The topic of the Las Vegas Raiders offensive line has been one of the most contested debates. Head coach Jon Gruden briefly reflected on the state of the unit with training camp opening up.
It was only the first day of training camp for the Silver and Black but there was plenty of noise as Gruden took the podium yesterday. This past offseason, fans witnessed as the team’s o-line was completely revamped in favor of a more athletic unit. The decision surely wasn’t an easy one considering the level of talent that was lost. The most notable loss being Pro Bowl center, Rodney Hudson. While the goal is for the Raiders to get their run game going again, Gruden noted that the decision was also due to financial restraints. These restraints stemming from a lowered salary cap, forcing the Raiders to make certain ‘financial decisions.’
Optimism is in the air for Gruden and the Raiders
Regardless, Gruden appears to be confident in his offensive line with camp now officially underway. There are definitely some bright spots, the biggest is left tackle, Kolton Miller. Big things are expected from Miller given his growth each year since he was drafted in 2018. Maybe this is the year that Miller earns himself a Pro Bowl nod? Gruden did make it clear that extending him this offseason was important. He didn’t mince words when he acknowledged the expensive going rate for extensions as far as left tackles go.
Gruden is also stoked about their 2021 first-round choice and new right tackle, Alex Leatherwood.
“We love Leatherwood. We loved him at Alabama. He’s off to a great start, he’s gotta back it up and we’re gonna try and help him. I have no doubt about him as a football player.”
Of course, we’d expect Gruden to be excited about Leatherwood. Stating otherwise about his first-round pick would be concerning. Leatherwood will be under pressure from the outset but he’ll have offensive line coach Tom Cable to bring him along in his NFL transition. Losing players like Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Trent Brown will hurt in the early going, but at this point, fans can only hope that this younger unit can re-establish the Raiders’ o-line dominance that became the norm these past few years.
You May Also Like: Raiders 2021 Season Outlook: QB Derek Carr
*Top Photo: Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post