The Raiders offensive line continued it’s stellar play against the Tennessee Titans and with the injuries mounting on the Dallas Cowboys line, it’s not hyperbole to say that the Raiders might have the best line in the league.
Titans defensive coordinator, Dick Lebeau, is known for his innovative, aggressive blitzes and he blitzed the Raiders 17 times on 34 pass plays — only managing to get 11 pressures and one sack. This means that although Lebeau blitzed on half of all pass plays, the defense only managed to pressure Carr one third of the time and sack him once.
The above play is a great example of how well the Raiders pick up blitzes. The Titans brought five and attempted to cause confusion by looping a defensive tackle from the backside A to the frontside A, while slanting the end into B gap, and blitzing the nickel on the edge. The Raiders easily matched the Titians five rushers and gave Carr a nice pocket to throw the ball to — Richard ra a speed-out to where the rush came from. This shows that Coach Mike Tice and Bill Musgraves are doing a good job of preparing their players for opposing blitzes and giving them a good plan of action for how to deal with them. Carr’s recognition of where the blitz came from and throwing “hot” show his grasp of the game.
In addition to doing a great job of protecting Carr, the offensive line has bullied opponents on the ground. The Raiders currently are ranked number two in rushing.
It’s pretty amazing to think about considering how bad the Raiders were at running the ball last year. A big reason for the improvement of the running game is the addition of mauler, Kelechi Osemele. He recorded a whopping 14 pancakes in week one and really adds an edge that this line desperately needed.
Above, the Raiders are running an inside zone play. The key block was by guard (#76) Jon Feliciano on the defensive tackle. He didn’t get much movement but was aided by the running back faking one way and going the other. The back decided to run towards Osemele and that proved to be a smart decision as Osemele pancaked a defender, which opened up a huge running lane. Richard was able to burst into the secondary with some steam and take it to the house.
If it’s one thing that they have to cut down on, it’s the penalties. In week three, the line committed four crucial penalties including a hold that caused a touchdown to be called back.
The offensive line’s dominance is more impressive when you consider how many injuries is has had to deal with.
In week 1, the Raiders were down to their last offensive lineman and in week 3, they had a guard play right tackle for most of the game. The unit is playing well and a lot of the credit has to go to Reggie Mckenzie for making the line a priority in the last few seasons and Mike Tice for preparing the line every week.
When you consider how well the Raiders line protects, run blocks, and the depth, it’s not farfetched to think that they are best line in the league.