Much like their rivals across the bay, the Oakland Raiders will be focused on the offensive line in week four of the NFL Preseason. Now, their starting unit hasn't performed nearly as badly as the maligned unit of the San Francisco 49ers, but opposing defenses have got their fair share of licks in, and that's led many to speculate on how the line will perform going forward. On top of that, many are speculating as to what the starting offensive line will actually consist of - coach Hue Jackson has yet to reveal what his definite o-line depth chart is.
Some players are deeply ingrained and virtually guaranteed spots regardless: rookie Stefen Wisniewski at one of the guard spots, and Samson Satele at center. Other guys may have solid odds as well, but most everything else is up in the air. The most questionable is Khalif Barnes at right tackle, who is playing poorly, while Stephon Heyer has been playing well in relief. If the line truly isn't set yet, it could take a strong performance from one and perhaps a weak performance for the other, but we might just see Heyer take the starting job. Keep an eye on Cooper Carlisle at right guard and the surging Bruce Campbell behind him, as well.
Beyond the offensive line, the Raiders will be looking for their defense to actually cover a wide receiver or two. It's not yet known how much the starters will be playing, but that secondary, and specifically Demarcus Van Dyke, looked abysmal against the Saints. Van Dyke in particular was abused by Drew Brees, and will need to bounce back in week for to hope for some significant playing time in 2011.
It sounds like a broken record here at SB Nation Bay Area, but the key to the game for the Seattle Seahawks? ... Offensive line play.
It's the story for the 49ers, the story for the Raiders, and the story for the team the Raiders are going up against this week. Seattle's line has been, in a word, abysmal. Nobody looks good at this point, and the rookies are struggling mightily. Something has to change, whether it be a change of personnel or a change of attitude, but they're just not getting it. Tavaris Jackson has no time to throw and the running backs are working on their own. They're looking for more out of their wide receivers, but what can receivers do when the quarterback doesn't have time to get the ball off?
Essentially nothing. Maybe they'll get more time to show their stuff if they play a good bit in week four, with the Raiders inconsistent pass rush to deal with. The game is set for Friday