If there is one thing we know about the Oakland Raiders this season, it’s they will try and run the football.
Greg Olson has made it perfectly clear he is going to try and re-establish the power running game which made Darren McFadden so effective as a running back in the earlier part of his career.
Of course, the running game puts a lot of pressure on the offensive line which remains a major weakness of the Raiders. The line is young and inexperienced and showed last season it has a long way to go in creating holes for McFadden and protecting whoever is under center.
The one way to alleviate the problem is for Oakland to go out and sign a veteran lineman in the coming weeks. There are several experienced guards on the market, a position where Oakland has the least amount of experience. The Raiders could go after a tackle to add depth behind Khalif Barnes and Jared Veldheer, something Oakland struggled with last year when Barnes missed most of the first half of the season with an injury.
However, the left guard spot is the most concerning position on the field for the Raiders. Oakland has yet to re-sign Cooper Carlisle and it looks unlikely the two sides will come to an agreement. That means a converted offensive tackle or a second-year guard with no playing experience will likely occupy one of the guard spots. Oakland may move Mike Brisiel from the right side to the left, but it would still be concerning for Oakland to start such an inexperienced lineman when that is the most crucial position group for the offense to succeed.
I’m not confident Oakland will actually go out and look for another guard, but it would be wise for the Raiders to at least look for another option to open holes for McFadden.