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Raiders know center Andre James has to work out the kinks

First-year starter has struggled during 2021 so far

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders
Andre James
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There hasn’t been a lot to be worried about when it comes to the Las Vegas Raiders through three perfect weeks of the 2021 season so far, but it would be disingenuous to say everything is going well at the center position.

First-year starter Andre James has struggled. He has been uneven in blocking and he has had issues snapping the ball to quarterback Derek Carr and he had another major gaffe on Sunday in a 31-28 overtime win over the visiting Miami Dolphins. Raiders coach Jon Gruden is hiding from it. He knows James, who the Raiders gave a contract extension to this offseason even though he started just one NFL game, has to improve.

“Well, we practice a lot. You’re not always out there, but we probably get as many reps as anybody in the league and we’re not going to make any excuses,” Gruden said. “It’s the National Football League and we’ve had one over our head in Baltimore in the scoring zone. We’ve had one over our head against Miami. Those plays put the quarterback in serious jeopardy and plus it’s a horrific loss of yardage. So, we got to do a better job, period. Andre knows it. We all know it, and we expect him to get better at it.”

James replaced Rodney Hudson, who was the engine of the Raiders’ offense for six seasons. He was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in March and is playing well.

Carr didn’t have much to offer on James’ botched snap against the Dolphins.

“The one today I think was a shotgun, a shotgun snap, and to be honest I don’t know what happened,” Carr said. “I didn’t see, I can barely remember, we had so many plays, so much chaos at the end of this game I can barely remember. It’s honestly time on task. I promise you we work on it. I promise you we go over those things, but he’s also got a big dude in front of him, and no excuses, he still wants to put it there, but I told him I said I’m sorry that went over my head, I just didn’t have hops for him today. Usually I can get it, but today I couldn’t get it.”

All problems are reduced when you’re 3-0, but there’s no doubt, getting James on track is a focus point for the Raiders’ coaching staff.