Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Menelik Watson suffered a knee injury to his Lateral Meniscus in practice two weeks ago. As a result of the injury, he had to have his knee scoped this week, and he will likely be out for the next month. Now, two of the Raiders premier offensive linemen (Jared Veldheer and Menelik Watson) will not see playing time until mid-season. Should Raiders fans be worried? I don’t think so, and I’m here to tell you that even though the offensive line has definitely had to do their fair share of shuffling this season, the offensive line will be fine.
The Raiders are a week into the regular season, and the offensive line is coming off a successful game that was played against a very good defensive line. The offensive line held their own, and the Raiders came close to winning the game. However, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, so it’s still a loss at the end of the day.
Where does the offensive line go from here. Simple, they keep playing with who started on Sunday in Indianapolis. Why? To build cohesiveness. An offensive line must be stable and able to mesh with each other. The linemen must know their assignments, but they must also be able to anticipate their counterpart’s movements. Currently with Khalif Barnes at LT, Lucas Nix at LG, Stefen Wisniewski at C, Mike Brisiel at RG, and Tony Pashos at RT, this gives the Raiders the best combination for success. Not to mention, Tony Bergstrom is still injured along with the aforementioned tackles (Veldheer and Watson). Pretty much, this is the only combination we, the fans, will see until someone returns from injury.
There’s not too much to get overly worried about though, we have Terrelle Pryor taking the snaps. Pryor brings that ”ability to escape” that a mere pocket quarterback does not. This means that the offensive linemen don’t have to hold their blocks as long as they normally would with a pocket style quarterback. Basically, Pryor is going to go through his reads quickly and make a decision to throw it or tuck and run before the pocket can collapse. This will keep the offensive line healthy and it will tire out opposing defensive linemen. This was evident in Indianapolis, and it was evident by the comment made by Colts DE-Robert Mathis who said he felt like he ran around for about 4-5 miles trying to catch Pryor.
The offensive line will continue to learn and grow together this year. The running game with Darren McFadden will improve, and the running game will open up the passing game for Pryor. It’s an obvious thing, I know, but it is beginning to happen for the Oakland Raiders. Success is coming Raider Nation. I will be there on Sunday to witness it first hand with you, and I know that Terrelle Pryor is going to bring it. McFadden is going to rush for over 100 yards, and the offensive line will be fine. Go Raiders!