Oakland Raiders Still Have Moves To Make To Build "Bully"

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst ISeptember 15, 2011

Oakland Raiders Still Have Moves To Make To Build "Bully"

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    Just as we all knew they would, the Oakland Raiders were able to get by the Denver Broncos on opening week. As I knew, all the supposed weakness on the team based on the preseason weren't all there.

    But they are going to have to do something and do something soon about the offensive line. The Broncos aren't the biggest, most physical team in the middle on defense, yet the power-blocking plays didn't work for the Raiders in the first half.

    Star running back Darren McFadden was able to get loose on draws and plays to the outside at that point. Simply pounding the ball up the middle with Samson Satele, an undersized center and Cooper Carlisle, an undersized, guard didn't work.

    Carlisle was actually pancaked on a play ran in his gap then to Hue Jackson's credit, he adapted. He pulled out the old Tom Cable zone-running plays where Satele and Carlisle could cut block, being who they are.

    Head coach Hue Jackson has promised Raider Nation a "bully" as "bullies" do what they want to whoever they want. The Raiders aren't built to run the ball at whoever, however they want to at this time. 

    Quentin Groves acquitted himself well Monday night, and I think the run defense is going to be fine. The Raiders need only get healthy at the receiver position for them and Campbell to get the passing game going.

    The Raiders' pass defense looked solid too so there isn't a lot the Raiders need.

    Turn the page to see what the Raiders do need.

Bruce Campbell to Right Tackle

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    Preseason All-Pro Stephon Heyer and Khalif Barnes seem to not be able to do anything but false start these days. Barnes isn't much of a run blocker either, as on one play, he was blown back by a Bronco then run over by McFadden.

    That's not a good look for a bully and certainly doesn't make up for the yards he costs the Raiders in penalties. Bruce Campbell looked good this preseason at guard and looks like he's ready for some action.

    He most certainly had to learn leverage in run blocking at guard and has length and athleticism for pass blocking. This combination makes him the perfect candidate to take over the right tackle spot.

    He and Jared Veldheer would make the best young tackle combo in the league.

    I know Raider owner Al Davis wants to see Campbell on the field so what's the problem?

    Campbell wasn't active for the Bronco game so he must still be having trouble with that knee. 

    The move needs to be made as soon as Campbell is ready.

Left Guard: Bring Back Langston Walker

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    The Raiders have done this before with Langston Walker, and the results were good. They actually brought Walker in even later in the season, and he did a great job of replacing an injured Robert Gallery in 2009.

    What I don't understand is how the Raiders didn't keep the 6'8", 365-pound walker at guard. They could have easily moved him to the right side and played him there over the undersized Carlisle.

    Instead, he was used as a right tackle and abused by opposing defensive ends. He already knows the Raiders playbook so there would be no learning period so this makes perfect sense.

    The Raiders could then get a push from the right guard position.

Right Guard: Sign Leonard Davis

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    At 6'6", 370 pounds, Leonard Davis is another huge mauler that Jackson can build his "bully" with. The Dallas Cowboys were way over the salary cap so Davis' salary was no longer a fit, leading to his release.

    The acquisition of Davis would give the Raiders another veteran presence on the offensive as well as physicality. The combined weight of the guards would be 735 pounds as opposed to 610 pounds it is now.

    Now, you have a push at the left and right guards.

Another Option at Guard: Vince Manuwai

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    Vince Manuwai tore a tendon in his foot last year so he was unable to run and get in shape this offseason. The result was Manuwai going to camp out of shape, leading to the Jacksonville Jaguars cutting him.

    That was on July 29th so Manuwai has had plenty of time to get himself in some kind of shape by now. Remember, he was the main cog in the offensive line that led to so much of Maurice Jones-Drew's success.

    At 6'2", 333 pounds and strong as H-E double hockey sticks, Manuwai fits the "bully" plan.

Another Option at Guard: Ray Feinga

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    The first three guys are in their 30s and will pretty much be stop-gap type of players. If the Raiders want a younger man to grow with the youngsters they already have on the offensive line, Ray Feinga is a good option.

    NFL Network reported that the Miami Dolphins released Feinga last week, making him available. If you think about it, Feinga is the type of under the radar lineman the Raiders have always loved.

    He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Rams in 2009 and cut shortly thereafter. Feinga was given another shot right after with the San Diego Chargers but only made it until the final cut.

    In 2010, he went to the Miami Dolphins where he made the practice squad and eventually made the roster. They really seemed to like Feinga as Dolphins' head coach Tony Sparano said, "Ray's starting to develop nicely. This guy is athletic and he's got some strength. I like the things that he's done."

    http://blogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports_football_dolphins/2010/10/nfl-suspends-former-miami-dolphins-guard-ray-feinga.html

    Then he went had a good preseason in 2011 but was cut to make room for running back Larry Johnson. The Raiders should at least take a look here because the next step up for Feinga is starting and contributing.

    It would be nice to raise him with Veldheer, Wisniewski and Campbell.

Wisniewski to Center

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    Once the Raiders find their guards, Wisniewski can go back to center, the position he was drafted for. It's funny to hear people say that Satele beat Wisniewski out at the position because Wisniewski is now at guard.

    Remember, Jackson said Wisniewski was "unbelieveable" in camp and during the preseason at center. What happened is the Raiders needed a guard because Daniel Loper had a horrible camp and was later cut.

    Now can you see Satele playing guard?

    That's what I thought!

    Satele is small for a center so playing him at guard isn't really much of an option. He did play well against the Broncos, but the Broncos don't have the size up front that the Patriots, Jets and other elite teams have.

    The Broncos run a 4-3 so there was nothing to expose Satele like the 2010 Steeler game anyway. The Raiders play the Patriots and Jets in back to back in Weeks 3 and 4 this year so the move should be made soon. 

    The Raiders will not "bully" anyone outside their division with the middle of the offensive line as is.

Overview

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    I love the look of the Raiders' defense as it has the word "bully" written all over it. Groves looks to have strengthened the Raiders weak link at linebacker in his second year at the position.

    Therefore, I'm looking for a much improved run defense while the pass defense still has it after Asomugha's departure. The pass rush looks like the Raiders could get away with worse corners than they have now.

    McFadden looks like he's going to bust out this year along with closer and clock killer Michael Bush. Veldheer looks to be taking that next step up for quarterback Jason Campbell to have all day to throw.

    This looks like a team with no weakness!

    Wait!

    Sorry, the right tackle position gives up more yards than it helps the offense gain. The middle of an offensive line is the main place you "bully" a team, and the Raiders don't have "bully material there.

    Please address it Hue and Al!

    The Raiders will go far if you do.