Oakland Raiders Versus The AFC West: Offensive Line

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Nov 30, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; General view of the line of scrimmage as Oakland Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski (61) snaps the ball to quarterback Derek Carr (4) against the St. Louis Rams at Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There seems to be a common belief – or at least a media driven narrative – that the Oakland Raiders had one of the worst offensive lines in the league last season. And certainly, given the state of Oakland’s running game in 2014, it’s easy to pin the blame on the group for not being able to blow open holes for the running backs. But things are seldom that black and white in this league and perception is quite often, not reality.

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A solid offensive line is one of the biggest keys for any offense, whether they’re in Oakland, Dallas, New York, or Miami. Without solid run and pass protection, your offense is going to be stuck in the mud. After all, you can’t gain yards when your running backs are getting drilled in the backfield, and your quarterback can’t make a play when he’s flat on his black. Thought it’s often overlooked, the offensive line is critical to a team’s success.

This offseason has seen some incredible turmoil among the offensive line for a number of teams. The Broncos’ offensive line was one of the team’s biggest strengths in 2014, but looks to be one of the team’s biggest liabilities this season. San Diego had a decent offensive line in 2014, but offseason upgrades have made it a force to be reckoned with.

With injuries and free agent departures, the strength of the AFC West offensive lines have fluctuated, and in some cases, flip flopped entirely this offseason. Some will be better than expected, while others will be worse. But who will be what?

In previous articles, we’ve explored how the Raiders stack up against their AFC West rivals at the RUNNING BACK and the WIDE RECEIVER positions. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the offensive lines. In this piece of the series, we will take a look at how Oakland stacks up against their division foes.

Next: A Mile High Letdown