Now that the dust has cleared from the Hall of Fame Game, we can start dissecting some of the concerns regarding the Las Vegas Raiders. One sore spot from last week’s win was Brandon Parker, who struggled mightily.
Being that it was the preseason opener, prized left tackle Kolton Miller did not play against the Jacksonville Jaguars. His duties went to Parker for the beginning of this contest. Regrettably, it didn’t go well for the North Carolina A&T product. Parker was consistently outclassed by this year’s number one pick, Travon Walker. Several analysts and writers have already mentioned that Parker once again proved that he still cannot handle stunts. However, most were not all that surprised. All offseason, the Raiders were trying to sell their fans on the notion that Parker had improved and could be the team’s starting right tackle. After last week’s display, the Raiders could be on the fast track to a disaster if that’s still their plan.
When asked about Parker recently, head coach Josh McDaniels was careful with his words while still giving a fair assessment of his tackle’s struggles.
“A lot of guys have to play multiple positions. That can’t be part of the problem. A lot of guys played multiple spots last night because you have to have depth in the game somehow, some way. There were a few things that Brandon could do better. There were also some things we were trying to do offensively, but we didn’t execute very well. That didn’t have anything to do with Brandon.”
Can the Raiders still correct what’s wrong with Brandon Parker?
McDaniels pointed out that while Parker didn’t have his best game, the Raiders offense did struggle in other areas, which is to be expected in their first preseason game. Obviously, Parker won’t be playing a whole lot of left tackle this season. The Raiders’ coach also mentioned that versatility will still be key with this O-line, so that’s something to keep an eye on as preseason continues.
“There are a lot of times where our guys have had to play multiple positions. That’s just the nature of football. We had two or three guys yesterday play three spots. So, you evaluate what they do. The more things they can do across the line, the more value they provide to your team. You can’t go to the game and there’s not a backup for every guy on the offensive line. Somebody’s going to have to be ready to play multiple spots, and that somebody may be somebody who’s starting.”
All offseason, Raiders fans have been hearing the word versatility when it comes to the O-line. Parker, for his part, was expected to be the starting right tackle with Alex Leatherwood playing inside. However, Lester Cotton Sr. has been able to impress mightily, claiming the right guard slot in the process. Naturally, you’d assume Leatherwood would be moved back outside. Then again, Parker was essentially substituting for Miller, and in all likelihood, the team isn’t giving up on him yet. They still have Jermaine Eluemunor waiting in the wings, another candidate for the right tackle spot given his familiarity with McDaniels.
Regardless of Brandon Parker’s deficiencies last week, it appears that the Raiders’ head coach and his staff believe there’s still work to do. Not only that, but it’s been relatively quiet in terms of the team’s going after a tackle in free agency.
*Top Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports