What a great photo of the Las Vegas Raiders offensive linemen posing with Richie Incognito after his retirement press conference. Let’s take a closer look at this unit following his retirement.
O-line love for @68INCOGNITO's retirement ðŸ´â€â˜ ï¸ pic.twitter.com/Wt2u2UboR5
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) July 15, 2022
O-linemen are the definition of brothers
Offensive linemen are like a team of sled dogs out in the Alaskan/Canadian Wild. They function in unison; they all know their assigned places, roles, and jobs. So much so, they line up in formation instinctually. Football is a young man’s game, and the young men on this offensive line are going to be a formidable obstacle for defenses.
If I were a betting man, it would appear to me that the offensive line is set from right to left. Brandon Parker looks incredible. Parker has been steadily improving his play and physique. Parker impressed general manager Dave Ziegler and head coach Josh McDaniels enough to keep him around, or else he wouldn’t be here. With some coaching, he could be a worthwhile investment.
Lester Cotton Sr., has continuity with the rest of the offensive line. Right guard is one of the most contested position on the roster. But, with Denzelle Good on the PUP list, and Parham’s inexperience, Cotton is ready to be the guy. By his own accord, the game slowed down for him midseason in 2021.
Andre James has been hitting the weights and has positive gains to show for it. Many remember James taking his lumps early last season. Few give him the credit for turning it around that he deserves. James made great strides in being the lead dog and elevated his play significantly over the course of last season.
Welcome to the Raiders’ left side
The biggest surprise, however, appears to be a return to the right side for Alex Leatherwood. He was a left tackle and guard in his time at Alabama. Moving Leatherwood back to the outside where he was most comfortable makes too much sense after finishing last year at right guard. In the passing game, more natural footwork (comfort) may aid Leatherwood with proper technique and appease his holding issue.
Kolton Miller is the star of this offensive line. He is the biggest guy and the best of the bunch. This season, he should get some Pro Bowl consideration. Together, he and Leatherwood form a powerful run-blocking tandem.
It’s important to note that this is just a picture. No coach signed off on this, no play was called. This could all have been a simple coincidence. In fact, the line could end up being something completely different.
However, when taking a closer look at it, that grouping is the best five guys the Raiders have. They play in positions that are comfortable and natural for them. But, if it is the starting offensive line, good things are on the horizon.
*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal