While the coaching staff has changed, the entire offensive line for the Oakland Raiders will return in 2018. They will be key in Oakland’s turnaround.
When Jon Gruden was hired to be the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders, he preached continuity as a strategy to getting the Silver and Black back to respectability in 2018. While most of his coaching staff will be new, one thing that won’t change is the guys up front blocking for franchise quarterback Derek Carr.
The Oakland offensive line is deep, well-paid and has great chemistry. Even in a down year for the Raiders, Oakland still sent three offensive linemen to the Pro Bowl. Left tackle Donald Penn earned his third Pro Bowl honor, but won’t play due to a leg injury suffered at the end of the year.
No, it’s not just the dynamic blocking trio of Hudson, Osemele and Penn that should have Gruden excited to get to work. He will have two other starters back from last year in right guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Marshall Newhouse.
Jackson is the only homegrown starter on this Oakland front-five. While he got paid last offseason, he could be in line to make his first Pro Bowl in year five. Newhouse had to split time at both tackle spots this year due to injury and Penn’s training camp holdout. Though clearly the weakest of the front-five, Newhouse’s versatility could come up big for the Raiders this fall.
With Jackson, Newhouse and Penn having to deal with injuries last season, this allowed guys like Vadal Alexander, Jon Feliciano and rookie David Sharpe to get some valuable playing experience. Not to say that those three are really starting caliber at the professional level, but Oakland can tread water with any of those three in the starting lineup.
What is really intriguing about the Raiders this offseason is that they will not be losing an offensive linemen to free agency. When does a team ever find itself in that fortuitous situation? Sure, the Raiders will have a new offensive line coach in Tom Cable over Mike Tice, but the on-field chemistry on the Raiders offensive line could bring out the best in this 2018 offense.
More from Just Blog Baby
- Raiders news: Free agent TE Foster Moreau diagnosed with cancer
- Order your Jimmy Garoppolo Las Vegas Raiders gear now
- Las Vegas Raiders: 2023 NFL Draft will make-or-break David Ziegler Era
- Raiders news: Jimmy Garoppolo offered a different kind of deal
- Raiders 2023 NFL Draft: Trading down for an elite DT on Day 1
Yes, Oakland will have to make adjustments with Gruden as a play caller, but he should feel comfortable about the big guys blocking up front for Carr. Outside of the Philadelphia Eagles and maybe the Dallas Cowboys, what offensive line would an incoming head coach want more?
Even if the offensive line has to adjust with scheme now that Cable is its position coach, the Raiders front-five have the continuity to make it work. This will be the third year in a row that the Raiders line up Penn, Osemele, Hudson and Jackson from left tackle to right guard. It will be the second year that Newhouse would presumably be the right tackle.
Assuming the Raiders can stay healthy up front, the offensive line is a beacon of hope for this 2018 offense to right the ship quickly. No, the offensive line can’t control the running backs’ instincts, Carr’s decision making or the wide receiving corps’ sure-handedness, or blatant lack thereof. However, that group gives Gruden the foundation he’ll need to build a championship offense with the Silver and Black for the rest of the decade.