Whats Changed From Last Year
Alex Bars, who started 14 games as right guard for the Raiders in 2022, didn’t approach training camp with the mindset of fighting for his roster spot. In fact, the 27-year-old seemed confident in his ability to play a significant role in the upcoming 2023 season.
During an interview with reporters in early August, Bars expressed his focus on improving and refining his skills during training camp. He emphasized the importance of using the opportunity to address any weaknesses from the previous year and continue to grow as a player.
However, things took an unexpected turn for Bars as the weeks progressed. He lost his starting position to Greg Van Roten, and suddenly found himself searching for a new team after being a key player in the previous season.
To be fair to the Raiders, the decision to release Bars was part of the inevitable cutdown day process, where teams have to make tough choices due to roster limitations. But Bars was not a player who barely saw the field in the previous season. He accumulated over 850 snaps for the Raiders, even though his performance may not have been exceptional, with five sacks allowed according to PFF. Regardless, Bars could have provided valuable experience and depth, and stability to the team’s offensive line. Which was ranked 11th last year by off.
Enter Greg Van Roten
Van Roten was retained as now has a firm grasp on the starting right guard position, potentially replacing Alex Bars as the 2022 starter, but was the right choice made? In their game against the Bills, Las Vegas managed 15 carries for a total of 55 yards, resulting in an average of 3.7 yards per rush. It’s worth noting that a significant portion of these yards came from a 34-yard jet sweep by Tre Tucker and 22 yards gained by Zamir White in garbage time. However, when we exclude those particular runs, the offense only gained negative one yard on 10 rushing attempts. It’s worth highlighting that this occurred against a team that had surrendered 172 rushing yards in the previous week. This has been an alarming trend. To keep things In context about how bad the running game has been Jacobs had a particularly challenging game, as he recorded a career-low of negative two yards rushing. He faced considerable difficulties finding running lanes throughout the game. To provide some context, Pro Football Focus (PFF) credited Jacobs with gaining 11 yards after initial contact, indicating that he consistently had to fight just to reach the line of scrimmage. This can be seen as an indictment on the offensive line, which struggled to create sufficient gaps for Jacobs to exploit.
The Run Blocking Has Been a Disaster!
The Raiders’ run-blocking performance has been subpar in the first two weeks of the season, as indicated by their 20th rank in Pro Football Focus’ run-blocking grade, which currently stands at 58.7. The grade may even seem generous considering the struggles the offensive line has faced in creating opportunities for the running game.
Is Van Roten The Reason?
While Van Roten had a solid performance in pass protection, earning a top-five grade among guards, his run-blocking struggles were evident. His 49.9 run-blocking grade was the lowest among the Raiders’ starting offensive linemen and ranked in the bottom 20 among all guards in the league. He faced difficulties getting pushed into the backfield on several plays, which was disappointing considering the revenge factor of playing against his former team, the Bills. Instead of showcasing his abilities and proving the Bills wrong for letting him go, Van Roten struggled against his old teammates and confirmed their decision. For the Raiders’ offense to improve and score more than 17 points in the upcoming weeks, they will need someone to step up in the running game, particularly a guard on the offensive line. Last year the Raiders running attack was home to the league-leading rusher. After the addition of Alex Bars. In context, he was one of PPF’s worst-rated linemen as a whole which is odd.
Alex Bars. Grade: 42.2 Is He Really Better?
While Pro Football Focus gave Alex Bars a grade of 42.2, it’s important to note that the Raiders’ offensive line seemed to improve when he entered the starting lineup. This suggests that Bars may not necessarily fit the description of a bad offensive lineman. The Raiders, who have a good understanding of what a poor offensive lineman looks like, have seemingly found value in Bars. Thus, it raises some questions about the accuracy of Pro Football Focus grade in this particular case.
Strong Running =Success For Jimmy G
Jimmy Garoppolo’s record with the Niners is 39-18 since he’s been with the team. Also, he has a 40-17 career record as a starter. Keep in mind that Garoppolo missed 31 regular-season games due to injuries in his six seasons with the 49ers, suffering three season-ending injuries (2018, 2020, 2022) many would say garoppolo’s success is directly tied to having a strong rushing also a key to keeping him upright.
Will The RAIDERS Run Game Rebound?
Heading into a game with the reigning NFL rushing leader, there’s an expectation that
Josh McDaniels should serve up a huge quantity of Josh Jacobs.The question is what happens if the Raiders cannot get the ground attack going this week? the only answer is to replace Van Voten with Mumford. Even tho it seems Mumford is the Right tackle in waiting for interesting times in Las Vegas needless to say the Raiders have some tough choices ahead if the rushing attack stays stagnant.If there is any rust leftover look for it to be knocked off this week against the Steelers’ rush defense near the bottom of the league and missing this defensive anchor in Cam Hayward in the middle look for Josh Jacobs and Mcdaniels to rebound and have a successful home opener.