Offensive Line Woes Stalling Raiders Turnaround

The Oakland Raiders enter the bye week with a 2-4 record. With rock-bottom expectations coming into the season, the Raiders have been a mild surprise. They have a young, exciting starting quarterback in Terrelle Pryor, and that alone has made a huge difference.

Oakland's defense has also been better than expected considering rookie cornerback D.J. Hayden and rookie linebacker Sio Moore have struggled. The defense has been playing without strong safety Tyvon Branch for several weeks, one of the two starters that remain from 2012's defensive unit.

The biggest problem for the Raiders continues to be the offensive line. With better blocking, the Raiders might be 3-3 or 4-2 right now. It's been the putrid offensive line that is really stalling Oakland's turnaround.

In defense of the team, there's not much they could have done differently considering all the injuries. Teams don't like to make excuses publicly about injuries because they are part of the game, but the Raiders were down to their last five healthy linemen at the end of last week.

Those linemen were Khalif Barnes, Lucas Nix, Mike Brisiel, Lamar Mady and Matt McCants. You know it's rough when your left tackle hadn't started a game on that side since 2008 before this season, your left guard is a first-year starter, your right guard is forced into emergency duty as the team's center and the right side of the line was recently signed from the practice squad. 

If you do the math, Oakland's projected starters at the beginning of training camp have only played 32.9 percent of the team's snaps at their projected positions. That's assuming Brisiel would have won the job at right guard, which was very much in question.

Add Nix at left guard as a projected starter and it bumps up to 12.8 percent. Add Barnes starting at left tackle instead of right tackle and it bumps up 20 ...

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