Thursday was the first day of media access to offseason training activities. So, it was the first chance anyone has to see where players will be lining up for the new coaching staff.
Probably the biggest question mark is who will be playing right tackle. Not just who will start, but who will be lining up there at all. So, all eyes were on that spot when the Raiders lined up in formation.
The first crack at it, at least on this day, went to last year’s top pick Alex Leatherwood. But head coach Josh McDaniels cautioned reading too much into that.
“Yeah, we’ve been moving him around a little bit,” McDaniels said of Leatherwood. “Each one of the guys up front. We’ve got some guys playing center and guard. We’ve got some guys playing on the right side and the left side. We’ve got some guys playing tackle and guard. So, there was a little bit more of a focus of that today for him.
“Ultimately, we’re going to try to figure out who the best five are that can give us the best chance of success every play. And he’s certainly working his butt off right now to try to give us the right stuff wherever we put him. Today, it so happened, like you said, it was more right tackle.”
McDaniels noted that Leatherwood had a false start, which he said was in part due to pumping in noise to practice.
False starts and other penalties were a big problem for Leatherwood both when he started at tackle the first four games and continued after moving to guard for the rest of the season. But his issues went far beyond penalties, which means he will have to prove he has put his issues behind him if he is to start at all, let alone have a shot to get his right tackle job back.
There’s a lot still to be decided with regard to how the Raiders’ offensive line will look come the regular season. Or even how it will look come training camp. It’s obviously still very early on, but it’s worth following where Leatherwood lines on a day-to-day basis.
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