The Raiders Could Set New Trend with Their Offensive Tackle Strategy
The Oakland Raiders could be on the verge of something innovative and strategically brilliant with the way they intend on using their two starting bookend offensive tackles. Head Coach Jon Gruden recently announced that they would be keeping their first-round pick from last year Kolton Miller, at 18th overall out of UCLA, at left tackle and will have their massive free agent signing Trent Brown who signed the most lucrative deal for an offensive lineman in NFL history start at right tackle.
Miller had a strong finish to his rookie season once he moved to the left side and has been receiving high praise from coaches and front office officials all offseason and has their utmost confidence heading into his second year.
Brown, who began his career at right tackle, wasn’t on the radar or held in high regard of a lot of league officials when he was traded from the San Francisco 49ers to the New England Patriots prior to last season but with a sensational season in a contract year as the blindside protector of future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. He was especially impressive during the postseason as the Patriots ran their way to their sixth Superbowl victory in franchise history, thanks in large part to the efforts of Brown who signed a four-year deal worth $66 million in March.
“We like that as a launching pad for us,” said Gruden to reporters. “Trent played very well at right tackle for San Francisco, he played left tackle very well for New England. That gives us some versatility. That gives us some versatility. That’s how we-re going to start the show.”
This is head scratching to a lot of football fans and media pundits at first glance, but this could prove to be a brilliant move and set a new trend in the league going forward. Traditionally, the best pass blocker, and certainly the highest paid, are the left tackles that protect the blindsides of their starting quarterbacks. This led to defenses lining up their best pass rushers across from the second-best tackles and sometimes not even the second-best blockers on opposing offensive lines.
With some of the league’s most ferocious edge rushers residing in the AFC West such as the newly acquired Frank Clark in Kansas City, Superbowl MVP Von Miller and sensational second-year pass rusher Bradley Chubb of the Denver Broncos and dynamic duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders new strategy could offer a creative retort that many teams could adopt if it proves effective in Oakland.