Raiders not committed to a starter at center

When the week began, reporters questioned Tom Cable about any possible changes to the offensive line. Very few, if any, considered that Jared Veldheer was part of that loaded question. Normally when questioning someone, you have two or three parts to the question as long as the answer leads in the right direction.

For example:

Reporter: “Considering making any changes on the offensive line for week 2?”

Cable: “Yes, blah, blah, blah.”

Reporter: “Which positions are you considering?”

Cable: “Left tackle, right tackle, etc…”

It never goes according to plan, but that’s the general gist of the consideration.

At the beginning of the week, Cable was peppered with questions about Veldheer’s play against the Titans in week one. There was no doubt that the rookie wasn’t perfect, but as far as a Div II rookie left tackle starting at center in his first official NFL game, he didn’t play too poorly. Cable said as much, “And as for how he did, he battled his tail off.

That was Monday, the day after the game, and after Cable had watched tape of the game. By Wednesday, Cable said, “we’re tinkering with some things and as we kind of figure that out, we’ll let you know,” about his line. When asked if he was talking about scheme or personnel, Cable said it was scheme. “No, a little bit of scheme, just reassuring the help process, kind of making sure it’s where it needs to be in order to help the right guys when we need to.

Thursday, a reporter finally came right out with the question: Is Veldheer starting for sure this week? Cable’s answer: “I’m not ready to say that yet. Not ready to say that yet.” That answer prompted Friday’s morning repeat question about Veldheer. “I’m going to go upstairs and determine that here today,” said Cable.

By the time that any of the Raiders beat writers know, the Raiders offense will be on the field for their first possession Sunday.

With Khalif Barnes and the newly re-signed Erik Pears on the roster, it’s strange to me that the position up for grabs is center, and not right tackle. Looking back on the game, every veteran on the offensive line played just as bad, if not worse, than Veldheer did. None of them have as good an excuse as the rookie from Hillsdale College.

Earlier in the week, I happened to see Samson Satele in the locker room with an ice packed wrapped up against one of his shoulders. Satele hasn’t been listed on any injury reports, and he was probably just icing an ‘old’ football injury, but if he has been having trouble with that shoulder, it would explain a lot.

Speaking of injuries: Chaz Schilens (knee) is out, Robert Gallery (OG) is doubtful, Michael Bush (RB) is questionable, Travis Goethel (LB) is out, Desmond Bryant (DT) is probable, Richard Seymour (DT) is questionable, Nnamdi Asomugha (CB) is probable, Hiram Eugene (FS) is questionable, Chris Johnson (CB) is questionable, and Walter McFadden (CB) is out.

Should Seymour not be able to play on Sunday, Cable was noncommittal on who would start next to Tommy Kelly. It will either be John Henderson or Desmond Bryant in place of Seymour.

Cable is now saying that both Johnnie Lee Higgins and Jacoby Ford will do kick returns and punt returns on Sunday. As of Thursday, Higgins was to be the punt returner and Ford was to do the kicks, but Cable said they’d be doing both on Friday. Is anyone else getting the feeling that Cable is holding ALL of his cards close to the vest? Seems like a lot of secrecy for a home game against a team that has lost 26 of its last 27 games.

If Bush is able to play on Sunday, Cable said that he won’t know until kickoff.

I took most of Friday off, so my game preview won’t be ready until late Saturday night. I probably should have been working on that rather than what I did. I caught the Cal at Nevada football game, and was reminded that the Golden Bears really must miss Raiders’ offensive line coach, Jim Michalczik. How else do you explain a bunch of 4-star offensive linemen getting beat like a drum by two and three-star recruits?

-Thanks to Raiders beat writers for supplying Friday’s info.

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