This off-season the Raiders Organization added possible game-changer players which of course gets the on-line world buzzing about the potential for a playoff berth .
This time around however the talent added to the roster is reason for higher expectation. The Raiders have a new infusion of athletes at dominant positions. They include the likes Mack, quarterback Derek Carr, and receiver Amari Cooper. often overlooked are the offensive line and as always they are essential to reaching the post season in the 2015-2016 season.
one glaring fact is it has been over a decade and then some since any o-lineman fro the Oakland Raiders has been selected to the Pro Bowl. bringing in the top type lineman has been absent in the Oakland strategy for the decade from 2002 through 2012. recently in the past few years since general manger Reggie McKenzie came on board there has been a renewed focus on those players up front.
Free agency seems to be the route McKenzie has selected to fill the holes in the offensive line. Linemen D Penn, A Howard and R Hudson got the call to come in as veterans to give imediate boost to the line. They were selected to deliver immediate impact and to grow with the team over more than a single season. clearly the Raiders want to develop these players as part of the team near future
Both linemen Penn and Howard were starts last season and combined share over one thousand total snaps in 20154. Right tackle might be the place Howard finds himself should he earn the right to start again once preseason camp and the preseason schedule of games has come to an end. Penn and Hudson on the other hand appear to have the starting positions on the center to left side of the line secured as of now.
Hudson has been touted as the premiere catch in this past off season. The Raiders are taking a more pragmatic approach and have sidelined the old strategy of giving up draft picks for veteran players or repeatedly signing overpriced players. it just may be that the Raiders have matured from an ownership standpoint and are finally settling on an astute well crafted approach to developing a winning organization.
It seems the "rebuilding phase talked about for too many years has finally come to fruition and we may get to see the results of the strategies in 2015
Other guys to keep an eye on are linemen G Jackson, M Watson, and J Feliciano who are 3 Raiders draft choices that have real potential and a solid shot at a future with the Raiders. Jackson is likely to be the go to starter at guard and that could be the case, if he remains healthy, for the next several years to come. Watson is in his 3rd NFL season and has the talent to challenge Howard at right tackle. Feliciano is accumulating more and more snaps at right guard and is one guy to keep an eye on.
Oakland has several other lineman competing for a place on the team. Depth can be as important the starting group. its a tough season with injuries being a fact of the game so planning for such scenarios makes depth a key component.
The Raiders may prove to be a sleeper team this coming season. first howerver both the running and passing attack mus be perfected as much as can be and the linemen are the glue to get that done.
Scott Davis LA Raiders Oakland Raiders football news and images for 2015