Turnover along the offensive line has hampered the Las Vegas Raiders in previous years, particularly more so during the 2022 season when they were learning how to play in Josh McDaniels’ system.
The Raiders have featured young and inexperienced players up front, but this time around, things are different as the team’s got more continuity. Las Vegas has most of their 2022 starting group returning for 2023, a positive development considering what they’re going to be up against when the season starts.
McDaniels has been impressed with the group so far during OTAs and believes they’ve improved considerably compared to last season via Levi Edwards of Raiders.com.
“I think they know more as a group,” McDaniels said Tuesday of the offensive linemen. “If you talk to them, a lot of the guys are returning, so they have an ability. … Improvement doesn’t necessarily come through acquisition. Our jobs as coaches are to improve the players each day.
“I think as a unit, as a group, those guys – their communication has improved. Their overall understanding of what’s being asked of them has improved. They work like crazy, so we couldn’t ask anything more than what we’re getting from them in that regard. So, love their attitude, love their mindset. I think we’re doing the same thing, because offensive linemen fortunately or unfortunately don’t get to necessarily work beside the same guy every rep all season long.”
McDaniels added that the players have gotten a better understanding of each other which should help their collective play on the field:
“[T]hey’re learning their teammates, they’re getting comfortable communicating with one another, which is an important aspect of this time of the year,” said McDaniels. “And hopefully, all of them are growing.”
Returners such as Kolton Miller, Brandon Parker and Andre James look poised for a better season while the Raiders work in free agents and undrafted rookies who could end up being valuable depth pieces. Las Vegas also should have high hopes for Dylan Parham and Thayer Munford Jr., who are entering their second year in the league and should benefit from another offseason training with the team.
The Silver and Black have their work cut out for them in 2023 as the AFC West continues to get better, but with some cohesiveness up front coupled with improved play from the rest of the roster, there’s no reason why they can’t go out and compete with the best on a weekly basis.