Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Week Ten

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Nov 15, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Vikings defeated the Raiders 30-14. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Struggle To Hold The Line

When Rodney Hudson, Oakland’s prized free agent center, went down with a sprained ankle against Pittsburgh, all of the Raider Nation held their collective breaths. Hudson is the centerpiece on Oakland’s revamped offensive line and he is its linchpin.

Not only that, Hudson’s backup is the much maligned Tony Bergstrom which left all everybody feeling more than just a little bit antsy.

While Bergstrom certainly overachieved a bit against the Vikings – meaning, he wasn’t quite the liability everybody believed he’d be – he certainly wasn’t a dominating force, either. He gave up a few hurries and didn’t do much to blow open holes for the run game – which made Musgrave’s decision to continue running straight behind him all the more inexplicable.

But the struggles of the line weren’t limited to just Bergstrom. Carr was flushed out of a collapsing pocket on a number of occasions. The Raiders struggled to generate anything in the run game with Latavius Murray gaining just 48 yards on 12 carries. Jamize Olawale added 24 yards on five carries.

Oakland went away from the run game a little bit since they were playing catch up all day long. But when they did run the ball, the line struggled to spring the running backs.

In terms of pass blocking, the line was just okay. They gave up a number of hurries and forced Carr to move around the pocket quite a bit. They also surrendered two sacks on the day after giving up just one over the previous three games.

Having Bergstrom filling in for Hudson wasn’t the disaster many thought it might be. But it’s also very clear that the unit functions better as a whole with Hudson, rather than Bergstrom, anchoring the line. Fans can only hope that Hudson is back in the lineup when Oakland takes on Detroit this weekend.

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