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Raiders rookie third-round pick Gabe Jackson represents a changing of the guard as a 336-pound road grader

Filed for print with expanded notes . . .

Gabe Jackson represents a changing of the guard for the Raiders in ways that go beyond inserting the rookie third-round draft pick into the starting lineup.

With general manager Reggie McKenzie on record as saying, “We want to do the pushing around. You do that with big people,’’ Jackson is a mover and a shaker at 6-foor-3, 336 pounds.

In past years, as the Raiders have gone from back and forth from zone blocking to gap and power blocking, the guards, including departed players Cooper Carlisle and Mike Brisiel, were more suited for attack from the side rather than head on.

Other starting guards in recent years, such as Robert Gallery, a former tackle, had started at another position, or like Stefen Wisniewski, a guard as a rookie, were on their way to different position.

With the Raiders wavering on what they wanted from their guards, perhaps it’s not surprising they haven’t sent one to the Pro Bowl since Steve Wisniewski in 2000.

Jackson, if all goes according to plan, will give Raiders a pure-power road grader. He’s built like a kitchen appliance and is his forte is forward progress.

A four-year starter at Mississippi State, Jackson has 52 Southeastern Conference starts and had seldom took a backward step.

“I feel that was my strength in college, and I’m doing all I can to learn the techniques the coaches teach me and there are different tips and techniques that can help me improve my strength even more,’’ Jackson said.

Jackson played his entire career at Mississippi State at left guard, but switched to the right side in a recent practice when Austin Howard left with a minor back issue. His most likely ticket to the starting lineup is supplanting veteran Khalif Barnes at some point on the left side.

“The biggest thing I like about Gabe Jackson is he’s a strong, powerful player,’’ Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s got to learn to adjust when things move in front of him. It’s one thing to be in the meeting room with the X’s and O’s. It’s another when those X’s and O’s start to move and you’ve got to adjust and make quick decisions.’’

Barnes, a former tackle who moved inside last season, could eventually be a utility player available at both guard and tackle spots, but remains currently the starting left guard.

“It’s competition and it’s been that way every year,’’ Barnes said. “I’ll do anything I can to help him. If I’m needed to play some place else, maybe the things I’ve told him can help and that helps the team.’’

Barnes has been impressed with Jackson’s power as well as demeanor.

“He’s a stocky guy, perfect size for a guard height-wise and has a powerful chest,’’ Barnes said. “He’s one of those rookies that gets it. He listens and he’s not hard-headed.‘’

Wisniewski was impressed at how Jackson stepped in on the right side in a pinch and also likes Jackson’s power.

“He’s very strong. I can see him being a very good run blocker,’’ Wisniewski said. “He’s learning how to pass block in the NFL. It’s a completely different ballgame, but he’s got the ability to do it. I could see him being a starter at some point. He’s got that ability.’’

– Defensive end Justin Tuck didn’t practice with a groin injury that Allen said was minor.

“Somewhat of an injury, somewhat of a veteran’s day off,’’ Allen said.

– With Tuck out, rookie seventh-round pick Shelby Harris got some work with the first team. Harris did not play football last season after being dismissed from the team at Illinois State. Allen has seen considerable progress in Harris since the offseason program.

“He was probably a ltitle out of football shape, maybe a little bit heavy, and lost some weight during the time off,” Allen said. “He’s come back at 273 pounds and I’ve seen a lot of improvement out of him. He’s a guy we thought had some explosion and pass rush ability. He’s quietly begun to move himself up the depth chart so hopefully he’ll continue to improve.’

– Running back Darren McFadden did some good things in the passing game, streaking down the left sideline to haul in a perfectly thrown touchdown pass from rookie Derek Carr. The presence of Maurice Jones-Drew could give the Raiders the opportunity to make McFadden a major player in the passing game instead of a check-down and screen presence.

– Tony Bergstrom, who has played guard and tackle since being drafted in the third round in 2012, is now working at center. After an initial practice where he had difficult with his snaps, Bergstrom is playing much better.

“He’s been more consistent with the snaps,” Allen said. “I think that’s something we want to continue to work on and look at. He’s going to need to take some reps at center, and (Kevin) Boothe is going to need to take some reps at guard. We’re trying to work that flexibility as much as we can so when we get to a game day roster, the more you can do as a backup player, the easier it is to get in the game.”

– Free safety Charles Woodson intercepted a Schaub pass for the second consecutive day, this time on a deflection.

Allen consistently brushes off any inquiries about the possibility of Carr competing for the starting job.

“Matt Schaub is our starting quarterback,” Allen said. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I like the way our offense is being run right now and so I think when you have a veteran like that playing that position it makes you a better football team.”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • RediaR

    Doctors for George

  • AutumnThunderstorm

    Can you explain that in layman terms.

  • RediaR

    I hope they buy good seats.

  • Dakota

    Chicken legs flying down the court, full momentum, all the weight right there…..ouch…..maybe they need baskets that are not supported from right there?

  • AutumnThunderstorm

    Just a thought

    How about start DMac at TE,

    Raiders could have all top skill position players starting

    Reece FB
    Jones-Drew RB
    McFadden TE
    Jones WR1
    Streater WR2

    Raiders weapons

  • RediaR

    How about we trade McFadden to the Chargers for anything of value and end up with the last laugh?

  • Dakota

    Better than your 76ers though….

  • Dakota

    Mcfadden loves you.

  • RediaR

    Seriously though, I like Naya’s Brother. I don’t think McFadden will bring as much value at TE as he will.

    Let MJD and Murray take the RB spot. Give Reece a few carries early in the year too. When MJD fades out let Murray and Reece lead the way.

    What about McFadden you ask? What about him indeed?

  • DJ Johnny

    When u think about it..we’ve got the starting corners of one of the NFC’s best teams…a multi yr pro bowl player headed to the HOF at FS, a good YOUNG lb corps with a player who could’ve easily been picked # 1 in the draft…3 former probowlers on the d line with 2 of them possessing SB rings.

    On offense a pro bowl QB as recent as 2012, a former league rushing champ at rb…a former pro bowler at LT, a possible stud in Gabe Jackson, a young up and comer at TE in Rivera, the 2012 NFL leader in TD catches at WR…

    On paper, that’s a HUGE upgrade of a team.

  • DJ Johnny

    I’m a Bulls fan and I will never forget the sight of Rose sitting on the bench…cleared to play mind you a long time before….while guys like Noah, Boozer and the rest are limping around and battling to win a playoff game.

    Oh…and guess who decided not to even show up at the Bulls recruitment dinner for Carmelo even requested to be there by the Bulls management? You guessed it.

    Rose is a piece of crap imo.

  • Arkraider

    So McFadden is now gonna chip DEs? Not gonna work- think more like WR—maybe?
    Definitely need to get him out in space- and he can catch

  • 0ak R8rs
  • AutumnThunderstorm

    31-1 (Dallas)

  • 0ak R8rs

    Naya’s brother is ok. But Naya is better.

  • Dakota

    La kiiiiiings

  • r8ter4evr

    It’s too bad we have to spell it out so clearly
    And often

  • 0ak R8rs

    Gotta see it on the field. I have my doubts as well. Still a lot of “ifs” on this team.

  • r8ter4evr

    Is it just me or does it seem like Billy builds his team like the 1980′s Celtics??
    Lots of salt less and less pepper

  • 0ak R8rs

    Don’t be so sure. Jerry is a pretty powerful owner. Money buys power, always has, no different in the NFL.

  • r8ter4evr

    Very true
    And I know we are not the 1976 Raiders but it seems there should be more optimism in here than in many years past

  • 0ak R8rs

    Eh. I get it. PTSD from 12 miserable years. It’s when the negativity has no basis in fact that I get aggravated. Like 90% of Priest’s arguments and meanderings. But in general, it has to start showing some results. We’ve been an embarrassment for too long.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Sixes? You out there? Got a MajorSpots pic.

  • 0ak R8rs

    He can’t block in the backfield. What makes you think he can block w his hand in the dirt?

  • r8ter4evr

    So true
    I liked Jason’s take on bringing back the tradition of a winning franchise . His actions will speak louder than words

  • Raider O

    Post it

  • Raider O

    They play soccer?

  • 0ak R8rs

    Here’s a sports pic for you

  • Raider O

    Who is that?

  • 0ak R8rs

    Our starting TEs sister.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    I think there;s way fewer if’s and the usual, ‘Can they play as a unit’ questions.And the O line is where that’s critically important. I’m hoping Penn, Barnes, Wiz,and Howard being vets will smooth that over sooner, rather than later. Otherwise, we’re looking at another ‘progress’ season. 3-1, 2-2, we might be OK

  • 0ak R8rs

    Except that on your “critically important” part you’re “hoping”. Love when you make my point for me. ;)

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Major Spots first saddling with empty panniers.

  • Raider O

    Nice. She doesn’t look like him which is a good thing.

  • Raider O

    Cute Llama.
    How much weight can he carry?

  • 0ak R8rs

    She looked better before the big plastic tlts. She looks like she’s gonna fall over now. That pic is pre-silicone.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    400 + lb youngster(pushing 4years old,when the bones are set and all), 100-120 easy but we wouldn’t. Try to keep the panniers dowmn to 35 each and the saddle is close to 10.
    Better an extra llama and a happy trip than 5 unhappy llamas.
    That said, we’ve gone out with llamas all carrying 100 lbs+.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    But a pound a day of grain per llama and zucchinis and cantaloupes and the weight drops quickly.

  • DJ Johnny

    As far as this stadium, re-location situation goes you’d think Mark would have a strong legal case against the league’s owners if they block a move to LA or some other lucrative situation. If they vote not to allow him to move somewhere they are in essence blocking his ability to make money and be as lucrative as they are.

    The fact the Raiders are last in revenue etc. gives them an even better case.

    I know the Raiders have to abide by the rules of the “club” that allow for a vote of owners to stop any such move…it seems if they took it to the next level they’d definitely have a case.

    I know a stadium in Oakland is preferred…but like Rooney Jr. says…”something’s got to give”.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Often go in with ice, as well. Hey! This aint backpacking. Might as well take advantage of the resource.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    You sure those are silicone? I need a hands on verification.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    That was Al’s territory. Don’t know if Mark has it in him. NFL won and again on appeal as to Al having the LA rights, not long ago

    Al would’ve made a deal in LA and moved to San Antonio while the LA stadium was being built and dared the NFL to take him on again.

  • DJ Johnny

    Now THAT woulda been a bold move…hah. I don’t see Mark challenging the league ala Al Davis either.

    Maybe some of Al’s old lawyers are still around and can help him.

  • AutumnThunderstorm

    Raiders have precedent!

  • lefty12

    Give it a rest.Its pretty obvious you want them to move.Just let things play themselves out.You might get what you want,you might not.

  • AutumnThunderstorm

    Stare Decisis, baby!

  • Back-N-Black

    you don’t think most owners would like to stick it to Jer-ah? I think they would.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    I’m sure they are. They’re expensive. I think Mark looks at the money more closely than Al did.
    A common affliction of those that grew up with it as opposed to those that made it.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    I had to google it. Thank you.

  • DJ Johnny

    I want them to be a better franchise financially…I think it will only help the on field product.

    If they could make it work in Oakland that’s great…

    I’d prefer LA over San Antonio though…SA Raiders doesn’t sound right.