ALAMEDA – The Raiders like quality and continuity along the offensive line. Big contracts secured four top talents, locking Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson up until at least 2019 .
Those four horsemen ride from left to right, with one new guy joining the group. Veteran Marshall Newhouse signed a two-year contract this offseason to play right tackle.
The 28-year old has played everywhere but center. He has started at left tackle and on the right. He has played both guard spots, as a starter and reserve.
He was brought in to focus on one spot, but Donald Penn’s contract holdout spoiled that plan. Newhouse spent training camp in Penn’s stead, before switching sides.
A prolonged camp battle with Vadal Alexander was compressed into a few practices and the regular season opener, but the frontrunner Newhouse emerged victorious.
It wasn’t a hard decision. He has been excellent thus far, recently in a 45-20 victory over the New York Jets. Over the course of two games and 62 pass blocking snaps, Newhouse hasn’t allowed a single quarterback pressure this season, per analystic site Pro Football Focus.
The Raiders haven’t run his way much, mostly going away from gaps he can control, but he has been solid when given the chance.
“I think he’s done a solid job with that,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in his Monday press conference. “Little bit unusual that he’s a swing guy, was signed to come in and compete at the right tackle position and then with the holdout, he played left tackle most of the offseason. The way it worked, he and Vadal [Alexander] competed for the right tackle spot last week and we ended up going with Marshall and he’s been very solid. Both of those guys are prepared to help us. Marshall solidified that job, played well yesterday. Glad to see it.”
NOT SWEATING SETBACKS: The Raiders were penalized nine penalized times for 79 yards on Sunday, mostly on 15-yard infractions in the first half. Del Rio didn’t have a need to correct those mistakes. Most of them he either disagreed with or said they came down to judgment calls. The Raiders haven’t had many clear-cut, procedural violations.
“The judgment calls, you’re going to have to leave it at that. When you see something that’s clearly an infraction, we can coach it, teach it and it gets better. The other things like that, you just have to live with them and move on.”
SMITH MIGHT BE BACK: Veteran cornerback Sean Smith missed Sunday’s game with a neck injury, but Del Rio didn’t anticipate it being a long-term injury. He is also hopeful Jamize Olawale and Keith McGill will make season debuts in Week 3 against Washington.
Jerry Jones thinks Roger Goodell is an overpaid buttinsky and mall cop and wants him to be served a great whopping helping of chicken-fried crow.
Fine. If Goodell gets a paycheck haircut, what care we? If he gets shown the door, not a problem. He went from amiable servant of the people to arrogant and bullying poop-emoji in quicksilver time, and one does not cross the boss too many times without being crossed off the list.
But the NFL’S ALREADY burgeoning list of issues has increased by one – the Los Angeles Sinkhole – and the man who presented that one was, yes, Jerry Jones.
Jones is the one who whipsawed the deal by which the St. Louis Rams moved west to solve a problem that wasn’t rather than run point on the San Diego Chargers/Oakland Raiders stadium time share plan that would have definitively solved two others – all because he liked Stan Kroenke’s portfolio a lot more than Dean Spanos’ billfold or Mark Davis’ rubber band.
But he also saw to it that Spanos would not be left in the cold and helped broker the deal that allowed him to go to L.A. anyway.
And what did all that Jerry arm-wrenching work do for his partners? It made Los Angeles the world’s most football-resistant town.
The citizens have voted with their feet and made the Rams an uncool thing and the Chargers a veritable slum. They choose with great and careful thought to avoid both the Coliseum and StubHub Center as though the game-day giveaway was an anthrax-coated trucker’s hat – not because they hate the Rams and Chargers, or because they love the Raiders so much, but because when push comes to shove, Californians say no by not caring.
And let’s be honest here – disinterest is worse than hatred.
There are those who have called this an embarrassment to the league, but that misses the target. The league is 32 men, of which only a few control the rest as long as everyone gets paid. And the strongest of those men wasted the Los Angeles “opportunity” and gutted the fan bases of two teams just for a real estate deal and because he just liked rolling with other billionaires.
And if the Raiders don’t hit the ground at a dead sprint in Las Vegas, there may be a third – although in fairness that is not so much Jones’ work as it is Davis’ persistence and ability to find tactical geniuses to guide him to what he wanted, even if it doesn’t turn out to be what he needs.
In short, whatever happens in the Goodell-v.-Jones battle, you have no rooting interest save perhaps mutually assured destruction. We can all live better with that as a possibility.