If it wasn’t for quarterback Terrelle Pryor having to run for his life on every play with no protection from his offensive line, the Raiders could have possibly won the game yesterday against the New York Giants.
Maybe there is still a partial glimmer of hope left for an Oakland Raiders offensive line that has been playing horribly.
Stud left tackle Jared Veldheer is expected to make a return this weekend against the Houston Texans, and they’ll need him against a stout Texans defense that can also get after the quarterback.
Veldheer’s absence has hurt the Raiders all season, and they’ve had nobody capable of replacing him.
Left tackle Khalif Barnes has spent much time as Veldheer’s replacement. He was absolutely manhandled at the line of scrimmage and driven back on multiple occasions against a Giants pass rush that seems coming back to life. They had four sacks against a tremendously mobile Pryor.
Veldheer will not only bring added protection to Pryor, but he will allow the Raiders to do what they do best — run the ball.
He has effectively shut down pass rushers like Jared Allen and Tamba Hali and has been the key piece multiple Raiders 100-plus yard rushing days. He’s shown tremendous improvement since coming into the league in 2010 as a third round draft pick.
With almost no hope at making the playoffs for the 11th year in a row, Oakland has shown signs of life. With a healthy team and some added talent, they could truly be a force to be reckoned with.
The Raiders have almost $70 million in cap space that will be available to them next offseason. Without a doubt they will spend as much as necessary to add talent and depth to this offensive line to assist Veldheer.
Hopefully this is the boost the Raiders need to get their offense to live up to its potential.