Raiders line needs to step up for offense to shine

Brandon Parker started 13 games for the Raiders at right tackle last season.

The Raiders enter the 2022 season with an enviable group of skill position players, led by receivers Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow along with tight end Darren Waller and running back Josh Jacobs.

But that group won’t be able to get untracked unless the offensive line does its job. That group lost a lot of leadership with the retirements of Denzelle Good and Richie Incognito, even though both were injured most of last season.

Brandon Parker started 13 games for the Raiders at right tackle last season.

On the other hand, the injuries gave some other players a chance to step u and gain experience. 

Tackle Brandon Parker was one of those players. He took over the right tackle position, but even that experience doesn’t mean he’s pencilled in to that job this season.

“I’m literally competing every rep I get,” he said. “He told us it’s outright competition. We got [Alex] Leatherwood, myself, Jermaine [Eluemunor], Jackson [Barton]. We got a lot of good guys that could do it as well. When they put me there, they put me there, but as for right now, I just do the best I can.”

Parker is entering his fifth season with the Raiders, who drafted him in the third round in the 2018 draft out of North Carolina A&T. He’s made 32 starts in his career, but 13 of those came last season.

“As you know, kind of took a lot of lumps my rookie year,” Parker said. “My second year, I didn’t play a lot. Played when I was needed. Third year, kind of the same thing. Just kind of learning behind the guys who were ahead of  me. And then when it was my turn, using what they taught me and trying to just be the best that I can for my team.”

Starting left tackle Kolton Miller feels this year’s team will make a lot of strides, with the development of Alex Leatherwood and Dylan Parham.

“Dylan and Alex, of course they don’t talk a whole lot,” Miller said. “They’re just more like they get in and grind every day. You can really tell with the focus, the demeanor that they bring. They come to work each day.”

Miller said the unit needs to be focused to avoid the types of mistakes that can cost the team.

“We want to eliminate self-inflicted penalties,” he said. “So, we try to really focus in for our own accountability. If we have an issue, then we take a lap. We don’t say anything, it’s just next man up. We don’t stop practice and we just got to hold each other to a higher standard. So, that’s how we’re trying to execute that.”