The Raiders are making drastic changes with videos of Alex Leatherwood at practice working at right guard and Brandon Parker at left tackle.
Greg Olson explained the move during his press conference Thursday.
“Yeah, no question, and we’re always looking for versatility when we’re looking at offensive linemen in the draft. And the ability to play multiple positions, which someone like Alex has done, allows us to experiment somewhat. Especially when we have the injuries that we have that will continue to move guys around and it’s all about trying to find the five best on the field, so we are just looking at a couple different guys.”
It makes sense for the Raiders to attempt to fix the offensive line issues. They are last in ESPN's run block win rate and 24th in pass block win rate. It's the biggest problem for the offense, and it's stopping the unit from becoming great.
It leaves Carr with the chance of serious injury with a scare coming in Week 2 that has lingered. Carr has struggled to drive off his back foot creating accuracy issues.
The Raiders brass believe that Leatherwood can play every position. He did play right guard as a true sophomore, but he gave up 21 pressures that season. There were draft pundits who predicted a move to guard, but Leatherwood has the profile of a tackle in the NFL.
That takes us to his replacement Brandon Parker. He struggled against the Steelers with two total pressures on 22 pass-rush snaps. His issues are the same as they were before when the film came on.
Also, this would take Jermaine Eluemunor off the field. The narrative around Eluemunor is he is not playing well, but he ranks tenth in PFF's pass-blocking efficiency. In true pass sets, he ranks fourth out of 57 eligible.
Sports info solutions have the London native with zero-blown blocks and the only Raiders lineman with zero in the run game. Taking snaps from a player that is not allowing pressure will not help the circumstances.
The decision is interesting because most of the Raiders' offensive line issues are around communication. The line is struggling to pick up blitzes and stunts and disrupting good plays calls.
Missed opportunities in the first half because of the line miscues. NCAA concept and Renfrow is about to be wide open on the post but the late blitz(I think Tillery holds here btw) allows a free rusher and Carr has to throw it away. pic.twitter.com/x6MKjzgDfK— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) October 6, 2021
The confusion plagued them in the Miami Dolphins game and made Carr struggle in an area he usually thrives. According to PFF, Carr's 54% completion percentage vs. the blitz is the worst since his rookie year.
A majority of the communication falls on the quarterback and the center. The center is the leader of the offensive line and makes the checks plus recognize blitzes. Andre James is new to the position and not adjusting quickly enough to help out this offense.
His snaps are hurting the offensive line as well and not just the bad ones. James's snap speed is below average, and it's keeping Carr from getting into his drop quick enough to beat blitzes. Moving to under-center passes might help the issue.
One area that's allowing teams to tee off on the OL is the speed of the snaps. Forces Carr to get into his drop later than he should.— Marcus Johnson (@TheMarcJohnNFL) October 9, 2021
Here are Rodney Hudson and Andre James side by side. It's pretty clear. pic.twitter.com/iZAkQtLPoD
Leatherwood moving inside could revitalize the run game after all. However, the strength of the offense is the passing game. He will be a rookie inside as well, possibly creating the same mistakes picking up blitzes.
Andrew Thomas struggled for the New York Giants mightily in 2020, but they didn't give up on him, and now he is thriving. The Raiders want to win now. If that was the case drafting a tackle to start shouldn't have been an option.