Leading up to the Oakland Raiders‘ Week 5 matchup versus the Chicago Bears, the narrative was focused around Khalil Mack’s return. Many assumed that the former Raider star was going to have his way with his former team. Well, it became apparent quickly that wasn’t going to be the case as Oakland dominated Chicago early. Though the game got closer in the second half, the Bears still didn’t touch quarterback Derek Carr for almost the entire game.
It was a complete performance by a much improved offensive line. One of the reasons the offensive line has been greatly improved is because of the addition of Trent Brown. The massive right tackle has only given up one sack through five games and absolutely dominated the Bears. Considering how fierce Chicago’s pass rush is, this was no easy feat. He also had Mack lining up across from him for more than a few plays, who is as close to unblockable as any player in the league. Brown helped make him look like just another guy. Brown’s performance led NFL analyst, Daniel Jeremiah, to make a bold statement about the right tackle.
“For my money, Trent Brown is the best right tackle in the NFL, and guys, I do not think it is even close,” said Jeremiah after the Raiders’ win.
Worth Every Penny
There are some really top-notch right tackles in the NFL, so saying Brown is easily the best is quite a statement. When the Raiders made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the history of the NFL, there were detractors. Brown hadn’t played at a consistently high level for his whole career until he went to the New England Patriots.
Well, Oakland is probably feeling pretty vindicated right now because Brown has looked like he’s worth every penny. There’s a big difference between Derek Carr under pressure and Derek Carr with a clean pocket. If the offensive line keeps him clean, the Raiders could be poised for big things this year.
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Kolton Miller Has Improved Greatly
What can’t be forgotten is just how much Kolton Miller has improved in his second year. The left tackle battled injuries throughout his whole rookie year and was one of the worst blockers in the NFL in 2018, according to Pro Football Focus. What a difference a year makes. He hasn’t been perfect as he’s allowed two sacks through five games, but he’s also been instrumental in shutting down the likes of Von Miller, Bradley Chubb and Khalil Mack.
After getting crushed by Pro Football Focus in his rookie year, the analytics website has been much kinder to Miller in year two. He was the third highest-rated Raider from their win versus the Bears. Oakland may have been atrocious on the offensive line a year ago, but this is a completely different group. Tom Cable deserves a lot of credit for turning things around. They’ve been dominant and Gabe Jackson, a starter, hasn’t played yet. Once he gets back, the sky’s the limit.