How should the Oakland Raiders setup the Offensive Line?

Sep 27, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders offensive line during the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Oakland Raiders offensive line during the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

After a dilemma at least several weeks in the making, there is finally a resolution to the Donald Penn saga.

Word broke around midnight between March 15 and March 16 that the veteran left tackle would be returning to the Oakland Raiders.

Thanks to a tweet from Menelik Watson that strongly hinted at the return of Penn to the silver and black, word spread quickly amongst the fanbase that a deal had been reached.

Not too long after Menelik’s tweet (which he deleted), Penn’s wife took to Instagram in celebratory fashion, posting a picture of a bottle of champagne, using hashtags such as #StayingHome and #JustWinBaby.

If that wasn’t enough reason to get excited, Raiders Insider Vic Tafur tweeted out that the team and Penn had worked towards finalizing an agreement.

Things were made official in the morning hours, and Penn is officially back in black.

When the team signed Kelechi Osemele for the amount that he signed at, there was speculation that Osemele could play left tackle, making Penn’s services no longer in need.

Penn admitted himself that he was “pissed” when he heard news of Osemele’s signing, but did say that McKenzie assured him that Osemele would remain at guard.

So now that Penn will be returning to Oakland, the Raiders offensive line is certainly in the top two amongst league ranks.

However, there are questions about how the offensive line should be constructed. Certainly a good problem to have, and one that the coaches, particularly Mike Tice, will work out. But in the meantime, let’s look at the options and see if any which way stands out as making the most sense.

Option 1:


The Raiders keep Gabe Jackson where he is now, at left guard. This might be the simplest option because of the continuity that it offers. Four of the five starters from last season return to their same positions, with Osemele filling the void at right guard.

Another benefit here is that Osemele, being the best offensive lineman of the group, will be of great help to whoever plays right tackle. Since right tackle is the weak spot on the line, having Osemele over there helps solidify that side of the ball.

Osemele has experience playing RG as well, so there shouldn’t be any concern about him adapting to that role. And since no one else is moving position, there isn’t any need for anyone else to adapt.

Option 2:


Another option is to have Osemele play left guard, and slide Gabe over to the right side.

The first benefit to this option is you have your best offensive lineman on the blind side of the quarterback, which is ideal of course for obvious reasons.

Not say Gabe Jackson isn’t good enough for that, because he certainly is, just that Osemele is the best of the bunch.

Speaking of Gabe, he’s also a prototype right guard. He’s a mauler and a force in run blocking, where he excels the most. Having him at right guard is a position he was born to play.

For a left guard, run blocking is still important of course, but there is a bit more savvy needed in pass protection. Osemele is the better option in that regard.

Lastly, Osemele will very likely be the backup left tackle and he could still be the left tackle of the future. So if Penn is injured, or if the team plans to move Osemele to LT in the future, keeping him on the left side of the line will make for an easy transition.


No matter which direction Mike Tice and the team decide to go, the Raiders are in great position.

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