Perhaps the biggest injury blow dealt to the Oakland Raiders happened this past week when Left Tackle Jared Veldheer had a second opinion/MRI on his left Tricep Tendon. It resulted in Veldheer needing surgery to repair the nagging injury he’s been dealing with all summer. This took away one of the best offensive linemen in the game today. Veldheer is one of the best players on the Raiders, and he will be missed during his absence.
General Manager Reggie McKenzie got rid of a ton of veteran players and dead weight this past off-season. Then, he brought in 60 new players to compete for starting positions. Along with revamping the entire team, he is hoping to instill an old philosophy that the Raiders haven’t had in a long time. The philosophy, “Next man up.”
The question is will it work? Raider Nation will get to see if this philosophy will pan out for our team. Offensive lineman Alex Barron was brought onto this team after being absent from football in 2012. No one could have predicted that he would be revamping his career in a starting role. Yet, with the loss of Veldheer, Barron is now given a chance to step-up and take over at left tackle. Barron has been performing well in practice, but tonight, against the New Orleans Saints, we’ll get to see if he has what it takes to protect the blind side.
Right guard Mike Brisiel has been hampered with recovering from knee surgery in the off-season. He was dealt yet another blow by being out of practice all week with an undisclosed injury. As a result, Andre Gurode has replaced him at right guard. Gurode, a former Pro-Bowl caliber player, will see his first start tonight in New Orleans. As a matter of fact, the only returning players from last year who started is (Center) Stefen Wisniewski and (Right Tackle) Khalif Barnes.
Lucas Nix is supposed to see his first start at Left Guard in place of Tony Bergstrom. Nix was supposed to start last week, but he re-injured himself in practice prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys. That’s just the offensive line.
With Wide Receiver Jacoby Ford out, players like Rookie Brice Butler will get their chance to have time at the slot receiver position. Butler had a very nice outing in the game against the Dallas Cowboys, and he had a very good week at practice. Toward the end of the week, he was running with the first team, and he was making the most of his opportunities.
On the defensive side of the ball, Defensive Back Tracy Porter has been out, and Phillip Adams and Taiwan Jones have been seeing more playing time at practice. If Porter is a no-go tonight, it will be interesting to see who starts in his place. With injuries to Defensive Linemen Vance Walker and Pat Sims, other players like Jack Crawford, Christo Bilukidi, and David Bass are getting their chance to step-up and make a statement for themselves as well.
So the philosophy that McKenzie is trying to instill is in full swing. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out before the start of the regular season.
Tags: Alex Barron Andre Gurode Brice Butler Christo Bilukidi David Bass Jack Crawford Jacoby Ford Jared Veldheer Khalif Barnes Lucas Nix Mike Brisiel Oakland Raiders Pat Sims Phillip Adams Reggie McKenzie Stefen Wisniewski Taiwan Jones Tony Bergstrom Tracy Porter Vance Walker