Robert Gallery...

Angry Pope

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Feb 2, 2006
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Here is an article on Mountain...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Left is right for Gallery

Ex-Hawk moves back to his left-side home

By Andy Hamilton

The Oakland Raiders gave Robert Gallery a contract two years ago worth up to $60 million to be their long-term solution at left tackle. But they never offered him a concrete explanation for why they promptly sent him to the opposite end of the line.

The Raiders kept veteran Barry Sims at left tackle while giving the former Iowa star a crash course in learning a new league, a new system and a new position. They made the Outland Trophy winner their starting right tackle in 2004 -- a change that may seem subtle on the surface, but one Gallery equates to suddenly having to learn how to write with the opposite hand.

"You learn a skill a certain way, and it's easier to do that," Gallery said Wednesday while serving as an instructor at the Training with Nate Kaeding Youth Camp at West High. "You're playing right tackle and everything is opposite. You train your muscles a different way; your dominant hand is the other hand; you do something long enough, and it becomes pretty easy to you, and it's hard to change that."

The Raiders are moving Gallery again, and perhaps no one is more excited about the decision than the second overall pick in the 2004 draft.

Art Shell returned to Oakland as the head coach, and one of his first moves was switching Sims to left guard and moving Gallery back to the position where he became a dominant college lineman.

"I think it's better suited for me and obviously the new staff does too, so I'm excited about it," Gallery said. "I know that's where I'm going to play my best football."

That's why Shell made the move. He told Pro Football Weekly last month that the Raider realignment is designed to put his best players in a position where they feel most comfortable and can excel.

That's comforting for Gallery, whose critics have started to wonder if the can't miss tackle isn't such a sure thing after all while some pondered whether he was simply playing the wrong position.

"He's still a big son of a gun," said Miami Dolphins defensive end Matt Roth, who went head-to-head with Gallery during practice in college and spent nearly 20 snaps battling his former teammate during a 33-21 victory against the Raiders this past season. "He got the best of me a couple times. ... Gallery's still a good player and will be a great player. He's still strong as an ox. There really wasn't any difference to me."

Gallery characterized his first two seasons in the NFL as "a learning experience."

"There's been ups and downs," he said. "I've learned a lot. Obviously, I wasn't playing where I thought I'd be best fit, but that's what they needed at the time, and it is what it is. I'm not going to dwell on that. I learned a lot, and it can only go up from here. We struggled as a team, and that never helps when you don't win games."

The Raiders still haven't won as many games in Gallery's two years as Iowa did in his senior season with the Hawkeyes. Oakland went 5-11 in 2004 and 4-12 last year, leading to the firing of coach Norv Turner and the hiring of Shell.

Gallery shouldn't lack instruction with the Raiders. He'll be tutored by Shell and co-offensive line coach Jackie Slater, a pair of Hall of Fame offensive tackles.

"As far as offensive line play, I have two of the best coaches out there," Gallery said. "As far as the attitude coach Shell has brought in, he was a Raider and he wants to get it back to where it was when he was playing. He wants to get that mystique back, and he's going to do everything in his power to do that. I think that's helping our team. He's making a lot of changes, brought a different attitude of kind of what the Raiders have had in the past."
Gallery's thoughts on Moss...I highlighted the part...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sanders surprises himself with his NFL performance

By Andy Hamilton and Pat Harty
Iowa City Press-Citizen

Bob Sanders built a reputation with his speed and high-impact hitting, but even he didn't expect to be such a big hit this fast in the NFL.

With barely more than a full season's worth of game experience with the Indianapolis Colts, Sanders already is an All-Pro, one of the rising stars in the NFL and one of the game's hardest hitters.

And perhaps nobody is more surprised than the former Iowa safety.

"I thought it would take me a little longer to get adjusted and acclimated to the speed of the game and everything like that," Sanders said. "But once I got in there, it all became second nature. It happened so fast, though."

Sanders had his rookie season cut short in 2004 by a foot injury that prevented him from being ready for the early portion of the year. The 5-foot-8, 206-pound safety played in 14 games this past season, collecting 91 tackles, filling highlight reels with teeth-rattling hits and helping change the complexion of a Colts defense that went from average to one of the league's best in the span of a year.

"I'm not surprised one bit," said Philadelphia Eagles safety Sean Considine, who started alongside Sanders in the secondary with the Hawkeyes. "I love going into the locker room and bragging up Bob. I tell everybody that Bob Sanders is the best football player that I've ever played with. When I told people that a year or two ago, they all wanted to say, 'Well, he's too small.' Now look. He's a Pro Bowl player. It doesn't surprise me one bit."

Sanders is in town this week to help with the Training with Nate Kaeding Youth Camp at West High -- a camp for ages 7 through 14 that specializes in football, basketball and soccer instruction.

Sanders recalled Wednesday how track and wrestling helped enhance his football skills.

"I think a lot of my wrestling comes into play when I'm making a tackle," he said. "When you take a single-leg takedown, you're going hard and you're going real low. So all that stuff comes into play. Track helps you out with speed, and it helps you learn how to run properly. Doing all those different things helped me with football."

So did meeting the late Joe Moore.

Moore was the mentor for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, and he also coached Sanders at Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep High School. He convinced Ferentz to spend a scholarship on Sanders, whose only other offer was from Ohio University.

"He meant the world to me (with) just everything he did for me," Sanders said. "If it weren't for him I would not be in this situation right now. I would never see myself being able to accomplish all the things I've accomplished. He put me into a great situation by introducing me to coach Ferentz and coach Ferentz trusted his word and gave me a chance.

"To me, I look back and say it's a blessing that he came into my life. He's like an angel to me because he helped me get to the point where I am now."

• MISTER MISUNDERSTOOD: Some may have considered Randy Moss to be a problem during his time with the Minnesota Vikings. But former Hawkeye Robert Gallery has nothing but good things to say about the time he has spent with Moss with the Oakland Raiders.

"He's a good guy," Gallery said. "I think the media blew it out of proportion in Minnesota. I couldn't say a bad thing about the guy. He's all business when it comes to football. He didn't miss a day or a rep in camp last year. He's in it to win it. He's a competitor, and he's been good for our team. He's called guys out and gotten them to step up to the next level. I think he's one of our team leaders. He keeps everybody motivated, keeps it fun and he wants to win."

• LIFE WITHOUT T.O: Considine is eager to move on after spending his rookie season filled with distractions caused by the Terrell Owens controversy.

Considine is a reserve safety for the Eagles, whose 2005 season was marred by Owens' public criticism of quarterback Donavan McNabb. Owens was suspended by the Eagles and eventually released from the team. He now plays for the Dallas Cowboys.

"It'll be nice just to get back to a team where all the guys like each other and get along," Considine said. "We're all there just trying to be team players and have fun and win ball games."
Gallery: I think the man is very happy to be at LT.

No matter what Rupert says, it's not that easy switching sides. Ask Gallery! ;)
This also means that the excuses are over. Time to play like a top 5 LT in my opinion.
RaiderIVlife said:
This also means that the excuses are over. Time to play like a top 5 LT in my opinion.
Pretty much. Gotta put up or shut up now. I'm looking forward to seeing if this guy was worth the number two pick in the enirte draft. With his attitude he might just turn this thing around in no time. Let's hope so.
CrossBones said:
Pretty much. Gotta put up or shut up now. I'm looking forward to seeing if this guy was worth the number two pick in the enirte draft. With his attitude he might just turn this thing around in no time. Let's hope so.

Good point Bones. I've (we) have criticized his performance on the field quite a bit, but he does seem to have the right attitude, didn't complain publicly about being moved to RT, has been very resectful towards Barry Sims and is NOT a fat body. You know that is one of my pet peeves.

Of all the players to watch during the preseason, I think I'm most interested in watching Gallery. I really hope the Raider coaching staff decides to play the starting O-line well into the 2nd QTR, or longer, during the first few preseason games. This line has been completely re-shuffled and needs as many reps as possible IMO.

I'd be VERY happy to be proven wrong about Robert Gallery.....
You know, I'm not sure why he was bashed so harshly as a RT. He was rarely beaten. Of course, when he was, it looked very bad, but he didn't get beaten that often.

Let's look at a couple other points: is he really trying to get us to believe that he won't false start as often because he's on the left side? or is he suggesting that he'll hold less often because he's on the left side?

Sure moving to the left he should be able to man-handle the traditionally "smaller" RDE's, but even if he isn't wrong-footed as often as he was on the right side, he will be facing faster guys, so I think that is generally a wash. Moving him to the left might prevent him looking so bad when he's beaten, and maybe his more comfortable footwork will help him have better leverage against the pass rush so he can actually deliver a solid blow.

Hey, if it works, Art's a genius, if it doesn't Gallery sucks. Right?
Some words from Gallery...

Hawks vs. Hawks in NFL becoming a common sight

Published: 07/15/2006 10:40 PM
By: Marc Morehouse

IOWA CITY, IA - It's not pretty. The familiar faces line up across from each other. They bash heads.

We're talking Hawkeye-on-Hawkeye violence.

With the number of Iowa Hawkeyes growing in the National Football League, it's a growing problem and it won't go away anytime soon.

Nearly 50 Hawkeyes have made it to NFL camps during Kirk Ferentz's seven seasons as head coach. Iowa isn't the NFL pipeline that Ohio State and Miami (Fla.) are, but Hawkeye on Hawkeye is becoming almost unavoidable on NFL Sundays.

"It's funny," said Robert Gallery, offensive lineman for the Oakland Raiders. "I'll get up there and everyone's all serious. I'll look up, see a familiar face and start laughing."

The Raiders hosted the Miami Dolphins last November. That put Gallery, the '03 Outland Trophy winner at Iowa, against Matt Roth, an all-Big Ten sack artist for the Hawkeyes from 2002-04.

"It was funny to see him across from me. He's still a big monster," Roth said. "It was fun. No trash talk. We know each other so well. I think both teams were pretty frustrated by that point."

The same can't be said for Gallery's first meeting with Jared Clauss, an Iowa defensive tackle from 2000-03. Clauss is in his third season as a defensive lineman for the Tennessee Titans.

The two lined up across from each other during their rookie seasons in '04. They met on field goal duty.

"I remember the first thing he said," Clauss said. "He's out there when the ball's ready to be snapped, talking to me, telling me I'm not going to get through and telling me this and that. It was fun. The refs had a laugh with it, too."

Philadelphia Eagles safety Sean Considine, an all-Big Ten performer at Iowa in 2004, surprised former Iowa and Northern Iowa cornerback Benny Sapp on week 4 last season.

"I was on punt return. He didn't know I was playing in the game," Considine said. "I came out there, he lined up across from me and you should've seen the look in his eyes. He looked up and yelled, 'Considine, what are you doing?' He couldn't believe it."

Former Iowa linebackers Chad Greenway (Minnesota Vikings) and Abdul Hodge (Green Bay Packers) will face each other twice this season and will likely bump heads on special teams.

Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Jonathan Babineaux, all-Big Ten in '04, will most definitely run into all-Big Ten guard Eric Steinbach when the Falcons travel to Cincinnati on Oct. 29. Considine will cover all-American tight end Dallas Clark when the Eagles face the Indianapolis Colts in the RCA Dome Nov. 26. Clark will try to block Roth when the Dolphins meet the Colts on Dec. 31.

If he sticks as a free agent, defensive back Jovon Johnson will likely be trying to block a Nate Kaeding field goal when the Steelers and Chargers meet Oct. 8. But Johnson would first have to make his way around former Iowa defensive end Derreck Robinson, one of only two undrafted free agents to earn a spot on San Diego's 53-man roster last season.

Between guard Mike Jones, tight end Scott Chandler, quarterback Drew Tate and kicker Kyle Schlicher, the Hawkeyes will probably ship a few more to the NFL next season.

"I think it shows they've gotten in the groove," Clauss said. "They've gotten to the point where it's not rebuilding, it's reloading.

"Every year there are guys, because of the coaching they've received, who are capable of taking it to the next level. It's been a slow process, but it's gotten to the point where every year you're going to see quality players come out of Iowa. It's a good thing."

A school's track record with putting players in the NFL is becoming an effective recruiting tool.

Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis openly talks about his four Super Bowl rings and 15 years experience as an NFL assistant coach. When Weis was hired at Notre Dame in 2004, he said he'd use his NFL experience to woo recruits.

"It's a good thing," Considine said. "It's good for the university, it's good for the program. The more guys get in there, the more guys will do well. They're going to be able to use that for recruiting and they probably should."

Roth credited the overall attitude Iowa coaches put out, with the focus on work ethic and attention to detail.

"Anyone who's from Iowa knows how to work hard," Roth said. "They know how to prepare themselves. That's half the battle, the ability to work hard and just keep learning. Iowa breeds tough kids to play."

Right now, more linemen from the Ferentz era are in the NFL than skill players. But Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders, a three-time all-Big Ten pick at Iowa, said the Hawkeyes are working on it.

"The skill guys are coming," Sanders said. "I think more receivers and DBs will be moving into the league and that'll be a good thing for Iowa. Recruiting-wise, guys are going to want to come here because guys at their position are moving into the NFL.

"I think as long as we continue to recruit well, more and more guys are going to make it."

There is an etiquette to this.

These guys might've played together for four years in college and, in some cases, might've roomed together. Heck, they might've been best men in each other's weddings. But they can't be all buddy-buddy when they're wearing different colors on an NFL Sunday.

They're very conscious of that.

"It's not friendly during the game. It's still going hard and all that," Gallery said. "You can't catch up with them or act too friendly when you've got a ballgame to play. After the game, it's fun talking to them, seeing a friendly face and an Iowa guy you know.

"It's fun to go against an Iowa guy. We're everywhere."
Ha Ha - I'm updating all of AP's old threads

This is from my hometown paper - ray's not bad for a small market sports writer.

Stuck in a Gallery of disappointment: Raiders o-lineman has one more shot to prove he's not a bust

Ray Aspuria/The Times-Standard

My how the times have drastically changed.

From standing in front of a crowd on the podium and holding a mock jersey after his name was called with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft, Robert Gallery was supposed to be the answer.

The Iowa grad stood at an imposing 6-feet, 7-inches and weighed in at 325 pounds. He had the size, speed and power -- the integral ingredients of a man-beast.

Proudly praised as the next big thing at the offensive tackle position and the best prospect coming out of school that year, Oakland made Gallery their man and were commended on the pick.

Hailed as the next Orlando Pace and Jonathan Ogden, it seemed the Raiders had solved their offensive line woes with one swift move.

This is a guy who didn't allow a single sack his final 36 games for Iowa.

Three years later Oakland is still waiting and wondering what the hell happened?

Gallery has gone from the “can't miss prospect” to “this guy was really drafted?”

His tenure in the Silver and Black thus far is a bleak comparison to his days in a Hawkeye uni.

Gone is the vicious mauler who would terrorize any defender in his way.

Fast forward to the present and what do you have?

In many eyes a lukewarm and paperweight bust.

Instead of an immovable steam roller, Gallery has been as effective as the guy who gets picked last for a game of pickup basketball.

It's a sad state of affairs to say the least.

What was once a promising career seems to have traveled its course.

But I'm not writing Gallery off -- yet.


New offensive line coach Tom Cable.

Cable has all the credentials needed for a respected o-line boss.

Under his direction, UCLA and the Atlanta Falcons had a very stout offense. His linemen paved the way for running backs who reached the century mark.

He also brings a pitbull-like mentality when teaching his players how to block, something that was missing last year in Oakland.

But the biggest thing he will bring to Oakland is the zone blocking scheme which includes the effective yet despised technique of cut-blocking.

How does this all pertain to Mr. Gallery?

Cable's scheme is the same system run in Iowa that made Gallery the No. 2 pick.

Keep this in mind, Gallery has gone through three different o-line coaches translating into three different systems.

He's never had a stable style of blocking to thrive on, constantly changing his technique every year he's been in the league, yet it's still no excuse for his lack of execution.

However, returning to the style that brought him to the dance can only help.

Gallery wasn't coached to be a stationary plug like he was last season.

Throughout his Iowa career Gallery was always on the move using his massive wingspan to trap defenders and provide either a shield for the quarterback or an escort for a tail back.

And from the looks of it, Cable is installing that type of system.

Gallery has been granted another reprieve, a chance to return to his former self.

But this is his last shot.

If he doesn't even marginally improve, then sorry to say, he will be labeled a complete and disappointing bust.

Extra points: Ronald Curry is currently locked in as a starter at wide receiver. One word comes into mind -- finally. Oakland's best weapon last season now gets a chance to see the field regularly instead of being stuck behind Alvis Whitted... Strong safety Michael Huff is taking snaps at free safety during organized team activities while last year's starter Stuart Schweigert man's the rover spot... Free agent Donovan Darius, formerly of the Jaguars, visited Oakland today and left without a contract in hand. Perhaps a hint to Schweigert to step up his play...

Ray Aspuria is a sportswriter. You can reach him evenings at 441-0526 or [email protected]
This also means that the excuses are over. Time to play like a top 5 LT in my opinion.

Reprising my take heading into last season. Now he has Tom Cable and a scheme more suited to his skill set. It would certainly be nice to have him develop into the OT that can protect at least one side of the field for our 60 million dollar investment at QB.
Gallery was more than decent at RT before his horrible last season at LT under the three amigo's offensive line staff. I expect Gallery to silence the critic's this year an finally take off. He has flahed the ability to dominate and he has the speed and athleticism. He also seems to have a good work ethic. He looked lost and confused last season and I really think a guy like Newberry is going to help him in that dept. Newberry will bring a toughness and professionalism to this team we havent had on the O-line since Linc and Whiz.
I cant blame last year's performance soley on RG. Everyone looked like creamed shit. The worst part of last season was not being able to even properly evaluate the players, the coaching was that bad. I am being a homer here on this one, and most likely this is wishful thinking, but i think Rob is going to lock down that LT spot finally.
I too am confident that Gallery will be starting at one of the tackle spots.
A story about Langston Walker but it talks about our offensive line when he was here...take it for what it is worth...

Bills Tackle Langston Walker an Underrated Addition

By Brian G
Posted on Thu Jul 05, 2007

Walker has a great opportunity as the Bills' RT

This has been an off-season in Buffalo where the Bills decided to focus its energies on improving the offensive line. The signings of Derrick Dockery, Langston Walker and Jason Whittle went a long way toward achieving that goal. Obviously those signings came at the expense of some of Buffalo's biggest players; namely Nate Clements, Takeo Spikes, London Fletcher and Willis McGahee. Many great NFL teams have been built in a similar fashion (from the lines out), so it's hard to argue with this logic. Yet many experts question these signings, especially when it comes to Langston Walker.

A closer look at Walker's situation, his statistics and how he'll be utilized in Buffalo indicates that any criticism he's received may not have substance to it. Here's a closer look at Langston Walker and his true value to the Buffalo Bills:

An Unfair Situation in Oakland

Most critics of the 6'8", 366-pound Walker point to last year's "offense" in Oakland as the main reason that the Bills should not have spent $25 million to acquire his services. The latest critic of Walker is Connor Byrne, who says that the 10.75 sacks Walker allowed does nothing to help shore up Buffalo's pass protection. Walker was a part of an absolutely atrocious unit in Oakland that surrendered more than 70 sacks last season in what was a historically bad year for Oakland. But that does not come close to telling the whole story.

Walker was part of an offensive unit that was dominant in the early part of this decade, when the Raiders were an AFC power. Walker even has a Super Bowl start under his belt, where his Raiders lost to the Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. Since those "glory" years, the Raiders' offense has steadily gotten worse. Kerry Collins could not help the situation, nor could the additions of Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan. It got so bad last year that Oakland was by leaps and bounds the worst offense in the league - yet Walker's play hasn't deteriorated much.

Walker is blamed for a lot of the sacking problems in Oakland last year, but a lot of that issue goes both ways. Quarterback Andrew Walter is among the worst in the league both overall and when it comes to avoiding the pass rush and holding onto the ball too long. This is a problem for both parties, as it makes holding off a pass rush virtually impossible. Walker enters an offense in Buffalo where the name of the game is getting the ball out quick. While J.P. Losman is still susceptible to holding onto the ball too long occasionally, he's nowhere near as bad as Walter was about it.

Keep in mind also that Walker was not forced out of Oakland because of his poor play; a clause in his contract was exercised by Walker himself, releasing him from the final year of his Raiders contract. It's likely that had he not chosen to do this, he'd still be the starting right tackle in Oakland. That speaks a little bit to how the Raiders viewed him, despite his "poor" reputation.

A Dominant Run Blocker

As I mentioned in this post a month ago today, statistics provided by Football Outsiders indicate that Walker was one of the best run blockers in the NFL last season, despite Oakland's offensive blunders. The Raiders were the 29th-ranked rushing offense in the NFL last season, gaining just 94.9 yards per game (as compared to Buffalo's 97 yards per game). Yet on runs to the right side (again according to Football Outsiders), the Raiders ranked ninth in the league, far ahead of the Bills' ranking of 27. Oakland's rush problems came on runs up the middle, where they ranked 30th in the league. Their run problems correspond directly to play calling: the Raiders ran up the middle 46% of the time, while running behind Walker to right tackle just 16% of the time. Walker isn't to blame for Oakland's anemic rush offense; he was, in fact, the lone bright spot.

Loads of Potential

By no means is Langston Walker an elite offensive lineman. He has a lot of question marks, specifically in pass protection, where he has taken on a bad reputation but is still largely unproven. He also is sort of the "odd man out" on Buffalo's line, where he is by far the biggest player and seems a questionable-at-best fit for Jim McNally's zone blocking scheme that requires athleticism more than size.

But to claim that Walker was an overrated, overpaid addition based simply on his years in Oakland is a terrible and unfair misconception. Langston Walker was, in fact, one of the bright spots on an otherwise dull offense last season. He enjoyed a successful career with the Raiders and was part of a Super Bowl squad. He has what it takes to be an above-average starter in this league. A coaching staff change, a change of scenery and a much better supporting cast will help Walker go a long way toward proving his doubters wrong.
I will place this here since they also mention the offensive line....

Movers and shakers

There was no shortage of happenings in the AFC West this offseason

By Trent Modglin

July 5, 2007

It’s that time of year again, when even the secretaries for the team trainers are on vacation in NFL offices. The calm before the storm that is training camp and the start of a grueling new season later this month.

So with little news being made, I decided to run down the AFC West to address what each team did in the offseason, its biggest concern and what it’ll take to make a move up the ranks.

Denver Broncos

Biggest offseason moves: Where do we start? Sending QB Jake Plummer packing? Acquiring RB Travis Henry, CB Dré Bly or DT Sam Adams? Drafting nearly an entirely new defensive line? The Broncos’ offseason was both tragic, with the passing of CB Darrent Williams and RB Damien Nash, and eventful, with several areas of need addressed with an open pocketbook or a trio of draft picks. Don’t forget these words: With all the Broncos did to improve this offseason, it might be the hiring of defensive coordinator Jim Bates that helps the most.

Biggest concerns: Though they should be able to overcome his departure in terms of on-field performance, there will be a leadership void on the defensive side of the ball with MLB Al Wilson gone. Also, is QB Jay Cutler ready for prime time after just five starts? He’s got the poise and the skills, but the learning curve is steep in pro football.

It can all come together if… OLT Matt Lepsis returns to full strength following the torn ACL that sidelined him last year. … the new-look defensive line comes together quickly and can create more havoc. … the young rifleman Cutler continues the progress he showed in five starts as a rookie, takes care of the ball better and is ready to make the next step.

Kansas City Chiefs

Biggest offseason moves: The signing of versatile LB Donnie Edwards was huge, but the delayed trade of veteran QB Trent Green, the leader of the offense the past six years, takes precedence here. It’s clear the Chiefs are making a move to the future at a lot of positions, but it remains to be seen how much the Chiefs will miss Green’s presence and whether Brodie Croyle is ready to be handed the reins.

Biggest concerns: Uh, Larry Johnson’s threat of a holdout because he doesn’t have a new contract yet would probably take the cake here, being he’s the centerpiece of everything they do. The talk is positive surrounding an offensive line that figures to have two new starters in OLT Damion McIntosh and ORT Chris Terry, but last year wasn’t pretty up front, and until we see improvement on the field, the talk is cheap. Is the young safety tandem of Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard capable of a full-time role?

It can all come together if… Johnson is content before Week One. … the Chiefs can withstand the four-game suspension of DE Jared Allen to start the season. … rookies like Turk McBride and Tank Tyler can contribute out of the gate on the D-line and make a difference that is sorely needed. … the offensive line forgets about last year and picks it up a couple notches. … the quarterback, whether it’s Croyle or Damon Huard, keeps defenses honest and doesn’t get rattled in the face of the pressure he will see from Denver, San Diego and Oakland.

Oakland Raiders

Biggest offseason moves: A combination of hiring 32-year-old Lane Kiffin to (hopefully) make Raider Nation relevant again and shipping malcontent WR Randy Moss to New England for Tom Brady to play with. In Kiffin, the Raiders envision more discipline, more energy and more creativity, and the team has taken well to him so far. Moss needed to be dealt, and although they’ll miss his playmaking potential, he made it abundantly clear he didn’t want to be there, which hurt team chemistry and helped divide a locker room last year.

Biggest concerns: How about an offensive line that surrendered 72 sacks a year ago, or perhaps the offense in general? Oakland scored only 12 offensive touchdowns you know. That’s not going to win you many ballgames. There also is the unknown heading into camp surrounding the QB position. Is JaMarcus Russell ready to be thrown to the wolves? Can Josh McCown handle a full-time starting role against the quality defenses in the division? Turnovers and mistakes can prove costly in arguably the NFL’s best division, and Oakland has had its share of miscues of late. And we can’t forget: Is Kiffin ready, or will there be some major bumps in the road as he takes on the task seemingly few others wanted.

It can all come together if… there is less predictability on offense, which is expected under Kiffin. … the reshaped offensive line shows some continuity under the new coaching regime. … a young and promising defense continues to improve and generate a more steady pass rush. … we see more steadiness at quarterback.

San Diego Chargers

Biggest offseason moves: The tenuous relationship between general manager A.J. Smith and head coach Marty Schottenheimer finally boiled over once Schottenheimer’s coordinators, Cam Cameron and Wade Phillips, took head-coaching jobs elsewhere. Schottenheimer was let go a year earlier than expected, and Norv Turner was brought in to try to take the Chargers to the next level. Sending LB Donnie Edwards and SS Terrence Kiel packing would have to qualify as well. Edwards is getting up there in age but led the team in tackles and was still a very solid player. Competition will be heated for Kiel’s job, but none of the three candidates have his physical presence. The re-signing of stud OG Kris Dielman was surprising and pleasant to see.

Biggest concerns: The defense isn’t the same with Phillips in Dallas, who had created one of the most feared units in all of the league. New coordinator Ted Cottrell has a proven track record, but it could take some time for the defense to look like it did last season.

It can all come together if… the defense can rush the passer and stop the run as well as it did under Phillips’ guidance. … the loss of Kiel and Edwards isn’t as noticeable as expected. … there are no blips on the radar in terms of QB Philip Rivers’ play in his second year as the starter. … the Chargers overcome their inability to make a deep playoff push and shed the conservative label in big games that seemed to follow Schottenheimer’s career.
The latest critic of Walker is Connor Byrne, who says that the 10.75 sacks Walker allowed does nothing to help shore up Buffalo's pass protection.

This is Mr. Byrne's take on Langston "the matador" Walker:

Walker, who is set to start at right tackle, was a nightmare for the Oakland Raiders ' horrid O-line last year, surrendering 10.75 sacks. However, the Bills are banking on him to be one of their better run blockers, which he can be. Just don't expect Buffalo's quarterback, J.P. Losman, to benefit much from Walker's pass-blocking skills (or lack thereof).

Despite the downside of Walker, he will be locked into a starting spot, as will Peters and Dockery, barring injury; given the skills of Peters and Dockery and the big contract of Walker (five years, $25 million), that's a given. But at center and right guard, there's still some uncertainty entering the Bills' upcoming training camp and preseason.

whole piece here Linky
Well, let's see. Last season, against Cleveland, we needed 1 yard on 3rd and one. We ran essentially an outside zone play with Jordan supposed to hit the hole between Langston the Hut and the TE Randall Williams. Everyone on the line moved their man at least 1 yard downfield except for one guy, Langston Walker, who wound up 2 yards in the backfield right where Jordan was running. Langston's guy sheds Langston and tackles Jordan for a 3-yard loss. That's their great run blocker? Okay.
Langston can run block ok. But he cant even think about stopping a speed rusher. He is far too slow for that, he should block some kicks tho!
Unfortunatly for the Bills, Walkers "upside" is going to get Loseman killed.

Poor bastards... a fool and his money...
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