Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/1/12

 

The Oakland Raiders offensive line will play a huge role is the success of the Raiders in 2012. Last season the team finished seventh in the NFL in rushing at 131.9 yards per game and that was without a healthy Darren McFadden for the majority of the season. As they enter training camp on July 30th, the guard position has two starters set and a few players battling to make the roster.

 

When the Raiders signed guard Mike Brisiel as a free agent this offseason, he was brought in to start at right guard and that remains the plan. With his 47 career starts for the Houston Texans in the past five years, the six year veteran brings experience and knowledge of the zone blocking scheme to the Raiders. When Brisiel came on board, Cooper Carlisle, who was released then resigned to a one year deal, moved to the left guard spot. The 12 year veteran has made 117 career starts and has started all but one game for the Raiders in the last five seasons.

“He’s done a great job,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said of Carlisle's move to the left side. “It’s the same plays; he’s just got to put his other hand down on the ground. That’s the way we look at it. He’s done a good job. He’s a true professional and that is what has allowed him to last so long in this league and I would expect him to keep battling and competing and he’ll have a chance to help us out this year.”

With Brisiel and Carlisle penciled in as the starters, it leaves some competition for depth. Alex Parsons has the versatility and skills to provide depth at both center and guard, which makes him a likely candidate to make the team. Along with Parsons, third round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft Tony Bergstrom will make the roster as a back-up with the chance to impress the coaching staff during training camp and preseason games. The 6-5, 315 pound rookie is a converted college tackle, who will slide inside for the Raiders. Despite his lack of experience, the rookie has impressed the coaching staff with his ability to to play both guard positions.

“Yes, we’ve moved him around a little bit and given him a chance to play both sides,” Allen said of Bergstrom. “I think when you look at the National Football League you have to be multiple and guys are going to have to play multiple positions so when you go into a game on Sunday generally you’re going to bring seven offensive linemen into the game. So you’re going to bring an inside-swing guy that has the ability to play guard and center and maybe play right and left guard.”

The Raiders kept nine offensive linemen on the final 53 man roster last season. Therefore Brisiel, Carlisle, Parsons, and Bergstrom will likely be the players able to play guard on the roster, with Parsons also backing up center Stefen Wisniewski. That leaves four spots for tackles and likely means undrafted free agent Lucas Nix is a prime candidate for the practice squad. Nix is a rookie out of Pitt, who signed with the Raiders after not being selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. The 6-5, 315 pound guard was thought of as a possible late round pick, with the size, strength, and ability to play in the NFL.

 

 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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