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Position group analysis: Offensive line

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, February 27th, 2010 at 11:23 am in Oakland Raiders.

Fifth in a series analyzing Raiders position groups with a contingent of scouts and coaches in Indianapolis at the scouting combine:

Starters: LT Mario Henderson, LG Robert Gallery, C Samson Satele, RG Cooper Carlisle, RT Cornell Green. Backups: T Khalif Barnes, T-G Erik Pears, G Brandon Rodd, C-G Chris Morris, T-G Langston Walker.

Review: More than the bad publicity from anything that allegedly happened off the field or in a Napa hotel room with Randy Hanson, the play of the Raiders line is the reason why Tom Cable was left twisting in the wind, his job “under evaluation” rather than the sort of backing Rob Ryan got when his demise was supposedly imminent following the 2007 season.

The Raiders ran the ball poorly (21st in rushing) had seven rushing touchdowns (only the Rams and Bucs had fewer) and had the third highest sack total in the league (49) despite ranking 26th in pass attempts (485).

As bad as JaMarcus Russell was, and he deserves much of the blame for his performance, the fact that he was playing behind a line that couldn’t run and couldn’t protect made it unlikely to pull out of his tailspin and contributed to his issues with confidence and accuracy. Things got better when Bruce Gradkowski came aboard, but he couldn’t last the season because of _ you guessed it _ knee injuries sustained against a pass rush.

Cable virtually shoved line coach Jim Michalczik aside for a time attempting to right the ship, to no avail.

It didn’t help matters any Gallery, their best lineman, had a Triple Crown of surgeries (appendectomy, broken fibula, back) and played in only six games.

Henderson started the season OK but regressed as it went along. Green’s hold on right tackle and Cable’s glowing reviews of his play have been a three-year mystery. Morris is suited for short stints of a game or two as a sub at all inside spots but struggles if he starts more than two games in succession. Carlisle was the Raiders best lineman in 2007 but has not approached that level in the past two seasons.

Barnes came to Oakland to jump-start his career but is still waiting by the side of the road, hood open, waiting for a tow truck. Pears did his best work as an emergency tight end in the running game. As for his play on the line, Denver let Pears go last season without tendering him a contract and he did nothing with the Raiders to suggest the Broncos were wrong in their assessment.

Walker was a late-season addition and actually ended up doing some good things as a guard at 362 pounds. Rodd has been a practice squad player.

Contract status: Morris is a restricted free agent, Green and Walker unrestricted free agents.

What’s next: Lots of change, unless Cable is of a mind that he can coach up the same cast and come up with a different result. Good Raiders teams are built along the line, and this was the worst line since the 2006.

You keep Gallery and hope he stays healthy. Every other position ought to be looked at. Draft analyst Mike Mayock thinks the Raiders at No. 8 will come away with one of the four top tackles in the draft _ Oklahoma’s Russell Okung, Oklahoma State’s Trent Williams, Rutgers’ Anthony Davis and Iowa’s Bryan Bulaga.

Maryland’s Bruce Campbell is at this point considered a reach at No. 8, but had a gold medal performance in the Indianapolis Underwear Olympics, (4.78 time in the 40-yard dash, 34 reps with 220 pounds on the bench press). A year ago, his former Terrapins teammate, Darrius Heyward-Bey, was similarly impressive and you know how that turned out.

It remains to be seen whether Cable will strictly adhere to the zone blocking principles he believes in, or if Hue Jackson’s control of the offense as coordinator includes power blocking schemes like the Ravens ran in Baltimore.

The way they chose to attack will determine which players the Raiders pursue in free agency and the draft.

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  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    armond Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 10:46 am
    vegas are u serious? they have black stereotypes running all over tv and big screen movies for years. u ever heard of minstrel shows? i have no clue why people act like they dont see black stereotypes being thrown around all the time. get a clue.
    =====================================================
    When African Americans complain its called being “PC” or they can’t take a joke.

    I am not a fan of racial/ethnic jokes of any type whether they be against Eastern Eurpoeans, blacks, French, hispanics or any one else. I don’t think one should glibbly toss jokes about ones heritage.

  • jhill

    I’ve been asking that question all along Armond!

    I’m waiting on ONE example of Al using HWS and applying that to the Oline.

  • armond

    yeah vegas my point is the whole stereotyping blacks is pointless. like snb said there has never been a shortage of that regardless of who is stereotyping. that show was stupid from the few snippets i saw and italians should be upset. shouldnt they also be upset with shows like the sopranos that alot of yall enjoyed watching? they cool when it comes to gangsta sh!t but when its blacks doing that well then thats just them niggras. nobody ever talks about that. also why does everyone wanna use black folks when they wanna make a point of racism but get mad we bring it up for ourselves? u have latinos and asians that face racism but we gotta get brought up.

  • jhill

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 8:48 am
    1 Rams – Bradford
    2 Lions – Okung
    3 Bucs – Suh
    4 Redskins – Davis
    5 Chiefs – Claussen
    6 Seahawks – Berry
    7 Browns – Haden
    8 Raiders – McCoy

    ——————————————————-

    With one of the top DTs and both DEs on the board at 8, not to mention Dez Bryant, we are NOT taking Campbell. Okung or Davis drop? Maybe we grab one of them.

  • NorthernD

    armond,
    Al does reach every now and then for an O lineman. But they aren’t graded out just for their 40 times. He took Gallery at 2, but he was slotted to go there anyway.
    Madden and Gruden would fight with Al to take a O lineman, but even Al knows you have to draft some occasionally. I think Cable is trying to get him to grab one every chance he gets.
    But then again, maybe Cable thinks get can get the current cast of misfits to be productive.
    If they do go that direction, my vote is for Trent Williams.

  • jhill

    You guys give Vegas a break.

    It all stems from the Russell love over Grads. Once/if we resign his boy, then he won’t be bitter any longer.

  • armond

    jhill its become fashionable to say that cuz they dont really pay attention to our players.its al davis so that should be enuff. priest pointed out how mayock ripped anthony davis for running a slow 40 but talks about al davis obsessing over that. m faulk mentioned this morning how he ran track growing and so did alot of guys playing sports. i ran a little bit as well as guys i grew up with. derrick gardner who played at cal and with falcons went to jr high and high school with me and ran some track. since when didnt athletes play more than 1 sport? thats wht they are ATHLETES!!!!!!!!

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    My greatest concern is Bruce going to Denver.

    If the Raiders will non-exclusive Seymour, give both kickers obscene contracts and slap tenders on clowns like Ricky Brown, I have confidence something with Bruce will be worked out.

  • armond

    jhill i aint givin nobody a break. i see alot bulsh!t written in here all the time and im sick of it. u know i never get into all that political crap but somebody gotta keep it real for us here and there.

  • jhill

    With the coach identifying Oline, Dline, and the return game as the areas he is looking to upgrade, you have to keep that in mind for the #8 pick.

    If Okung and Davis are off the board, you have to look at DT and DE. If Suh and McCoy are off the board, you HAVE to look at DE.

    Okung, Davis, Suh, McCoy, Morgan, Pierre Paul ….

    One of those guy will be there at 8.

  • NorthernD

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 10:56 am
    I’ve been asking that question all along Armond!

    I’m waiting on ONE example of Al using HWS and applying that to the Oline.
    ==================================
    HWS doesn’t apply to O-linemen. I don’t think Al’s theory applies to them. I don’t think he undertands blocking as well as the other aspects of the game. I can’t think of any common characteristic of Raider O-linemen over the years. Except having a quality center.

  • jhill

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Vegas,

    What’s holding up things with Bruce? Getting close to the tender deadline, right?

    ——————————————————-

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 8:48 am
    1 Rams – Bradford
    2 Lions – Okung
    3 Bucs – Suh
    4 Redskins – Davis
    5 Chiefs – Claussen
    6 Seahawks – Berry
    7 Browns – Haden
    8 Raiders – McCoy

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

    Here’s how I see it:

    1 Rams- Bradford
    2 Lions- Berry
    3 Bucs- Suh
    4 Redskins- Okung
    5 Chiefs- Haden
    6 Seahawks- Claussen
    7 Browns- McCoy
    8 Raiders- Campbell

  • jhill

    The Browns are NOT taking at DT. McCoy is not a 3-4 NT.

  • NorthernD

    vegas raider Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:08 am
    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 8:48 am
    1 Rams – Bradford
    2 Lions – Okung
    3 Bucs – Suh
    4 Redskins – Davis
    5 Chiefs – Claussen
    6 Seahawks – Berry
    7 Browns – Haden
    8 Raiders – McCoy

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

    Here’s how I see it:

    1 Rams- Bradford
    2 Lions- Berry
    3 Bucs- Suh
    4 Redskins- Okung
    5 Chiefs- Haden
    6 Seahawks- Claussen
    7 Browns- McCoy
    8 Raiders- Campbell
    =================================
    Agree with Bradford, but I can’t see McCoy falling that far.

  • Seymour Bush

    I’ll give you an example of HWS for Olineman: Mario Henderson. Mario was a text book, looks good getting off the bus kind of player. Turns out, he was a decent player.

  • armond

    northernd gallery wasnt a reach. he graded out well athletically but he was considered the top ot in the draft. nobody had a problem with us taking him or his short arms. that short arms sh!t is also an excuse. u can either play or u cant. guys get around physical limitations all the time if they are good enuff. nobody is perfect.

  • jhill

    Well cross Vincent Jackson and Merriman off the list of non tendered guys.

    I’m sure Bruce’s announcement is coming real soon.

  • NorthernD

    Bucs drafted a QB last year, they slapped a tag on their LT, so Suh or McCoy are the only options.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Armond says,

    “that short arms sh!t is also an excuse. u can either play or u cant. guys get around physical limitations all the time if they are good enuff. nobody is perfect.”
    =======================================================
    Spot on!

  • jhill

    Mario was a 3rd rd pick.

    Talking #8 in the draft precedent.

  • Seymour Bush

    Rob Gallery was widely accepted as the best player available AT ANY POSITION, in the 04 draft

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:08 am
    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Vegas,

    What’s holding up things with Bruce? Getting close to the tender deadline, right?

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

    If they were smart, they would assess exactly where Jamarcus is at on March 4th, and that helps determine what to do with Bruce the next day.

  • jhill

    2 Lions- Berry

    ——————————————————

    How can Detroit pass on a guy like Okung? Who’s blocking for Stafford?

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    JHill,

    I don’t think Bruce is a lock for anything. Davis isn’t looking to make the kid the starter or overpay him based on 2 decent games.

    QBs put in a game or two all the time.

    Also remember, Hue Jackson is doing the QB evaluation (or one would like to think he is) and perhaps Hue is seeing the same things that Cleveland, St. Louis and Tampa saw.

    Just speculating

  • jhill

    Vegas,

    So if Bruce is not tendered, will you accept that Russell is on track? They do have a spy rolling with him full time now you know.

  • NorthernD

    armond,
    For what a second overall pick gets paid, they had better be close to perfect.
    I agree that Al doesn’t reach for HWS guys on the O-line. Blocking is not about that.
    If he were to reach, then Campbell is the guy, he is a physical freak. But hopefully he will listen to what the scouts say. They should have him rated lower than what the numbers say he is.

  • jhill

    Toby Gerhardt just put up a 4.5 …

    So much for him dropping to the 3rd rd.

  • armond

    gerhardt just ran a 4.53 proving that he could run as fast as i thought. dude is an all american cf which proves how good of an athlete he is. i would love to have this guy in the 3rd but he might go in the 2nd. andy reid had a huge smile on his face after that rrun and they need a workhorse back in the worst way.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    Gerhardt only comes aboard if Bush is traded or Fargas released.

  • Seymour Bush

    # jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:17 am

    2 Lions- Berry

    ——————————————————

    How can Detroit pass on a guy like Okung? Who’s blocking for Stafford?
    =============================================

    The took Cherilus in the lst round in 08 and no one can seem to beat out Jeff Backus on the left side, altho that will change. Detroit is ripe to take a DT early in this draft tho.

  • NorthernD

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am
    Toby Gerhardt just put up a 4.5 …

    So much for him dropping to the 3rd rd.
    ================================
    He’ll only play in Oakland on the visiting team.

  • NorthernD

    Seymour Bush Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:23 am
    # jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:17 am

    2 Lions- Berry

    ——————————————————

    How can Detroit pass on a guy like Okung? Who’s blocking for Stafford?
    =============================================

    The took Cherilus in the lst round in 08 and no one can seem to beat out Jeff Backus on the left side, altho that will change. Detroit is ripe to take a DT early in this draft tho.
    =================================
    For some reason they love Backus in Detroit. He must have pictures of someone.

  • Seymour Bush

    Backus has started every game since he came in the league. Gotta like that.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    From 1998 to 2005 the Raiders drafted DBs with their 1st round pick 5 of 8 years.

  • jhill

    The took Cherilus in the lst round in 08 and no one can seem to beat out Jeff Backus on the left side,

    ——————————————————-

    Gotcha.

    Then that would drop Okung or Davis to us.

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:17 am
    2 Lions- Berry

    ——————————————————

    How can Detroit pass on a guy like Okung? Who’s blocking for Stafford?

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

    They are the Lions!!

    Didn’t Brady Quinn throw for 300+ yards and a bunch of TD’s against them last year? They need secondary help, and that’s probably why there is talk of them willing to trade down.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    CJ Spiller runs a 4.28

    Too bad we drafted McFadden. Have to hope DMAC will work out……..

  • NorthernD

    Okung will be gone before the Raiders get to pick.
    The choices should be Bulaga, Campbell or Williams at tackle. Or McLain at MLB. I would surprised if their were any other options at this point.

  • armond

    this damn draft is gonna be real good. there are some athletic guys with ability in this drata nd we havent seen the defense yet.we have a decent amount of picks and hopefully we ca swing a few more. with the right choices we cam really get on track in a hurry.

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:28 am
    The took Cherilus in the lst round in 08 and no one can seem to beat out Jeff Backus on the left side,

    ——————————————————-

    Gotcha.

    Then that would drop Okung or Davis to us.
    =====================================================
    Bruce Campbell….your setting yourself up JHill. Maybe I am still seeing red from last year. But I thought there was no way in h*ll that the Raiders would draft D-HB. But measurables ruled that day in a big way…..

    I see it happening again.

  • Chris in NY

    Here’s a pretty good analysis of the Raiders and their struggles:

    http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/28/state-of-the-raiders-what-the-2009-film-revealed/

    Pretty much spot on in my opinion. Writer says JaMarcus is clearly Problem No. 1 while Chris Johnson, in addition to Nnamdi, gets some much-deserved respect. Kirk takes the fall for the Run D woes.

  • NorthernD

    Hope the Raiders find need of another TE. I would love to see them draft Micheal Hoomanawanui.
    He wouldn’t have room for the number on the back of his jersey.

  • Seymour Bush

    check out Blounte

  • SnB offense defense specialteams

    I think Brandon Myers is the teams 2nd TE

  • armond

    northerd u think campbell should even be an option at 8? if he is that much of a reach go to another position if u dont like the other ots.

  • Seymour Bush

    4.69. He is going to drop to the 4th.

  • Chris in NY

    NorthernD Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:24 am
    jhill Says:
    February 28th, 2010 at 11:20 am
    Toby Gerhardt just put up a 4.5 …

    So much for him dropping to the 3rd rd.
    ================================
    He’ll only play in Oakland on the visiting team.

    ——————-

    I wouldn’t be shocked at all if Gerhardt is a late 1st-round pick. I’m afraid the Chargers will snag him and he’ll kick our azz for the next decade. The Patriots are another team I could see scooping him up. The kid is the real deal. I know we have bigger needs but I wouldn’t mind drafting him in Round 2 if he’s still there.

  • http://CableBumaye 909RaiderLifer

    Go Team USA!, in the Gold medal hockey game vs. Canada…

    USA! USA! USA!

    (no offense to any of our Canadian brethren ooot there.)

  • armond

    best just ran a 4.33 i would love to see a backfield toby and best on my madden 11 this year. im making my own team fukk the raiders!!!!