Gallery Searches For Right Formula..

Angry Pope

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Gallery searches for right formula
The offensive tackle has struggled in the Raiders' first two exhibitions


By Steve Corkran

NAPA - It all sounded so easy and uneventful. People wouldn't even notice the change. Robert Gallery would move from right offensive tackle to left offensive tackle, smooth out any rough spots in the obscurity of offseason workouts and emerge a Pro Bowl player this season.

After all, Gallery said, he was moving to his "natural" position, the one he played in college, the one where he shined brightly enough for the Raiders to select him with the second pick in the NFL draft in 2004.

Raiders coach Art Shell stoked the flames by proclaiming this Gallery's breakout season.

"It's time for him to arrive as a Pro Bowl-type player," Shell said before training camp started, "and he's really accepted it very well. He looks like a natural over there."

Then came back-to-back exhibition games in which Gallery allowed a sack, committed a false-start penalty and, by his own admission, didn't play very well in either game.

Fortunately for the Raiders and Gallery, there is plenty of time for him to settle into his old/new position and develop into the player everyone expects him to be. The Raiders have three exhibition games remaining, starting Sunday against the visiting 49ers.

"I had some mistakes and haven't been myself the last couple of weeks," Gallery said. "But it is the preseason. I am going to get through this and be where I want to be and where everybody says I should be, too."

Ultimately, perhaps. For now, there's a lot of work that needs doing before Gallery approaches the Hall of Fame careers turned in by Shell and Raiders co-offensive line coach Jackie Slater.

"We got to work on the mechanics and the awareness of what's going on around him," Shell said. "I'm not worried about Robert. Robert's going to be fine."

That work is made more difficult, Gallery said, by the Raiders' employing different offensive line coaches each of Gallery's three seasons. Slater's arrival this season makes it four offensive line coaches in four years for Gallery, when Gallery's senior season at Iowa gets factored in.

"There are a lot of different things that I have been taught," Gallery said.

Sorting out those many instructions is "easy" in practice, Gallery said, "but when you get under fire in a game, you can sometimes revert to something you know from the past."

That's where Shell, Slater and co-offensive line coach Irv Eatman come in, longtime Raiders left offensive tackle Barry Sims said.

The trio of former offensive linemen has made revamping Oakland's offensive line a top priority. Gallery's successful conversion is viewed as the linchpin of the overhaul because part of his job entails protecting quarterbacks' blind sides.

Said, Sims, who's shifted to left guard this season: "It can be tough at times, but what (Shell's) teaching us is going to make us better ultimately. It's just breaking old habits, as far as technique and footwork. It will make us better. It's hard to do that, break old habits, so you just have to focus in and really concentrate on what you're doing."

That takes time, Gallery said. Certainly more than a slew of offseason workouts and training camp practices, as well as two exhibition games.

"You are away from something for two years and it takes a little bit to get back to where I was," Gallery said. "As easy as it may be to write and say how I should be able to get comfortable from Day 1, there are some things you got to do. It just takes time."
 
They make very good points regarding our offensive line coming together. The important thing is that they are all confident that the offensive line will be a strength.
 
Angry Pope said:
They make very good points regarding our offensive line coming together. The important thing is that they are all confident that the offensive line will be a strength.
We all thought that two years ago. What a huge disappolintment.

Maybe Sunday they'll break out and show us what we've been missing.
 
Waiting on Robert

August 19th, 2006
By Jerry McDonald

Robert Gallery doesn’t need to look any further than Alex Smith to see how quickly he can go from draft bust to potential star.

Smith, the No. 1 pick overall in the 2005 draft, had his share of detractors following a horrendous rookie season that had a great deal to do with his supporting cast.

Then came his preseason breakthrough against the Chicago Bears, and while that doesn’t make Smith the next Joe Montana, he isn’t looked at as the new Jim Druckenmiller, either.

Gallery, the No. 2 pick overall in the 2004 draft, has surrendered sacks and had a false start penalty in each of the first two games. The more reactionary segements of Raider Nation have already proclaimed him a bust.

Which he is. As of this moment.

Should Gallery bury a few 49ers Sunday night, wall off a potential pass rusher and avoid flinching before the snap, he will instead be on the right track, and hailed as just the man to deal with Shawne Merriman when the San Diego Chargers come to town Sept. 11.

Bust? You mean the one in Canton?

That’s life in the NFL, where instant gratification is a way of life.

Gallery’s intro to pro football has hardly been ideal. He has felt every tremor in what is the NFL’s most unstable organization.

A left tackle at Iowa, the Raiders immedately began tinkering with Gallery at guard. He even played there for a few snaps in his NFL debut.

Then when Pittsburgh’s Clark Haagans used Langston Walker as a set of starting blocks, Gallery became a right tackle _ where he played for two seasons.

Moving from the right side to the left might not seem like much. But on an ESPN show the other day, former NFL lineman Mark Schlereth was explaining how it’s like being right-handed and suddenly being told to be a left-hander. He was preaching patience with Gallery.

And this was Mark Schlereth _ an ex-Denver Bronco whose first impulse seems to be to dump on his former AFC West rivals and who seems to have a good time doing it.

To make things more complicated, Gallery hears more voices than a schizophrenic who can’t find his meds.

His position coach as a rookie was Aaron Kromer. Who gave way to Jim Colletto. Who gave way to Irv Eatman, Jackie Slater and Art Shell.

Shell said the Raiders have essentially told the Oakland lineman to forget everything they ever knew about blocking and re-learn things his way. So far, it’s been slow going _ not only for Gallery, but every member of the offensive line.

When Shell insists, “Robert will be fine, I’m not worried about Robert,'’ take note that he has not said the same thing about Walker on the other side.
 
Raiders' O-line strives to adjust
Players deal with new techniques and position shuffles.


By Jason Jones
Published 12:01 am PDT Sunday, August 20, 2006


NAPA -- Right to left, guard to tackle. Simple moves along the offensive line, right? There's a group that would emphatically say no.
Through two preseason games, the Raiders' offensive line has shown those moves are big deals.


Shaky play across the line has the unit thinking about its every step. As the season approaches, how well the line adjusts to new techniques will determine the offense's success.

Hall of Fame tackle Jackie Slater and former pro Irv Eatman coach the line. Head coach Art Shell, also a Hall of Fame tackle, meticulously watches the offensive line during practice, too.

One of the challenges has been implementing the new techniques and footwork Shell wants the linemen to use. He believes it will work because of his experience as the offensive line coach in Kansas City from 1995 to 1996.

"We were struggling early also that year," Shell said. "We started off in Seattle, and we ran the ball very well and ended up being No. 1 in rushing that year (1995). So it takes time. You just have to stay with them. You have to trust the technique."

A big focus is on aggressively firing out to knock back the defender as opposed to the drop step to move laterally and gain position.

"We don't want to waste an opportunity to capture ground," Slater said. "We don't want to lose ground to gain position on a guy. We want to capture ground right away."

The linemen are so conscious of proper technique, they sometimes think too much and botch a play.

Slater can empathize, noting he resisted when a new coach tried to change his technique during his stellar career.

But after listening to renowned offensive line coach Hudson Houck, who now is with the Miami Dolphins, Slater became a perennial Pro Bowl player.

"It's been a little bumpy here the last couple of weeks," center Jake Grove said. "But I think as we get more comfortable with the things we're being taught, we'll really begin to improve."

Another issue has been linemen in new positions. Grove is the only lineman playing in the same spot at which he saw time last season.

Current left guard Barry Sims was the left tackle last season. Robert Gallery, the second overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft, took Sims' spot after playing right tackle.

Langston Walker, now a right tackle, played left guard last season. Rookie Paul McQuistan played left tackle at Weber State but now is at right guard.

Guards have less room to work and deal with bigger players, so they must rely on leverage more than the tackles.

"I wouldn't say I've gotten completely used to it," McQuistan said. "But I'm getting more comfortable."

The most pressure is on Gallery, whom Shell cited as someone who needs to be at a Pro Bowl level.

Gallery was an All-America left tackle at Iowa and is becoming reacquainted with the left side, where he now faces better athletes after playing right tackle.

"You are away from something for two years, and it takes a little bit to get back to where I was," Gallery said. "As easy as it may be to write and say how I should be able to get comfortable from Day One … it just takes time."

If they get comfortable soon, no one will care how difficult moving a few feet to the left or right was.
 
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