The Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive line got off to a rough start in Week 1 versus the Los Angeles Chargers. To make matters worse, the Raiders lost center Andre James to a concussion on the final offensive play of the game. On the left side of the O-line, Kolton Miller and John Simpson also struggled against the Chargers’ pass rush. How bad was it? So bad that Pro Football Focus named Simpson the group’s weakest unit.
For what it’s worth, Sam Monson of PFF actually moved the Raiders up one spot to number 28 as he surveyed all 32 NFL O-lines.
“There’s a potentially viable starting five somewhere on the Raiders’ depth chart, but they don’t seem to have quite stumbled upon the combination yet. The team used seven linemen against the Chargers, with rookie Dylan Parham earning playing time at guard and fellow rookie Thayer Munford working in at right tackle. Parham, in particular, played well and has an excellent college resume. If the Raiders turn to him as the full-time starter at right guard, they could climb the rankings quickly.”
Raiders Blog: Is John Simpson worthy of such a label?
Get John Simpson outta here
— CJ Errickson (@CJE_NFL) September 11, 2022
Like most Raiders fans, PFF has been extra harsh in their assessment of the Silver and Black this year. However, when you look back at the tape, Simpson was simply outclassed for most of the game. In handing out their grades for the Raiders’ unit, Simpson received an overall grade of 50.3, even lower than Thayer Munford’s 50.8.
Even if you don’t care for PFF grades (which many in Raider Nation do), Simpson’s struggles were pretty self-evident. All game long, he provided little to no help to Miller. At this point, one has to wonder if a change might’ve been in order. Regrettably, possibly losing James for Sunday puts head coach Josh McDaniels in a bind. With Parham having to play center in a very plausible scenario, well, that means Simpson isn’t going anywhere. After consistently getting tossed around by the Chargers, fans can only hope he’ll improve enough to withstand the onslaught of the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive tackles in Week 2. The Raiders’ O-line as a whole will need to tidy things up. Their pass protection was shaken early last Sunday, and considering how blitz-heavy the Cardinals are, it could be another long day.
*Top Photo: Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sports Wire