Raiders Offense Will Go As Far As O-Line Takes Them

The changes the Oakland Raiders made in the offseason have gotten a lot of attention from the media and fans.

They traded for quarterback Jason Campbell, ditched Jamarcus Russell, completely re-tooled the defensive front seven, and hired a new offensive coordinator in Hue Jackson.

But the Raiders offensive line remained rather stagnant, and it deserves major scrutiny.

All five current starters on the line were with the team last season. Two mid-round draft picks, two free-agent rookies, a second year free agent, and one veteran back up were added to the roster.

None of those players are expected to be plugged into the lineup for the season opener. They are here to provide depth, or are talented projects who will most likely need some time before they are ready to start.

Last season the Raiders finished 21st in rushing yards gained, and allowed the third most sacks in the NFL. That's a bad combo. Though no Russell should help bring the sack total down.

Most offenses go as far as their offensive line takes them. Only one playoff team from 2009 finished in the bottom half of the league in both rushing yards and sacks allowed. That team was the first-round knockout, Philadelphia Eagles.

The Raiders certainly lack the offensive weapons the 2009 Eagles had, and definitely didn't pressure the QB or force turnovers like them.

It's great to have a new quarterback who can complete almost 65 percent of his passes, and who has had his completion percentage increase each of the past three seasons. The Raiders haven't had a QB start all 16 games and complete over 60 percent of his passes since Rich Gannon in 2002.

But if he can't stay upright, it will be hard for him to complete many passes. Campbell had to deal with poor protection in Washington, which affected his accuracy on down field throws, and it may follow him here.

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