There is hope for a turnaround by the Las Vegas Raiders and one of the reasons is that the offensive line is starting to come around.
The unit, which has had 11 different lineups, has made strides, in particular, in the both the pass and ground game. Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels is happy with the progress he is seeing from the unit. He likes the toughness he is seeing from the group.
“We want to be a tough, physical team. There’s no shortcut to that. You have to do the hard things, you got to practice in pads, you got to do the drill work that’s required of you to improve in those areas,” McDaniels said. “You got to double team each other, you got to work hard at it. You can’t just say we’re going to be a tough team and then all of a sudden that happens. That’s all about work and you earn that. You earned the right to be a tough team with what you do during the week. And I think our guys have not flinched at all from the time we started training camp and really started talking about that identity and see if we can develop that on our team. I think we do have a lot of tough guys and when you take a lot of tough guys that work hard and want that to be their own identity, then they have a chance to create it.”
Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr lauded the offensive line for persevering through a tough early stretch to the season.
“I’m just so proud of them, man. They’ve been pushed really hard and it’s something we’ve talked about since OTAs and training camp,” Carr said. “We’ve had conversations about different people moving spots and all that kind of stuff, and I’m just so proud of them. It’s never going to be perfect, especially in this league against the guys that they’re playing. But I’m proud of them, they’ve worked really hard. [Carmen] Carm [Bricillo] and [Cameron] Cam [Clemmons] have done a great job at teaching and watching them grow has been awesome because we got the running game going, pass game. Sacks are going to happen every now and then, especially in this league, and all that kind of stuff. But they’ll be the first one to tell you there’s stuff they’d love to clean up, but I’m proud of the way that they’re playing and we’re going to need them to do that and as we go forward.”
McDaniels knows the key is keeping Carr clean and the coach thinks he is seeing improvement in that area and he knows it’s a big key to the rest of the season as the 2-4 Raiders try to climb back in the AFC playoff race.
“I think for the most part, they’re protecting the quarterback pretty well,” McDaniel said. “Again, always room for improvement in that, but I think for the most part they’re doing the right things there. And then they’re given the backs an opportunity to hit the line of scrimmage without there being two guys in the backfield. And so, we talk a lot about not having negative runs, not having quarterback hits or pressures or sacks, and when you come out of the game and there’s only a couple plays where that was the case, then those guys are generally doing their job.”