O-line stability could pay off big for Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Continuity on the offensive line was a struggle for the Oakland Raiders last season. Thus far this preseason, the Raiders have worked with the same offensive line and it has helped build a chemistry that was missing in 2013.

The coaching staff thinks that can be a difference-maker.

“It’s been very encouraging. A year ago in the second preseason game, we had made three changes into the second preseason game,” Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Tuesday. “When you have five guys working together and the communication that’s required to play up front, it helps everybody involved.

“It helps the running backs. It helps the quarterbacks. That group in particular, because they all have to be in conjunction with one another. They all have to be on the same page. Besides the fact that we’ve stayed healthy there, they’re also really a veteran group of guys. That’s been a bonus for us, as well.”

If it stays healthy, the unit led by center Stefen Wisniewski and new left tackle Donald Penn, can be a centerpiece of the team, coach Dennis Allen believes.

“I think any time you can put the same group out there for as many reps as they’ve been able to get through the offseason and through training camp has been a positive,” Allen said. “I think that group is beginning to jell together as a unit. I think they’re playing with confidence and I think that’s going to be a position that I think is going to be one of the strengths of our football team.”

I know from my experience of covering the Raiders from 2008-2013, continuity and depth on the offensive line were major sticking points. If this unit can stay healthy and grow together, it could help the Raiders improve pretty quickly.