Oakland Raiders' Robert Gallery: Does He Deserve the Bust Label?

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Oakland Raiders' Robert Gallery: Does He Deserve the Bust Label?
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Back in 2004, the Raiders were looking at shoring up a leaky offensive line. Coming off a particularly bad season, they looked at a behemoth from the University of Iowa named Robert Gallery, and felt he would be a good option.

In the five years since, he's been considered a bust, failing to land a single pro-bowl nod.

However, it does beg the question: Is it a deserved label, or more hating from those with rose-colored glasses?

First things first, is to consider where he came from. University of Iowa, Gallery started out as a Tight End, then moved to Right Tackle as a Freshman.

For the next three seasons, Iowa would have a nice stretch, reaching a bowl game in 2001, and in 2002 they would go undefeated in their conference in 80 years.

When Gallery came to the Raiders, they were already having problems getting consistent play out of their positions. A season removed from the Super Bowl, the team that was labelled the Bay Area Retirement Community had to rebuild from the ground up.

In his first season, he started 15 games, and gave up only three sacks.

In his second season, he started 16 games, and gave up only 3.5 sacks.

Do these numbers look like a bust?

In the third season, also known as Hell in Oakland, Gallery was subjected to the coaching "genius" of Art Shell and company, that moved him from Right Tackle to Left Tackle.

The result was obvious from the get-go. In the first game going in, he gave up at least three to the Chargers in a rout, and a total of nine that game.

To understand how this would be a problem, say that you are left-handed. Now, try to write with your right hand.

When you play Right Tackle, and then have to alter your positioning and stance and are out of your zone of comfort, it would take a while to adjust. For Gallery, it was a change since 2000, where he was playing even as a freshman.

Gallery wound up giving up a total of 10.5 sacks in 10 games, and missed six games that season. The naysayers instantly forgot about those first two seasons, and instead had their fuel for the fire.

After Shell was tossed out, Gallery was moved over to the Left Guard position, and apparently has shown the strongest indication for putting his past behind him.

You don't hear about him, because he's not being flagged for false starts, holding or other problems. Granted, you don't hear about him being selected for Pro Bowls either, due to Oakland's overall record hasn't been stellar.

But the question is, for a No. 2 pick to go from two solid seasons, put up with a coach who should have stayed out of football, and then getting back to a good caliber player, is it justified to classify him alongside players like Ryan Leaf, Peter Warrick or Todd Marinovich?

I don't think so. Give him a break and a chance...He might surprise you.

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