The Oakland Raiders had a great offseason.
They addressed key issues on both sides of the ball. Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski will compete for the starting job at QB, though many fans and media believe the job is already Jason Campbell's. Rolando McClain will be inserted to anchor the defense. Lamarr Houston adds talent and versatility to an already talented defense.
But there is one issue that wasn't addressed very well, and I expect it to be a headache once again in 2010... the offensive line.
Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell were drafted in the middle rounds and are expected to be back-ups for their rookie seasons. Other than that, nothing has been done to help this unit.
Using the addition by subtraction theory, Cornell Green has been released and is now being overpaid in Buffalo.
The Raiders front five currently looks like this: (from left to right) Mario Henderson, Robert Gallery, Samson Satele, Cooper Carlisle, and Khalif Barnes.
Gallery is the best lineman, but he played only six games last season, Barnes was injured last year in training camp, Satele was overpowered by nose tackles, Carlisle is getting old, and Henderson is inconsistent.
Now there is a lighter side to this group.
Gallery was never as injury prone before 2009, Henderson is still developing, Carlisle is a proven veteran, Barnes is hungry for playing time (although he'd rather be a left tackle), and Satele is a good, athletic run blocker.
However, the biggest difference will be the new QB. Mario Henderson said it was nice to have a guy throw the ball on time and have mobility, referring to the addition of Jason Campbell.
Nevertheless, there is still another question mark. How will Hue Jackson's power running plays work with a group that Tom Cable assembled for zone blocking?
The Raiders were terrible on offense before Cable introduced zone blocking under Lane Kiffin in 2007. That gave the Raiders a Top 10 rushing offense, but some, if not a lot of credit, should go to Justin Fargas.
The Raiders had opportunities to add to this group and they still do, as Flozell Adams is a free agent and Marcus McNeil wants a trade from San Diego.
I doubt that the Raiders will add many more free agents or make any big-time trades with OTA's over and training camp only six weeks away. I guess we'll just have to hope and pray that this offensive line has improved over the offseason.
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