Position outlook: Defensive tackle

This is one story in a series of position outlooks for the Oakland Raiders. Today, here is a look at defensive tackle:

Looking back: The Raiders envisioned a run-stuffing tandem of John Parrella and Dana Stubblefield with backups Chris Cooper and Rod Coleman combining for a dynamic four-man rotation.

The problem was that Parrella and Stubblefield combined to play just 13 games. Parrella ended up on injured reserve with a groin injury while Stubblefield was hampered with an ankle injury.

Coleman and Cooper instead played more snaps than in previous years and as a result played with not as much effectiveness. In fact, things were so desperate that Terdell Sands and Sean Gilbert were picked up off the street.

Looking ahead: Parrella (34) and Stubblefield (33) are both north of 30 and coming off injury. Parrella had not been forced to miss time with injury until last year so he probably still has something left. Plus, Parrella is an outstanding leader with a tremendous work ethic.

Stubblefield can still be a decent player but his days of dominance were in his first stint as a San Francisco 49er (1993-1997). Coleman said he would exercise his option at becoming a free agent. That statement, however, came before the Raiders dismissed Bill Callahan as the head coach. Nonetheless, Coleman is a player the Raiders need to make a serious effort to keep.

Cooper is a versatile player capable of spot starting and playing both end and tackle but is a better option at the former spot. As for Gilbert and Sands, don't expect them occupying a roster spot in Oakland.

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

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