Gallery's solid rookie year not unnoticed

Despite Robert Gallery's penalty that would categorize as "confusing," the Oakland Raiders' prized rookie offensive tackle has enjoyed a solid first year.

In Sunday's 23-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers, Gallery, who was the second overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft from the University of Iowa, made a block that he has done several times in college and the NFL, forcing his man to the outside and giving him a little nudge in the back as he goes by, but Sunday it drew a costly penalty that nullified a Kerry Collins-to-Doug Gabriel touchdown pass that would have cut the Chargers lead to 23-21.

The Oakland Raiders ended up settling for a Sebastian Janikowski field goal. Raiders head coach Norv Turner said in his postgame press conference that he had never seen such a penalty called.

The Raiders drafted Gallery with the idea in mind of replacing left tackle Barry Sims, who would have been slated to move inside to guard. Sims, however, played so well that he did not lose the starting job. Oakland then tried Gallery at guard and tackle. In fact, he played both positions in Oakland's 24-21 season-opening loss to Pittsburgh. The Raiders then made him the starting right tackle, replacing Langston Walker.

"I think that week in and week out he's doing a very consistent job," Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins said. "He's a smart guy. He's obviously a talented guy. He works hard. That is what has carried him through with the veteran guys. He might be underappreciated outside of here but we appreciate him for what he has done."

He is not underappreciated by Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan. Oakland visits Denver Sunday night.

"I think any time an offensive lineman comes in and starts in the National Football League as a rookie it's one of the toughest adjustments to make," Shanahan said in a conference call Wednesday. "There's the speed, the learning curve of pro football. These defensive ends they go against are some of the best athletes in the National Football League. They're not used to the speed and all of the different moves and the different blocking assignments you have. I think he has a great upside. We loved him coming out of the draft."

The impact of Lynch

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to part ways with safety John Lynch in a salary cap move, the Broncos were there and waiting. The addition of Lynch has enabled the Broncos to produce the No. 6-rated total defense in the NFL. It's not so much his statistical value either.

"I think he's been a big addition to our team," Shanahan said. "Even though we were fairly good last year on defense, at the end of the season we were in the top five. I thought we did some good things but any time a guy comes in as a free agent and becomes your team captain on defense it takes a guy a while to establish himself."

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at

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