The Las Vegas Raiders are just days away from hosting a 1-3-1 Houston Texans team as they look to start turning things around. As any well-informed fan knows, it all starts in the trenches on Sunday. So, how are the offensive lines looking for Josh McDaniels and Lovie Smith ahead of Texans vs. Raiders?
The Texans’ offense is off to a rough start, no doubt about it. Ahead of Week 7, Smith’s offense is literally dead last right now. Having the 32nd ranked offense is far from an honor; the Texans have only managed a meager five touchdowns through the air. The running offense isn’t any better, they’ve only punched it in three times on the ground. Interestingly enough, Pro Football Focus ranked the Texans’ O-line 14th, which is up two spots.
As far as what Sam Monson had to say about this unit, he spotlighted left tackle Laremy Tunsil and rookie guard Kenyon Guard. On a side note, Monson states that Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby has been on a tear, but the rest of the Raiders’ pass rush has been nonexistent.
“Rookie Kenyon Green has allowed 12 pressures in five games, the most on the team. Tunsil is approaching something like his best form. He has earned an overall PFF grade of 80.9 and has allowed just four pressures on the season.”
Texans vs. Raiders: PFF Buries Las Vegas’s O-Line
The Raiders have had some bright spots with regard to their unit. The run-blocking has really ramped up, leading to Josh Jacobs’ hot start. That was especially true for Andre James after returning from a concussion. The biggest revelation has been rookie Dylan Parham according to Monson.
“Rookie Dylan Parham has played at least 60 snaps in three different positions along the interior of the Raiders’ line this season. Alex Bars has run and pass-blocking grades below 50.0 on the season.”
Sunday’s matchup is pivotal for the Raiders. If they lose, they’ll be 1-5, which would in all likelihood kill their playoff hopes. The question is, can McDaniels’ offensive line come out and dominate? The combination used in the last couple of games has certainly helped the Raiders establish their identity on the ground. It would make sense to keep this going if you’re the Raiders. Meanwhile, Smith’s offense isn’t going to suddenly become elite. They’re averaging just 4.3 yards per carry, and the way that the Raiders’ run defense has been playing, you’d expect similar struggles for them. Sunday can’t come soon enough.
*Top Photo: ESPN/Raiders