Wisniewski: 'I'm a center'

Wisniewski: 'I'm a center'
April 19, 2013, 11:15 am
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My understanding is I’m a center and I don’t think that’s going to change.
—Stefen Wisniewski

ALAMEDA -- Daydream on the following as your offensive line this coming season, Raiders fans -- left tackle Jared Veldheer, left guard Stefen Wisniewski, center Alex Parsons, right guard Tony Bergstrom, right tackle Eric Fisher.

Now, go ahead and wipe the sleep from your eyes.

"My understanding is I’m a center," Wisniewski said Thursday at the Raiders facility, following a voluntary offseason workout, "and I don’t think that’s going to change."

And there it is. Li'l Wiz, who began his career as a left guard two seasons ago after being the Raiders' top draft pick, says he's staying at center. Not that that's a bad thing, necessarily. Plus, the Raiders would have to draft Fisher.

Besides, Oakland has much work to do in the trenches on the offensive side of the ball under a new position coach in Tony Sparano.

"New coach is going well so far," Wisniewski said. "Tony’s been installing the new offense. They threw a whole lot at us already and we’re trying to digest it best as we can. Our coaches have said we’re starting behind. We’re starting on a new offense so we’re trying to catch up as fast as we can, getting to know everything. Having a lot of guys back is huge because we know each other whether it might be a new system but we’ve worked together before. That’s a huge plus.

"I like (Sparano) a lot. He’s confident. He knows his stuff. He knows that it works. He’s been doing this a long time, doing O-line a long time. He’s also been a head coach and coordinator so he has a different perspective which I think helps. He’s done a good job teaching, explaining things. It’s going real well so far."

The return to a more power blocking-based scheme would seem to favor the likes of Wisniewski, who was a rookie when running back Darren McFadden looked like a league MVP candidate before going down to injury.

[RELATED: ZBS a thing of the past for McFadden]

"It’s similar to two years ago, yeah," Wisniewski said. "A lot of downhill stuff, a lot of power stuff, a lot of inside zone stuff. It’s stuff that we know how to do already. We’ll work on some little footwork things that Tony will have that will probably be a little different than two years ago.

"But it’s stuff we know how to do, move people off the ball, double teams, pulling, smack somebody. Good downhill football."

Aside from the changes in X's and O's, Wisniewski said the change in locker room vibe implemented by general manager Reggie McKenzie is palpable as well.

"I know that’s something Reggie’s been trying to do, bringing in good, hard-working guys, character guys, team guys and build a team around that," Wisniewski said. "He got rid of some of the guys who maybe didn’t have that mindset, bringing in team mindset guys. I think that’s a great way to build a team. I think you can see that so far. Everyone is ready to put their head down and go to work."

Including the new quarterback, Matt Flynn.

"He seems to be handling himself well, seems to know the offense real well," Wisniewski said. "We had a first meeting, just centers and quarterbacks, just talking protections and he knows what he’s doing already. I guess he’s had the playbooks for more than a week probably based on that. Why not?

"He seems like he knows what he’s doing. Haven’t seen him throw or anything yet."