Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels has been conducting an endless experiment since the preseason. We’re talking about the consistent rotation of his offensive line. More than anything, it shows how much of a predicament the new coach is in. The team opted not to bring in any potential starting linemen in the offseason to help fill out the unit. Even after Alex Leatherwood was let go, no real significant veteran signings took place. Well, things got worse after Sunday when center Andre James had to go to the hospital following the matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers. For those that may not recall, James was slow to get back on his feet after the last offensive play of the night.
If his health is an issue now, the O-line could be spread dangerously thin.
Will the Raiders be without Andre James?
As of the time of this publication, the Raiders haven’t ruled out James for Sunday’s game with the Arizona Cardinals. We all know the seriousness surrounding concussions and the lengthy protocols involved. We’ll know sometime this week whether James is good to go. However, if a concussion ends up sidelining James, the Raiders could be in a tight spot.
As it stands, they would likely have to put rookie Dylan Parham in the center slot. Luckily for Josh McDaniels, Parham actually played a decent game on Sunday. In retrospect, Parham was the highest-graded rookie lineman according to Pro Football Focus. Both he and Lester Cotton Sr. held up the right side of the Raiders’ O-line not giving up a single pressure; meanwhile, Kolton Miller and John Simpson struggled throughout. It’s impressive considering the ferocity with which the Chargers’ pass-rush attacked Derek Carr.
Andre James is growing into his role
James ranked #3 among 34 Centers in pass-block rating (79.7). He allowed 0 sacks, 0 hits, and just 1 pressure against the Chargers
Get well soon ðŸ™ pic.twitter.com/ODNDK7r3bo
â€” RaiderRamble.comâ„¢ (@TheRaiderRamble) September 12, 2022
It’s an unfortunate circumstance when players lose their NFL job due to injury, and no, we’re not speculating on whether that’s the case with James. At the same time, if James can’t go, Parham might be plugged in and could give James a run for his money. It would be unlucky for the former UCLA Bruin, but the Raiders need a starting center. That’s even more regrettable when you look at James’s performance. He allowed zero sacks and hits: literally just one pressure on the night.
The decision to move on from Leatherwood so close to the season and not sign a reliable, proven veteran could prove costly. If at this point of the season, Las Vegas has to start recently signed center Billy Price, the Raiders could be in trouble. Keep it here at your favorite Raiders blog for more on James’s status.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images