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May 11, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tony Sparano (center) instructs during rookie minicamp at the Raiders team headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

How Good is the Oakland Raiders Offensive Line Now?


A hard question to answer for most without a true quarterback.  Whoever gets under center for the Raiders this year will do so with the confidence of a beefy and strong offensive line filled with talent.  All I know is, Offensive Line Coach/Assistant HC Tony Sparano must be licking his chops right now.  Look at the talent he has to pick from on the offensive line:

OL- Austin Howard, Donald Penn, Menelik Watson, Tony Bergstrom, Jack Cornell, Jarrod Shaw, Matt McCants, & Khalif Barnes (Could possibly re-sign Tony Pashos)

OG’s- Kevin Boothe, Mike Brisiel, Lucas Nix, Lamar Mady

C- Stefen Wisniewski

Let’s not forget that most of the names listed above can play left or right guard as well.  Impressive job General Manager Reggie McKenzie did bringing in some added depth at the OL/T/G positions to compete in camp.  On paper it looks decidedly that the Raiders left tackle will be occupied by Donald Penn, left guard by Menelik Watson/Kevin Boothe, center of course will be Wiz, right guard by either Kevin Boothe/Mike Brisiel/Khalif Barnes, and right tackle by Austin Howard.  Now, that’s not a dead set lineup, because there are a lot of “if” factors in there.  One being the possibility of Mike Brisiel retiring from football.  It’s been rumored, but no official reports have come forward yet.  Other factors include performance and health.

Maybe this even helps to keep Running Back Darren McFadden healthy all year, any takers?  In any event, RB Latavius Murray will be 100% and ready to compete for the starting position, and the Raiders Coaching Staff does like third year back out of Purdue, Kory Sheets.  I guess at this moment anything is possible for the Raiders, and I really like the way this off-season is shaping up.  A solid offensive line is a good thing to have at any level, and it will help to provide the extra time needed in the passing game.

By now, Raider Nation should be able to see the direction this team is headed, and they can be assured that the man behind the shield, GM McKenzie, is trying to bring back the winning ways to Oakland.  I have said it before, and I am sure I will say it again, I believe in Reggie McKenzie.

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Tags: Austin Howard Donald Penn Kevin Boothe Khalif Barnes Menelik Watson Mike Brisiel Reggie McKenzie Stefen Wisniewski Tony Pashos Tony Sparano

  • bigninaross

    Great piece, couldn’t agree more. It all starts in the trenches.

  • Travis Myers

    The signing of Penn definitely softens the blow of the Saffold fiasco. I don’t care what 5 they trot out there as long as L.Nix isn’t one of them. He might be the worst guard in the league. I’m hoping Boothe comes in to replace him and he doesn’t even make the roster.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    If he plays and practices like last year, he won’t be on the team. The same can be said for Bergstrom.

  • Raider4lyfe77

    Alex mack is still out there, we have the money, kick wiz out to guard, and pick up mack, he’s worth the money and the contract. I would love to see that happen, or (and this is in my dreams cuz we prolly won’t do it), draft Matthews….he’s number one on my draft board

  • mccall316

    If there was a way for the Raiders to trade back, not saying there are any takers, then why not sign Mack, then draft a tackle like Lewan and a defensive lineman? Now that’s a dream buddy.

  • David Jones

    Compare the suggested starting line to that of any of the top ten teams in the AFC. Go down position by position and see who you would rather have on your team.

  • Sherman Stewart

    I believe in Coach Sporano!!!

  • KloverJane

    It’s really looking good. Without Veldeer, I’m going to have wait and see some 180° at training camp. How’d they get Penn to agree to a two-year, $9.6 million deal with $4.2 million guaranteed?

  • Travis Myers

    Yeah that is a great signing IMO. Aside from the willingness to grossly overpay Saffold all of McKenzie’s signings have been very frugal. The Howard contract looks big (5/30mil) but only 7.6 mil is guaranteed. RMAC is starting to change my view with these signings. I still think if Watkins is there he is the pick.

  • KloverJane

    I agree. Except they’re probably going the QB route. It definitely needs to be a play maker though. We will know in a month.

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    I like your views on the front O-line. I trying to see how that coaches do not see the potential of Pryor. I am looking at the reviews on Bortiles, and they talk about his play in the Big games and he beat Louisville with Bridgewater. But if we look back at Pryor college numbers in just 2 years. He has an impressive resume as well. With a front line he would have stayed in the pocket a little longer to go through his progressions. But you can not say they (coaches) was not wanting to let Al Davis have the franchise QB pick. This team with a strong front line as well as Reece, with Murray in the backfield. 500 lbs. of running game with a big QB that can extend plays. With Mychael, and Holmes TE, and Crincer, Streeter. This will be a potent offense.

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    I say with the 5 pick the man I would pick is Kali Mack, Because if we trade back he will be gone. He learning from Woodly. For our future.

  • Jonathan Allen

    Well Said I Believe in Reggie also Its gonna Be OK Raider Nation!!!!!!!

  • DanfromVegas

    I believe in him too! Good post Shane. We need to lift up the Raider Nation and make them feel good about the Silver n Black. It’s been far too long a period with bad football and bad breaks. I’m ready to keep moving forward!

  • Travis Myers

    From what I’ve read they are pretty high T.Boyd. I could easily see them taking Watkins, then Boyd, and then sign Schuab/Freeman/Sanchez.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    I agree that the best thing to do is draft a DT or WR if we are not going to trade back or obtain the services of a decent FA DT. I say WR, because if Sammy Watkins falls to us, the Raiders should grab him. Then go get QB & DT with second and third round picks. Of course, if the Raiders can drop down in 1st for some additional picks, by all means get more. The draft is deep with talent at QB, WR, DB, DT, DE, and LB. Some okay TE’s and RB’s are on the board too. I’m not ruling out grabbing an offensive lineman either. I like the idea of snatching up Mack in free agency and moving Wiz to guard. As a matter of fact, Wiz has been quoted several times that he would be willing to move to guard. Wiz is a team player and he would do what’s necessary for the team. True Raider!

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Look, I’m the first one to call a spade a spade. If the team looks bad, I don’t have a problem saying it, but I like the direction this team and organization is headed. There was a time when I believed in Al Davis and his philosophy as well, 70′s, 80′s, and part of the 90′s. Unfortunately for Al Davis, the game moved forward from his style of offense and defense, and the Raiders didn’t evolve with it. Then, the draft busts came along, JM, and it put us in a deep hole. Davis had no other recourse but to try and win with big contract free agents. Still, they under-performed, and it left the Raiders in a losing hell hole. Along the way, there were some very bad moves with coaching changes (i.e., Jon Gruden), and it set the team back even more. Now this team has clawed its way out of the pit of despair, so to speak, and it’s beginning to move forward and make progress. Albeit very slow progress, but progress nonetheless. Thanks for your comments and support.

  • KloverJane

    That’s pretty much what I think too. But usual what I want and what they do is the polar opposite. Lol Hopefully the o line keeps whoever signal calls protected longer. This time. If they want to build through the draft, like they’ve said, then all these veteran pick ups indicate an NFL ready quarterback is targeted. I so hope we get the right one. We can’t be wrong twice there…hmmm. lol

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Pryor is a good quarterback who has a lot to learn. At times, he wants to be a pocket passer, and others he wants to run and gun. He is a diverse player with so many abilities. Unfortunately for Pryor, the new regime doesn’t believe in him or want him as the starter. Again, and I say this often, if you build your team around the QB’s strengths and weaknesses you can go far as an offense. However, and I’m sure you agree, Pryor is not at the level of Brees, Manning, or Brady. That’s the level these coaches and GM’s are striving for. They don’t see it in him right now, and they are bringing in other options. Now, if he grows from last years experience and progresses to a level like Newton or Russell Wilson, then the staff would have no choice but to keep him. However, I believe that he is on the outs with the organization. Sad as it may be, but it is more than likely the outcome. A lot of Raider Nation will not be happy with that outcome, but prepare yourselves for it. I think this organization will be bringing in Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, or Johnny Manziel to compete against McGloin and Pryor. Even moreover, if the Raiders do pursue Matt Schaub or Josh Freeman or Mark Sanchez, I believe that they will be looking for a value trade for Pryor. If no value trade, then Pryor will be cut during Pre-season. Sorry for the bad news, but this is my belief based on the direction the organization is headed.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Penn wants to play LT and not be put at RT or Guard. Not only that, Penn wants to win. He believes that the Raiders are making the right moves to be a winning organization, and he wants to be a part of it. Plus, he will more than likely be the starting LT. Menelik Watson will definitely compete for the LT & RT positions, but ultimately I believe that we will see Watson at LG or RG at the beginning of the season. Of course, the other theory is that it was the most money he was offered?

  • Shane Schilperoort

    If you’re interested in this, watch the tape of Derek Carr, Fresno State QB, on YouTube. I think you will be excited to see him behind center in Silver and Black this year. Bortles is another, but I don’t think Bortles makes it past the 3rd pick, especially after out-performing every QB at the Combine and he had an outstanding Pro-Day. Manziel could be an option too.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    This might make for a good article. Maybe I’ll do it.

  • KloverJane

    I believe it too.
    So Redskins may have low balled him? Interesting. Undervalued?

  • John Thomas Hurdle II

    Hey Shane, I know Pryor is not on the level of Manning or Brady or Brees, but neither of the Rookies coming in. But I Now Allen is not on the level of the coaches that has these players either. I mean Fox took Broncos ,to the play-offs with Tebow and Pryor is way better than Tebow. If he( Pryor) do not say with Oakland I hope he goes to Tampa.

  • Shane Schilperoort

    Truth is, not many QBs are at that level. My point is that the Raiders aren’t showing faith in Pryor going forward. That tells me he’s on the outs. As far as Dennis Allen goes, he’s got a crap load to prove, and we, the fans, have to see him show us that he’s in charge. So far he just looks like the guy whose got his head on a swivel, while the other coaches are running the show.

  • Petefranklin

    As a browns fan, I wish the Raiders would sign Mack, to an offer sheet so the Browns can actually sign him. The Raiders can not sign Mack outright without the Browns being able to match.