What the Oakland Raiders' Starting Lineup on Offense Should Look Like
The search for a capable offense in Oakland has begun, as concerns are all over the map, from coaching and play calling to productivity.
This unit will be under more scrutiny than any offense in the NFL in 2009.
Quarterback: JaMarcus Russell
But seeing Garcia start that game will make many puke, because then they will know the hunt for a franchise signal caller is still on.
Running Back: Darren McFadden
The team's most explosive weapon is healthy and determined to improve from his rookie campaign. It wasn't a highlight reel year, and many fans on different sites are unimpressed.
It's sure strange to read these comments, but what is even stranger is Russell going to Tom Cable requesting D-Mac to play more.
Michael Bush will get carries, but contractually it makes sense to see what the Raiders have in McFadden as an every-down player.
Fullback: Lorenzo Neal
Hammering holes open for his fellow running backs throughout his career should continue in 2009.
Neal must have a large McDonald's smile on his face knowing he gets to block for such talented backs as are in Oakland, and he brings an attitude and toughness the Raiders have lacked for many years.
Wide Receivers: Chaz Schilens and Johnnie Lee Higgins
Both young guys have the blessing of Al Davis and produced the best play out of all wideouts last season.
Schilens' size, speed, and ability to go up for the ball should give him the chance to be the team's No. 1 target.
Higgins provides the big play ability needed to make Russell's life easier. Some say he is really a slot guy, but the team played better when he was out on the field. There isn't any disputing it.
Tight End: Zach Miller
Everyone wants to see Miller get a Pro Bowl invite now that Tony Gonzalez has left the conference.
Russell trusts him more than his wide receivers, and he shall continue to use him as a safe option over the middle.
Right Tackle: Khalif Barnes
This is something he doesn't want to happen, but he is a better run blocker than Mario Henderson and doesn't have better feet than the third-year player from Florida State.
Nonetheless, Barnes is a major upgrade over Cornell Green, and the team would be confident in Barnes going up against left defensive ends.
Right Guard: Cooper Carlisle
He's a steady, above average player who is looking to rebound after a disappointing 2008. The Raiders brought him back because they believe the 2007 version will appear during the season.
His experience in the ZBS will be needed as he learns to play next to new linemen.
Center: Samson Satele
I jumped for joy when Jake Grove wasn't retained. I was sick of watching him impersonate a starting NFL center for the Raiders.
Samson Satele is an upgrade, and people will see this when he is getting through to the second level and opening up big holes for the running backs.
He is only 24, and this move will quiet a lot of us who wanted the Raiders to draft Alex Mack.
Left Guard: Robert Gallery
A very awful left tackle is possibly on the verge of becoming a Pro Bowl guard.
Cable gets a lot of credit, but so does Gallery for bouncing back and becoming a valuable player for the line. I was hard on the guy, but he played well the last two seasons.
Left Tackle: Mario Henderson
I was glad when Davis made the move to trade up and draft Henderson in 2007.
He did well last year, considering no one can be worse than Kwame Harris. Henderson critics speak about having a lot of help from tight ends and fullbacks last season.
The Raiders passed on a left tackle in the draft because they know something others don't. Drew Rosenhaus does as well.
Guys who take the heat if it doesn't work
Cable will call the plays on offense, with Ted Tollner adding input as well. Paul Hackett will be over Russell as he tries to continue his magic with quarterbacks.
Jim Michalzcik gets to handle the big uglies up front, with obvious help from Cable. Adam Henry has the job of keeping Miller on point and developing a complementary second tight end.
Kelly Skipper will handle the responsibility of coaching the running backs to a level of consistent play. His connection to Neal from Fresno State ought to help, as Neal is a strong figure who wants to team to take on a tougher role.
Sanjay Lal probably has more pressure on him to make the wide receivers productive than any other position coach in Oakland.
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