A fourth round draft choice was given up for the up-and-down center Samson Satele in a trade over a year ago, which was supposed to bring a quality center to Oakland from Miami.
Samson Satele is undersized. Although he is quick, and can get to the second level, he and his wing-man Cooper Carlisle (starting right guard) don't have a few traits that are truly needed as an interior linemen: toughness, strength, and consistency.
Satele's poor pre-season showing against Dallas (where he let defenders blow right past him it seemed) is not the only time he has looked bad. And if you were paying attention, you would have also noticed that Carlisle had problems as well.
Satele has never been able to take on big body 3-4 nose tackles. It was the reason why he was shipped out of Miami. The Raiders face A LOT of 3-4 teams this year.
Going into this season, the Raiders and Tom Cable cannot afford to put a backup center out on the field to start. If Bruce Campbell were ready I'd day start him over Carlisle, but that isn't the case.
The Raiders can possibly roll the dice one more time with Carlisle as a starter this season, but they cannot afford to have a center out there that is going to get Jason Campbell killed. No way to get your new quarterback to progress and bring some life to this offense if he's going to be running for his life all the time.
If the Raiders take a chance on Kevin Mawae (it's not too late, and don't be surprised if they do), which would obviously be a one year deal, it could mean more than an above average starter to anchor their line; they'd have more leadership from within, as well as a proven vet who can help bring along guys like rookie Jared Veldheer who look to make an impact in 2011 if not this season.
Mawae has reportedly ruffled some feathers around the league and may have spoken strongly at times in regards to the new CBA (he is the NFLPA President) or about his "safe" roster spot in Tennessee, but that has nothing to do with filling a hole on an NFL roster.
For the Raiders, that's a gaping hole. If you put Mawae at the center of the Raiders offensive line, you'll at least get better play from him than you'd get from Satele or backup Chris Morris. With a struggling passing game and the desire to run the football, this shouldn't be a thing to think about for Cable, it should be done soon before someone gives Mawae a call.
Last year I called for the Raiders to sign Greg Ellis to assure some better pass rush. Stop-gap or not, it was definitely much needed at the time.
Going from 10th overall rushing in 2008 to 21st overall in 2009 didn't help the Raiders much last year, and with one new starter in Langston Walker, does Cable and company expect much better results?
Let's see if the Raiders can score here, because they won't be able to do that too much with No. 64 starting. The Raiders need Kevin Mawae.
Get it done, Raiders.