From the beginning, Mike Mayock believed the Raiders offensive line needed to get younger:
“When I took the job, that was one of my biggest concerns and I even said it to Jon at the interview,” Mayock recalled. “One of the things I said was you have a quality interior offensive line, but they’re growing old together. That means change will be necessary and that’s where we are.”
The Raiders overhauled there biggest strengths, and Mayock knew it was going to raise some questions:
“I know a lot of people were like, ‘Wow, why’d they do that?’” Mayock said. “But I don’t feel like we took a step back and we wouldn’t have made the moves if we felt that.”
Like winning teams, Gruden and Mayock know what it takes to build a roster, not only for the short term, but for the long:
“At a certain point, the skill set is going to decline,” he said. “It’s inevitable, especially with offensive linemen. This is why there are certain teams around the league that I think are so good, because they’re consistent and when they move on from players they typically do it a year early rather than a year late.”
If Bill Belichick, the Ravens, or Steelers, made the moves the Raiders made, they’d be praised. But since Jon Gruden did it, they Raiders moves are despised. Gabe and Rodney were both in there 30s, and although both guys were good football players, the film speaks for itself. Last year, both Jackson and Hudson were trending downwards.
Rodney Hudson gave up 14 total pressures, the most since his first year starting. Gabe Jackson has given up 10 sacks over the past three years, and although he didn’t give up any in 2020, he gave 26 total pressures, the most in his career. At the same time, one can argue Denzelle Good is an upgrade over Jackson.
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