Ex-Raiders Star Gets Blunt About ‘Suspect’ Unit

Lincoln Kennedy, former Raiders star

Getty Lincoln Kennedy, former Raiders star

Lincoln Kennedy, who suited up for eight seasons at right tackle for the Raiders and now is a color commentator for the team’s NFL radio broadcasts, knows the team about as well as anyone not on the roster. And he has a pretty straightforward view of what he’s seen after four games of silver-and-black football.

“The fact is that when you think about it, Raider Nation, we’re just not very good right now,” Kenndey said on the “Morning Grind podcast” this week.

And while there is plenty of blame to go around on the depth chart, and much to be fixed in Vegas, the struggles of the offensive line are near and dear to Kennedy’s heart. The line, which yielded seven sacks on rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell (including six to former Raider Khalil Mack), played poorly enough in that game to have endangered the life of veteran Jimmy Garoppolo (who was out with a concussion), Kennedy joked.

“Our offensive line play has been suspect and I’m actually glad that Garoppolo didn’t play in this past game because I don’t know if he would have made it out alive, some of the hits that O’Connell took,” Kennedy said. “So, there’s a lot of things that have got to change.”

Jermaine Eluemunor Struggling at Right Tackle

Especially difficult for Kennedy: The guy who is manning his old position at right tackle, Jermaine Eluemunor, is having a particularly tough time. According to Pro Football Focus, Eluemunor has graded out with a 51.0 this season, worst on the Raiders line and just 63rd out of 71 at his position. After allowing two sacks against Pittsburgh, according to PFF stats, Eluemunor allowed three against the Chargers and rated a season-low 41.9 grade in that game.

“You’ve got to make adjustments for your weaknesses and after a month of football you see that Eluemunor is struggling at tackle,” Kennedy said. “There’s been times where your interior three have struggled to protect. You gotta do a much better job of picking up games and stunts, and they haven’t done that.”

But Kennedy did say it is on O’Connell to get the ball out quicker if he is to start for the Raiders again.

“My biggest criticism of Aidan playing quarterback was that his internal clock has got to be faster,” Kennedy said. “He’s got to get rid of the football. Raider Nation, I’m here to tell you, if you are holding that ball at 3-Mississippi, borderline 4-Mississippi, that’s your internal clock that goes off when the ball is snapped … I think that’s what Aidan needs to develop. He needs to have that at his disposal moving forward because that clock is what sets you apart, that internal clock.”

Raiders Have ‘Winnable’ Games Ahead

Kennedy did say that the Raiders could very well be 3-1 at this point, having been their own worst enemies in losses to L.A. and Pittsburgh. There are three “winnable” games, he said, coming up, starting with Monday night against Green Bay. The Raiders then have the winless Bears and the 1-3 Patriots. It’s possible that 4-3 is just around the corner.

There were, no doubt, some positives for the Raiders from the past two weeks. But don’t try to sell Kennedy on moral victories.

“I am not one of moral victories,” he said. “Never have been. As a matter of fact, I don’t think there is any such thing as moral victories. You either win or you lose. And if you lose, you lick your wounds and you go back to the drawing board.”

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