Gutierrez: Raiders 2010 Review -- Offensive Line

January 25, 2011, 5:25 pm
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They arethe no-name grunts, the guys who get noticed when something goesterribly, horribly wrong. Such is life for an offensive lineman allguts, very little, if any, glory.For the Raiders this past season, their offensive line was theirultimate mood ring. And why not? With deposed coach Tom Cable anoffensive line guru at heart, the O-line more often than not was a goodindicator of the teams fortunes.The line was porous and woeful at times see the pitiful season openerat Tennessee yet dominant and special at others see therecord-setting victory at Denver. It gave up 44 sacks, tied forsixth-most in the league, yet paved the way for the No. 2-rankedrushing offense in the NFL. Just about right for an 8-8 team, right?A look, then, at Oaklands offensive line as we begin our player-by-player analysis of the 2010 RaidersJared Veldheer the surprise third-round draft pick out of tinyDivision-II Hillsdale College paid immediate dividends. The rookie hadhis baptism by fire starting at center in the season opener atTennessee then moved back out to his natural left tackle, taking overfor good in Week 7. He has made numerous all-rookie teams and through14 games he had allowed six sacks while committing six false starts andbeing called for holding four times.RELATED: Raiders stats
Robert Gallery The Raiders once-left tackle of the futurefound a home at left guard and was rounding into Pro Bowl shape in2008. Then injuries struck in 2009, a broken fibula derailing hisascent, and again this past season. A strained hamstring cost him fourof the Raiders first five games. A potential unrestricted free agentand big fan of Cable, Gallery may have played his last game in Oakland.Samson Satele Replaced by a rookie in Veldheer to start theseason, Satele seemingly had his confidence shaken and his tough-loverelationship with Cable seemed to wear thin. He started the last 15games at center and found his groove the last quarter of the season.How will Cables dismissal affect Satele, who fits better in azone-blocking scheme than a power-run game favored by Hue Jackson?RELATED: Raiders roster
Cooper Carlisle Oaklands Mr. Dependable, Carlise was the onlyRaiders offensive lineman to start every game at the same position in2010. He is sure to be pushed next season by Bruce Campbell.Langston Walker A favorite of owner Al Davis, Walker is one ofjust three holdovers from the Raiders Super Bowl team of 2002, minushis two-plus season sabattical in Buffalo. Walker found a home at righttackle. Walker missed a game after suffering a scary-looking concussionat home against Denver.Khalif Barnes Brought in to presumably start at left tackle2009, a broken ankle halted his plans. Instead, hes found a niche as abackup lineman du jour, pass-catching eligible tackle and locker roomcutup.Mario Henderson Lane Kiffins one-time whipping boy, Hendersonseemed to settle in at left tackle by default in 2009. But the arrivalof Veldheer pushed Henderson to the fringes. With Walker an impendingunrestricted free agent, Henderson might move out to right tackle fulltime.RELATED: Raiders 2010 game-by-game results
Daniel Loper Offensive linemen are like referees in a game;the less you notice them, the better their performance. Loper performedadmirably in starting four games for the injured Gallery at left guardearly on. Bruce Campbell The Combines workout warrior with hisoff-the-charts measurables, Campbell saw significant action on the linein just one game in the blowout at Denver. He was mostly used onspecial teams and was inactive the last five games, much to the chagrinof Davis. A left tackle by trade, Campbell was moved to right guard andwill make a push to start there next season.