The offensive line transformed itself seamlessly from being a run-blocking group in 2000, when the Raiders led the NFL in rushing, to a pass-blocking unit in 2002, when led the NFL in passing.
Center Barret Robbins and right tackle Lincoln Kennedy anchored a dominant line with by having All-Pro seasons. Left tackle Barry Sims' troublesome feet did not appear to be the problem the team feared coming out of training camp.
The line seemed to get better with the return of right guard Mo Collins from knee surgery, even though Matt Stinchcomb did a solid job at left guard. That allowed Frank Middleton to slide over to left guard. Second-round draft choice Langston Walker exceeded expectations and slowed the ability to flip from left to right tackle easily.
This position could go through ample changes in the offseason, compounded by the Raiders being an estimated $8 million over the salary cap. The team is not likely to be able to afford both Kennedy and Sims. For that matter, it likely cannot afford both Middleton and Collins. Middleton carries a $1.7 million cap figure.
There is a lot of speculation that Robbins, who has been diagnosed with depression and being bipolar, has played his last game as a Raider. Head coach Bill Callahan, however, said there's still a viable chance Robbins will remain with the club despite being suspended on Super Bowl weekend.
If Robbins does not return, the Raiders have a solid and cost effective replacement in long snapper Adam Treu.
Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org