Anyone who watched the Raiders in their first two preseason games recognizes the travesty that is their offensive line. As bad as it was in the opener, it was considerably worse in the second game.
Health has played a part in the problems they have faced. Poor performance has played a big role as well. There were questions coming in and the answers thus far have not been the ones the Raiders coaches were hoping for.
Jared Veldheer was the best lineman on this team and he was lost last week to a triceps injury. He was replaced at left tackle by Alex Barron in the second preseason game to disastrous results. He was beaten several times including giving up a sack for a nine yard loss, a pressure resulting in an incompletion, and a false start.
On Saturday, I asked Dennis Allen if the team was looking into bringing anyone in at the position, to which he responded "Anthony Munoz is not out there right now" and simply said the team has to get better. That means hoping the answer is on currently on the team.
While the left tackle position has looked like a revolving door, the guard positions have been a lazy susan in more ways than one.
In the first game, Mike Brisiel was getting pushed all over the field. He was pushed into the backfield to give up the forced fumble on Matt Flynn on the third play of the game. He also couldn't open any holes in the run game. Dennis Allen said Brisiel was nicked up with a ankle injury and it affected his play in the game. That was the excuse given to Brisiel for his poor play last season.
Since then, Brisiel has been out of practice. Last week it was Andre Gurode who replaced him and he started the second preseason game as well. The results were not ideal including getting pancaked by Will Smith at one point.
In practice today, it was no longer Gurode at right guard, it was Lucas Nix who was in with the first team at right guard. Nix had been with the first team at left guard thru camp and with his shift to the right side, Tony Bergstrom was first team left guard. Bergstrom moves to right tackle with the second team with Willie Smith shifted to left tackle with John Wetzel injured and lost for a couple weeks.
"I think part of Bergstrom's deal with playing tackle is with the injury situation, where we're at. Somebody's gotta be able to go out there and play in an emergency type situation so we're training him there," said Dennis Allen. "We went with Lucas Nix at right guard and we put Bergstrom at left guard today. So, again, we're still mixing and matching that up a little bit, trying to figure out who the best five are gonna be."
Though Wisniewski is the anchor at starting center, the backup job is unsettled. Alex Parsons had a very poor performance last week. After being in place as the primary backup center the past couple seasons, he was demoted today and replaced by Andre Gurode who is a former 5-time Pro Bowler.
This makes the current first team offensive line as of practice today LT Alex Barron, LG Tony Bergstom, C Stefen Wisniewski, RG Lucas Nix, RT Khalif Barnes.
As uninspiring as the first team line is, the second team line is downright scary bad: LT Willie Smith, LG Jason Foster, C Andre Gurode, RG Lamar Mady, RT Tony Bergstrom
But this is the situation the Raiders are in. It's incredibly desperate and no amount of shuffling around the same lackluster pieces is going to solve it.