Stefen Wisniewski of the Oakland Raiders (photo by Levi Damien)
It has been unknown for a while what the Raiders plans were for their offensive line. One of the big questions was who would be playing at center. And all in one day, that question was answered emphatically. First last year's center, Samson Satele, was signed by the Colts, ensuring he would not return. Then Reggie McKenzie spoke plainly as to what the team's plans were in filling the center spot.
The Raiders new general manager was in attendance at the Stanford University pro day where, among others, top pick Andrew Luck was showing his already apparent skills to scouts. While there, several members of the media took the opportunity to ask McKenzie some questions about the Raiders' plans. The offensive line was chiefly among them. And the center position took...well, center stage."The coaching staff would like to see [Wisniewski] move inside, see what he can do." said McKenzie. "They feel pretty good about that... Yeah, they want to work him [at center], knowing he can play guard, but that won't go away from us not being able to upgrade, if we get another center, like, `we can't pass on this center,' then Wiz got to play guard. But going into the offseason, the coaching staff wants to see [cooper] Carlisle and [Mike] Brisiel at guards."
In addition to revealing their plans to try Wisniewski at guard, the plans for the two guards became clear as well. As McKenzie said Carlisle would be switching sides to take the left guard spot as of now.
"It seems like they want to put Cooper over there... Coop feels like he can do it. We'll let him work this whole offseason and play in preseason, and get it down, and adding Brisiel helps. Khalif signed on today officially, so that kind of helps solidify, now we just need to add some depth."
Wisniewski played both center and guard at Penn State and was considered the best center prospect in the 2010 draft. He struggled a bit at center and was moved to left guard in favor of Samson Satele. But when Satele went out with injuries last season, Wisniewski stepped in at center and played well. He will now have an entire offseason, camp, and preseason to settle in to see if he is destined to be "the next great Raider center" as Hue Jackson boasted when the team drafted him.
Carlisle was initially cut from the team to make room under the salary cap but the team re-signed him a couple days later on a one-year deal at veteran minimum.
Mike Brisiel comes over from the Houston Texans as a young, proven right guard in the zone blocking scheme. He has had injury problems in his young career and if he goes down, some line shuffling will occur but with Carlisle being a longtime right guard, it would be easy enough to switch back over in that instance.
And just like that, we have a pretty clear picture of the Raiders plans for the offensive line as of this moment. Although, he left is open to change and didn't commit to Khalif as the starter at right tackle. The line could change somewhat from this initial plan come the season, but I think McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen feel confident enough in this group should no better options arise.