Haven't we seen enough seasons of an inferior offensive line?
I admit to seeing a few impressive downs from the Raiders OL this season and perhaps even prior seasons but it's hard to overlook the utter failure of maintaining credible pass protection. Let's point the finger at the only person responsible for killing his own team - Undead Al Davis.
Once upon a time, not that long ago, the Raiders had some pretty good offensive linemen. Despite his descent into madness Barret Robbins was an excellent center. His backup was not too shabby either and a darn good long snapper - Adam Treu. Steve Wisniewski, Frank Middleton, Lincoln Kennedy are all gone and none have been adequately replaced. Mediocre guys like Barry Sims were brought in but the results of his tenure and other washouts who overstayed their welcome tell the story. Too many penalties, too many losses, too many rushed passes, harried QBs fleeing for their life, too many sacks given up. Shit you'd have to be Rich Gannon to beat those odds as a Raiders QB.
The horrid stretch of a bad OL really took shape when a sizable investment was made in drafting Robert Gallery. This marked the beginning of the end. Since he was such a high draft pick, the rest of the OL was supposed to be built around him. Say what you will about his ability to play guard, the guy completely flopped as a tackle (which he was drafted to play) and added nothing special whatsoever to the team's chances of winning. Ever since this bad draft pick Al has refused to draft another O lineman early in the draft and he has refused to delve into free agency to pick up someone decent who can play anywhere on the line.
He spent a ton of money on bad free agent signings on defense such as Gibril Wilson, DeAngelo Hall (who might have fared better in a zone defense), Tommy Kelly, etc. Al broke the bank trying to find solutions on defense yet none of his tactics worked out. He had to rebuild almost entirely on D. It has taken a few years just to recover from those bad signings and we're still carrying Kelly's fat duff around as baggage. What good reason is there to not even make an effort to build a credible OL?
It's all about Al's pride and commanding his coaches to coach. "Make them great." That's what he must tell his puppet, turnstile coaches.
Why not concentrate on protecting your QB for a change? These scrub retreads like Khalif Barnes, Langston Walker, Cooper Carlisle are not helping. Mario Henderson stinks to high hell, ok? Sorry, I know he's a nice guy but the man is not NFL caliber. He may not even be UFL caliber. Don't keep the guy around simply because you don't want to give up on a third round draft pick. Who wants to bet he's on the roster next season?
I'm also sorry to say that it is a pretty big leap of faith to draft a small school guy like Jared Veldheer and think he can step in and play at NFL standards. Al STILL thinks of himself as a genius because he discovered small school offensive lineman Art Shell and Gene Upshaw in yesteryear. Veldheer's play speaks for itself. He is not ready to take on the mammoth task of playing at a solid NFL level.
It's all Al's fault the QB struggles in Oakland. A bad OL kills QB careers in fact. Look at Andrew Walter, a one time promising prospect all but ruined thanks to inept coaching and a bad OL. In 2010 we're down to Kyle Boller as our last best hope. That says it all right there.
The new incarnation of a slow-witted Raiders QB, Jason Campbell, has no chance to succeed with the current hypocrisy of an OL.
Also, it is worth looking back. We all know JaMeatloaf Russell flopped out of the league on his own de-merits but it would have been less painful to watch if we had a decent OL. Any QB with a horrid OL in front of him is set up to fail.
So when will this hypocrisy end and when will Undead Al decide to make an investment to protect the QB?
step 1 is for Al to steel his nerves and get rid of Gallery. Lose the pride and just cut the guy loose. You can bring in any college lineman to do what he does at guard. Realize that and you are halfway to nirvana Al.
step 2 is roll the dice and replace every single component of the line in the draft and free agency. Every one of them must go. A new crew could not possibly do any worse than what we have now.
Step 3 is refrain from drafting receivers or more defensive linemen or DBs. Just draft O linemen rounds 1-4 (at least) and fish in free agency in the off season. Make good offers to players with some track record of success. At least make an effort to bid on those top caliber players.
Get a clue Al, you are a fumbling, bumbling fool wearing a sour faced mask and no one is laughing any more. People want change and you have to address the glaring problem everyone else sees but you refuse to acknowledge.