Robert Gallery, entering his seventh NFL season, happens to be the second biggest Raiders bust in the last decade.
He was a bust—as a left tackle.
When he made the move to left guard three seasons ago, he thrived.
Is it any coincidence that the Raiders finished in the Top 10 in rushing in both the 2007 and 2008 seasons, but failed to even finish in the Top 20 when Gallery missed ten games?
I decided to look even further in the statistics.
In the six games Gallery played in, the rushing totals went like this:
Week One: 148 (vs. San Diego)
Week Two: 64 (@ Kansas City)
Week: 10: 182 ( vs. Kansas City)
Week 11: 92 (vs. Cincinnati)
Week: 12: 124 (@ Dallas)
Week 13: 109 (@ Pittsburgh)
Keep in mind that the only subpar performance came when Gallery was playing hurt in Week Two. Also, the Raiders managed two 100 yard performances against two top five rushing defenses (Cowboys, Steelers).
When Gallery was lost for the season, the affect was noticeable. I didn't count weeks three through nine, because it's not fair when you have to run with eight men in the box almost every single time.
The Raiders managed only one (@ Denver) game where they topped 100 yards.
What makes Gallery so good?
His size and strength is a big key into opening holes. Being one of the bigger guards in the NFL, when he gets his hands on you, the defensive tackle or MLB is pretty much done.
Let's profile a play in Week 10 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Raiders were aligned in the I formation with Zach Miller in motion to the left.
Gallery was lined up right across former first round pick Glenn Dorsey.
Gallery completely overpowered Dorsey, using his long arms to latch on to Dorsey. He went on to create a huge hole for Michael Bush to run through. (It's worth noting that Mario Henderson didn't have a shabby block on this play either).
Bush runs straight through, only having to break one tackle, as he runs for a sixty yard gain.
If Gallery can stay healthy, he will be a big part in the revival of the running game and passing game. Remember, he only gave up one sack last year.
If you look at the highlight gallery, no one can say he is a bust at left guard.