State of the Raiders: The Trenches

S&BI's Mike Wagaman takes a position by position look at what the Raiders' offseason game plan should be heading into the 2010 season. In this installment, we'll examine the offensive and defensive lines.


Looking back: At times the front five were dominant, handling Philly's aggressive defense with little problem. Other times the line was simply terrible, allowing the quarterbacks to take a beating and the running backs to get shut down. Left guard Robert Gallery battled injuries most of the year and was in and out of the lineup, the center spot was unsettled until late in the season while the tackles were erratic at times. Grade: C

Our plan: After focusing so much on the skill positions the last few years the Raiders have to start addressing the problems on the line. Specifically, they have to upgrade at tackle, especially on the right side where Cornell Green is adequate but prone to getting beat. Cable also needs to work more with undersized center Samson Satele because it took Satele nearly three months of the season to get comfortable making the line calls.


Looking back: The Raiders had a fairly decent pass rush most of the season, one that would have been better with more blitzing, but the big problem was once again stopping the run. Defensive end Greg Ellis provided some much-needed leadership and at times the unit was flat-out dominant, but those times were few and far between. Grade: C

Our plan: They're probably two low in the draft to grab an impact player but it's clear a shake-up is needed. Tommy Kelly's lack of production is startling given the contract he signed two years ago to become the highest paid defensive lineman in the league. It's time for his free ride to end. Matt Shaughnessy's development at defensive end made the position change of Trevor Scott easier to adjust to and he should be given every chance to win a starting job. They also need better depth because there is none for the interior tackles.

Coming up next: Linebackers, secondary and special teams.

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