Raiders O-Line full of uncertainty

There's only one thing set in stone about the Oakland Raiders starting offensive line -- there will be five guys.

As for who lines up in which position on Sunday when the Oakland Raiders visit the Pittsburgh Steelers is open to question. Based on the answers, figuring out that question is guesswork. Actually, most of the ambiguity centers around rookie Robert Gallery. The continued uncertainty won't help the Raiders establish the cohesiveness that is necessary for an offensive line. Last season, left tackle Barry Sims was the lone Oakland offensive lineman to start all 16 games.

For most of training camp and the Raiders four exhibition games Gallery, whom the Raiders selected with the second overall pick in April's draft, worked at both guard and tackle on the left side of the line. Oakland is now working Gallery at right tackle. Then again, you don't guarantee a rookie boat loads of money to ride the pine.

When right tackle Lincoln Kennedy retired, it was generally assumed that Langston Walker, a third-year man from Cal, would slide into that role. When Gallery was working at left guard, Frank Middleton's status appeared jeopardized but he appears safe for the moment.

"It (Gallery's situation) might hurt somebody like Langston or B. (Barry) Sims more than it will hurt me," Middleton said. "I'm a starter and I'm going to prepare like a starter. I do get the majority of the reps."

Sims has been the Raiders starter at left tackle since 1999 but the team drafted Gallery with the idea of having him supplant Sims, whom the Raiders had the idea of putting at left guard. Sims, however, held down the fort at left tackle and therefore the team continues to experiment with Gallery.

Right guard seems to be the only position that is set with Ron Stone having recovered from his hamstring injury. Oakland appeared set to go with Adam Treu at center but the Raiders are also high on Jake Grove, whom the team drafted in the second round. Turner said that he plans to name a starting five by Friday but Middleton said he'd believe it when he saw it.

"I think they just want to try to let everything go, and not make the decision until Sunday morning so nobody will have a chance to complain about it," Middleton said kiddingly.

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