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Raiders offensive line most disappointing in NFL at midway point

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders fans have watched as a lot of aspects of this Raiders team disappoints this season. Much of that disappointment has come on the offensive side of the ball. And a big part of that has been the play of the offensive line.

SB Nation’s Geoff Schwartz — a former NFL offensive lineman — detailed the best and worst offensive line performances of the first half of the season. His biggest surprise was the LA Rams Oline. His biggest disappointment, as you might expect, is the Raiders.

It’s not because the line isn’t any good. The guys up front are killers. They are physical, they finish guys and want to work for the extra yards. I’m putting this on the offensive coordinator.

The Raiders brought in a new OC for the 2017 season: one who wants to run outside zone. The Raiders offensive line is built to run straight ahead, which it has done for years. It’s been a struggle at times trying to make the switch. The Raiders are averaging seven fewer rushing attempts each week and only 88 yards per game.

The seven fewer attempts could be a function of their record and being behind in games. Nevertheless, it’s not the same production for this offense. Last season, it had 19 runs of 20-plus yards; this season, only three. That’s scheme, production upfront and the lack of an explosive running back. It all goes together.

Schwartz accurately places to blame not squarely on the players, but rather the new scheme that doesn’t play to their strengths which made them so dominant last season.

One of three things will happen from here on out:

  1. They keep running the same scheme and keep having the same problems.
  2. They keep running the same scheme and the offensive line acclimates to it.
  3. They change back to the power scheme they ran last season to find their groove.

They still have yet to field a 100-yard rusher in any game this season. Hard to win many games that way.