Position outlook: Offensive tackle

On story in a series a position outlook for the Oakland Raiders. Today, here's a look at offensive tackle:

Looking back: There's good news and bad news regarding left tackle Barry Sims. The good news was that he was the only member of the starting line to take the field in all 16 games. The bad news was that he committed enough false start penalties to need a starter's pistol.

After the Raiders embarrassing 41-7 loss at home on a Monday night to the Green Bay Packers, right tackle told the media that he was retiring after 11 NFL seasons (eight in Oakland). Kennedy had three Pro Bowl season for the Raiders and courageously battled through constant pain in the process. Other than Art Shell, you would be hard-pressed to find an offensive tackle that has had a better career in franchise history than Kennedy.

Langston Walker, who will enter his third NFL season, continued to play well enough to warrant a starting spot somewhere on the line.

Looking ahead: Though his courage should be admired, retiring was in Kennedy's best interest. The Raiders, who figure to have at least some younger players, will miss Kennedy as a leader more so than anything else. Walker is versatile enough to play guard or flip-flop from the right to left side.

The Raiders had their share of injuries at guard with Frank Middleton and Mo Collins winding on injured reserve. Sims will also need to address his penchant for false starts but as of now a starting tackle tandem of Walker and Sims is a good bet.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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