Mays who I suspect the Niners will want, two LB’s Rey and Spikes.

    I think the Raiders will certainly get phone calls about trading the pick. Lets just hope the old man doesn’t blow it. They traded down in round 2 to get Zach Miller two years ago and that worked out just fine. Trading down works….

  • Eddie Anderson

    Trade Down in the Draft! Please, Al, no more 4.2 second CBs that can’t play a damn! (Phillip, Fabian…does DeAngelo count?)Don’t draft a Safety, you have no idea how to! Stay away from RB’s I think we have enough depth there…Beef up the lines…oh, and draft your annual project 6-6, 260, 4.3 second, any position, guy in the 7th round.

  • Lil Al

    Al should trade Zach Miller and Nnamdi for T.O. and Pacman Jones.

  • darkknight01

    If Orakpo slides….then he would probably be the best pick becuase of the value he would bring for being picked at #7. A fast, strong, well built defensive end with a non stop motor who can rush the passer and is stout against the run. He is a solid 6’4 265 pounder.

    I think the queefs will probably take Orakpo at #3 though. They need a pass rusher to replace Jared Allen badly. St Louis will probably take Andre Smith at #2 Detroit should take a QB, if not they will take Smith.

    Seachickens will look at Crabtree most likely….Brownies will look hard at Beanie Wells or Malclom Jenkins….Cinncy will look at Oher, Monroe or Crabtree if he falls.

  • Cole Ford

    Robiskie? Robiskie? Robiskie? Are you kidding me? Do we really want Art Shell II. The fact that he has even been mentioned as a head coach shows how pathetic Al Davis is. He was a terrible offensive coordinator when he was with the Raiders. I’d rather stick with Cable.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Al should trade Zach Miller and Nnamdi for T.O. and Pacman Jones.

    ***

    Al should trade Ronald Curry & Kwame Harris for Patrick Crayton & Doug Free.

  • vegas raider

    I want Robiskie’s kid, the WR from Ohio State. Could be a 2nd or 3rd rounder, and the kid can play.

    Orakpo is also a great dude with a good work ethic. We need more of those guys, as long as they don’t play like Tyler Brayton.

  • vegas raider

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    January 7th, 2009 at 11:09 am
    Al should trade Zach Miller and Nnamdi for T.O. and Pacman Jones.

    ***

    Al should trade Ronald Curry & Kwame Harris for Patrick Crayton & Doug Free.

    **************

    I would take Doug E. Fresh for Kwame

  • Lil Al

    We need T.O. He is the mega star this team needs to put us over the top. With T.O, this team would win the division easily. T.O. is the X factor.

  • RaiderRockstar

    I wouldn’t mind getting Owens & Jones from the Cowboys in exchange for Javon Walker & John Bowie …

  • Eddie Anderson

    I agree with your take on Robiskie. He’s never been anything other than a position coach outside of the Raiders… Trade Javon Walker for Tom Brady and Randy Moss…

  • Lil Al

    Vegas Raiders says:

    I would take Doug E. Fresh for Kwame

    I would take a bag of fresh donuts for Kwane.

  • darkknight01

    According to my projections….the pick for the Raiders will be either Oher, Monroe, Spikes, Rey or Mays unless of course they trade down.

    Crabtree and Orakpo will not be there at #7. The wild card within the top five is Aaron Curry.

  • The Dude

    Wot do u think we would get for Nnamdi? 1st and a 2nd. KC got a 1st and two 3rds for Jared Allen. If we could i’d trade him. Draft players for the 0-line and D-line. Pick up Al harris as the Packers are dnt want him and maybe go for Pacman, surely the Cowboys dnt want him he struggles with zone but it a pro bowler at man coverage. Even if he is a turd.

  • Eddie Anderson

    Trade Turdell Sands for Justin Tuck… trade, trade, trade.

  • Lil Al

    Trade John Herrera for Bill Parcels.

  • darkknight01

    vegas raider Says:
    January 7th, 2009 at 11:11 am
    I want Robiskie’s kid, the WR from Ohio State. Could be a 2nd or 3rd rounder, and the kid can play.

    Orakpo is also a great dude with a good work ethic. We need more of those guys, as long as they don’t play like Tyler Brayton.

    Brayton got mind screwed by Ryans dumba$$ moving him around every year. If he would have been kept at DE, he would have been a solid contributor IMO.

  • Eddie Anderson

    Trade Amy Trask for Pam Anderson…

  • darkknight01

    Robiskie would be a good pick in round 4.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Cole Ford Says:
    January 7th, 2009 at 11:08 am
    Robiskie? Robiskie? Robiskie? Are you kidding me? Do we really want Art Shell II. The fact that he has even been mentioned as a head coach shows how pathetic Al Davis is. He was a terrible offensive coordinator when he was with the Raiders. I’d rather stick with Cable.
    ————————————————–
    Robiske is a joke. But AD is interviewing him to satisfy the minority interview rule.

  • Brien(Painting the Town)

    Raiders wont trade that pick eventhough they need to. Raiders either getting an OT or DB………thats the way it will be until Al goes

  • RaiderRockstar

    Wot do u think we would get for Nnamdi? 1st and a 2nd. KC got a 1st and two 3rds for Jared Allen. If we could i’d trade him. Draft players for the 0-line and D-line.

    ***

    Agreed. well said dude

  • Brien(Painting the Town)

    Spikes is a playmaker and would be a great pick for us. MLB is a need

  • Brien(Painting the Town)

    Naw Aso for a 1st in 2009 and a 1st in 2010, people no way will a shutdown CB be sold for less, especially one ofthe top tier ones

  • Brien(Painting the Town)

    Someone would bite for 2 numbers 1′s for Nnamdi

  • Lil Al

    Alyssa Milano is engaged. Dammit!

  • Brien(Painting the Town)

    So what she is engaged she still will be -ucking on the side as most of them Hollywood broads do anyways

  • vegas raider

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/draft

    Mays is 29th on this board, can’t see us taking him at 7th.

    Interestingly don’t see Spikes on the board, and I heard Kiper JR. say he would be the 1st LB taken. Mel, although arrogant, is usually pretty good at that stuff.

  • Brien(Painting the Town)

    Spikes,Rey and Laurinaitus are all highly rated players. I’d take Spikes because he is a playmaker but would be happy with any

  • RaiderRockstar

    Tony Kornheiser has us taking DE Brian Orakpo at #7.

    But he also has the Rams taking Crabtree at #2. LOL

  • Brien(Painting the Town)

    I actually dont want Cable back because I ahte ZBS. Pu$$ystyle of blocking to me. Power blocking is better.

  • Brien(Painting the Town)

    LOL who listenens to Korn-hole-heiser?

  • darkknight01

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=fillingthenflheadcoachop&prov=tsn&type=lgns

    How come the old man can’t hire as Chris Polian as the director of player personnel? Sheesh…

    Harbaugh is the best choice out of that 3rd tier group of coaches, otherwise stick with Cable and hope Ryan does NOT stay!

  • Brien(Painting the Town)

    Dark………Al needs his puppets

  • RaiderRockstar

    TOP 7 OL in the draft … Take any one of them and you have a successful Round 1

    OT Andre Smith
    OT Michael Oher
    OT Eugene Monroe
    OT Jason Smith
    C/G Alex Mack
    OT Eben Britton
    G Duke Robinson

  • darkknight01

    Brien(Painting the Town) Says:
    January 7th, 2009 at 11:23 am
    I actually dont want Cable back because I ahte ZBS. Pu$$ystyle of blocking to me. Power blocking is better.

    ^ Don’t agree with that at all.

    You can’t have a power scheme if you don’t have the personnel to run it. If they move to a power scheme than they need a whole new Center and RG, to go along with a new RT that is already a need. Do you have enough confidence in the old man to get rebuild the line in one off season and change to a whole new blocking scheme and offensive system and be succesful in one season? I sure as hell don’t…

    We saw how much they failed under a one on one predictable offensive power scheme with Art Shell and it was the worst offense I have ever seen!