Raiders coach Hue Jackson is fond of moving his pieces around to find the best combinations, particularly on the offensive line.
As offensive coordinator last season, he says “we moved our linemen around” to get the best mix.
So after just one exhibition game, Jackson and the rest of the coaching staff are still busy moving players and testing combinations. A set lineup is still in the distance. But whatever the starting line is, it’s looking more and more like it will include rookie Stefen Wisniewski and Samson Satele.
“My goal as the head coach is to put the best players on the field, and Wisniewski is one of our best players and Samson Satele is one of our best players,” Jackson told a radio station Monday morning.
The thinking originally was that Wisniewski would play center. Now, however, the 6-foot-3, 315-pound rookie from Penn State – the nephew of former Raiders great Steve Wisniewski (now the team’s assistant offensive line coach) -- is getting time at left guard while Satele is snapping the ball. At Penn State, Wisniewski played both center and guard.
Jackson hasn’t been shy about praising Wisniewski’s play. After Thursday night’s exhibition opener vs. Arizona, Jackson said the rookie did “an unbelievable job.”
“I’m just trying to, again, just keep finding the right pieces, as you continue to watch the tape each and every night and see what’s going to be our best fit for him,” Jackson said of Wisniewski to the Contra Costa Times. “Because he’s a very tremendous player. We drafted the right guy. He has all the qualities that we were looking for. He’s everything that I thought he would be, and he’s got to be up there somewhere. So, if it’s not at center, obviously, he has the capability of playing guard.”
Satele, who started 27 games the past two seasons for Oakland, re-signed with the team earlier this month, presumably to back up Wisniewski at center.
No matter how it shakes out, Satele likes what he sees from his linemates.
“We did some good things out there, some great things,” he told the Sacramento Bee after the Arizona game. “And there are some things we need to clean up. … We have some good guys.”