The Raiders' adjustments to the offensive line have become the proverbial elephant in the room — one hard not to address.
However, not every elephant in a room should be considered a problem or a nuisance. This elephant should be pretty fun to watch. Like Dumbo, if you will.
Head Coach Jon Gruden addressed the media at an in-person press conference for the first time in more than a year Tuesday afternoon. He briefly spoke about the state of the offensive line after the team traded away three starters from last season.
Kolton Miller and Richie Incognito are currently the only two returning starters from last season after Miller signed an extension this offseason and the 38-year-old Incognito missed a large majority of last season with a foot injury. It was evident to Gruden with all the changes and challenges circulating around the offensive line, they had to find a way to lock down their left tackle of the future.
"You never want to lose good players, but we did. We lost some good players," Gruden said, referring to the offseason trades. "Salary cap went down this year for the first time, I believe, ever. There were some financial decisions we had to make. We feel that we have some emerging players.
"Kolton Miller, we felt that we had to get extended. You see some of these young left tackles and how much they've extended their contract for – it's astonishing. It's big money."
Gruden may be most impressed with their 2021 first-round draft pick Alex Leatherwood. The two-time national champion from Alabama has big expectations at the right tackle position. Offensive line coach Tom Cable was big on drafting Leatherwood as the Raiders felt that his size and athleticism was too big to pass up. Gruden believes that Leatherwood will be worth the hype.
"We love Leatherwood. We loved him at Alabama, he's off to a great start. He's got to back it up and we're going to try and help him. I have no doubt about him as a football player."
With Kolton Miller and Alex Leatherwood set to have the reins on the tackle positions, a big Training Camp will be crucial for both players.
View photos of Raiders coaches and players as they report to Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center for 2021 Training Camp.