Raiders' once dominant offensive line needs some help after down year

Raiders' once dominant offensive line needs some help after down year

INDIANAPOLIS – The Raiders signed offensive lineman Denzelle Good to a one-year contract extension, as the team announced Saturday morning.

Smart move.

The versatile veteran played well in three starts at right guard at last season’s end, growing quickly within the system after signing with the Raiders in Week 14.

He won’t play there permanently. Right guard is Gabe Jackson’s spot. Will be for years.

Good’s return addresses depth issues exposed last season, when a once-dominant offensive line fell on hard times.

The unit gave up 52 sacks, the highest total since Derek Carr became the Raiders' starting quarterback in 2014. It struggled against the run at times, limited what an already deficient unit could do offensively.

Center Rodney Hudson wasn’t a problem. He was as great as ever, possibly the Raiders best player regardless of position. Jackson and Kelechi Osemele struggled with injury. The flanks were suspect thanks to rookie tackles starting on the left and right.

One bad year, however, doesn’t necessitate a complete overhaul. Hudson is a lock at center, and Gabe Jackson will be back at right guard. The Raiders have great confidence in 2018 first-round pick Kolton Miller, who will return to left tackle. It’s not hyperbole to say the Raiders think he’ll be a Pro Bowler several times over despite his rookie struggles while battling through significant knee issues.

Last year’s third-round right tackle Brandon Parker was forced into action after Donald Penn landed on IR early, and struggled mightily at times. Growth is expected in his second year – he’s training with Jackson, and bulking up – but it’s no lock he’s able to be the consistent presence needed on the right.

The Raiders will look to add competition there through free agency or the draft, even with Donald Penn returning in his mid-30s. While he might go too high for the Raiders liking, the coaching staff liked Kansas State’s Dalton Risner at the Senior Bowl. He could be an option at the right spot, among several others in the draft.

Osemele has been dominant but makes roughly $10 million next season and can be cut without dead money attached, so there’s some mild uncertainty about his return even if it’s still expected.

“It was up and down a little bit, but he’s a starting left guard in the NFL,” Raiders GM Mike Mayock said. “There aren’t all that many guys in that category.”

The Raiders have a big decision to make regarding Jon Feliciano, a swing interior lineman who has been invaluable in recent seasons. He’s set for unrestricted free agency, and has proven a capable starter in this league.

[RELATED: Antonio Brown trade: Raiders' costs, benefits of pursuing wide receiver]

There could be competition for his services – he has put plenty of good work on film – and losing him would be a blow. Good could step into that role inside, though backup center would still be required.

The Raiders don’t need to completely retool the offensive line like several other position groups.

How Oakland Coliseum has been 'legendary' even for newest Raiders

How Oakland Coliseum has been 'legendary' even for newest Raiders

ALAMEDA -- You don't have to be Derek Carr, Jon Gruden or a Raiders legend to appreciate what the Coliseum has meant to the franchise. 

It was a state-of-the-art facility and helped legitimize the Raiders when they moved into the building in 1966. It has been the home of a number of memorable Raider moments and has served as a second home for the legion of fans who pack it on fall Sundays to make life hell on the opposition. 

It no longer is state-of-the-art. It has a myriad of issues and the Raiders are waving goodbye after Sunday's game against the Jaguars, as the franchise relocates to Las Vegas in 2020. 

Most of the current Raiders haven't had many moments at all in the Coliseum. Only six current Raiders have been with the franchise for more than three seasons, with Carr and guard Gabe Jackson being the longest-tenured Raiders. Both were drafted in 2014. 

But even those who have only donned the silver and black for a short period of time know how important Sunday's farewell is. 

"It'll be exciting, I'm really looking forward to it," guard Richie Incognito, who only has played four games in the Coliseum, said after the Raiders' Week 14 loss to the Titans. "I got a bunch of family coming in to experience it. We're new to Oakland but the fans are awesome. They were rocking today, they were loud. I think next week will be a special moment for everybody involved." 

Last year was Daryl Worley's first season in Oakland. The Coliseum goodbye that wasn't a season ago didn't really impact him. 

But things have changed after spending another season with the Silver and Black. 

"Hopefully, it's going to be for real this time," Worley said of saying farewell a second time to the Coliseum. "It's definitely going to be emotional. Last year when I was here on a one-year thing, you just don't get the full feel. But coming back Year 2, just seeing what it means to Raider Nation, it's definitely a lot more emotional. 

"You really get to see -- around the town, around the entire Bay Area -- I mean there are two teams out here but it kinda seems that Raider Nation, they always have that fan base that is strong and passionate about everything that's going on with the players. It's going to be tough to leave a place like this even though going on to Vegas, I don't think this fan base will waver at all. 

"It's an amazing place," Worley continued. "For it to be an outdoor stadium, you would think that it's indoors the way that it rocks. Between the Black Hole to the costumes, it's definitely a legendary experience."

[RELATED: Raiders describe what it's like to jump into Black Hole]

The Raiders come in riding a three-game losing streak. While snapping that run of Ls is important, especially if the team has any hope of a miracle playoff push, it means more for the Raiders to give the Nation one more W in the house of loud. 

"It's definitely a big motivation and we feel like we owe it to everyone here," Worley said.

Doug Marrone, Jaguars preparing for Raiders in emotional Oakland finale

Doug Marrone, Jaguars preparing for Raiders in emotional Oakland finale

ALAMEDA -- Sunday won't be an ordinary Week 15 game between two teams that have dropped out of playoff contention. 

The Oakland Coliseum will be rocking, as those who bleed silver and black say their final farewell to the Raiders when they take on the 4-9 Jacksonville Jaguars. Most of the young Jaguars haven't played in the Coliseum, but head coach Doug Marrone is well aware of what his scuffling team will face Sunday afternoon. 

"Absolutely. I think that, we kind of polled today, we don’t have a lot of players that have played at Oakland and we tried to give them a sense of ... and when I say crazy atmosphere, I mean that in a very positive sense," Marrone said on a conference call with Bay Area media Wednesday. "We talked about the locker room and we’ve talked about it. I think it will be an emotional day for a lot of people there and I had a good relationship with Mr. [Al] Davis. When I was the head coach at Syracuse, we’d meet every year and there will be a lot of emotion knowing that finally, I know last year they went through it a little bit, but the finality of it being the last game for sure." 

Marrone was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders out of Davis' alma mater Syracuse in 1986. He didn't make the 53-man roster and never donned the silver and black inside the Coliseum. Despite never being a Raider, Marrone had a good relationship with late owner Al Davis and came to the Coliseum as an offensive line coach for the New York Jets in the early 2000s. 

Even for Marrone, it will be weird for the Raiders to no longer call the Coliseum home. 

"When I was with the Jets and we would go out there, we’d always warm-up and I had the offensive line with me and I had a bunch of veteran guys who we’d warm up in the one corner of the end zone and for some reason, there was one guy, he was all over me," Marrone said recalling his time as a visitor in the Coliseum. "Like he was killing me, not the players, me. And the players would come up to me and go, ‘Coach, you going to take that (expletive) from that guy? Like, if he did that (expletive) to me, I would go up in the stands. You need to go up in the stands, you need to confront that.’ And I’d be like, ‘Shut the hell up, would you? We’re just going to go ahead and play.’

"But I just remember those times and the playoff game up there when I was in New York and just how crazy it can be and it’s a special place. I remember going up there back in the day and you look over at pregame warmup and Mr. Davis would be down on the sideline. A lot of the old Raiders would be there and so I think for me there will be a point I think, ‘Wow! I can’t believe the Oakland Raiders are moving.’”

[RELATED: Raiders describe what it's like to jump into Black Hole]

After three consecutive losses, the Raiders no longer find themselves in the playoff hunt. There will be no playoff goodbye for the hallowed grounds that hold so many Raider memories. 

Jon Gruden, Derek Carr and these Raiders have but one more chance to give those who love the Raiders so dearly a final memory of a building and franchise that means so much to them. 

That's bad news for Marrone and the Jags.