Oakland Raiders Ready for War vs. San Francisco 49ers at Battle in the Bay

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst IAugust 26, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - AUGUST 22:  Oakland Raiders quarterback Charlie Frye #3 dives into the end zone for a touch down as San Francisco 49ers safety Reggie Smith tries to take him down as the San Francisco 49ers host the Oakland Raiders at Candlestick Park August 22, 2009 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by David Paul Morris/Getty Images)
David Paul Morris/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders are getting ready for the most violent game of the preseason. It just might be the most violent game the Raiders play all year.

It's the third preseason game, which means the starters will be going most of the way on Saturday. Oh, it's against those guys on the other side of the Bay Bridge, too.

Yes, it's the San Francisco Forty-Niners. Mike Singletary and company have a smash-mouth team going across the bridge.

Tom Cable and his crew look as if they've finally built a smash-mouth team, and the Bay Area rivalry makes it a natural for must see, violent football.

But wait.

How will the Raiders get quarterback Jason Campbell through the game?

Other than Robert Gallery, the middle of the Raider offensive line has a leak in it. Singletary's defense is known for knocking around quarterbacks as well. Did you see what the did to poor, old Favre a few days ago? They had to get his behind right out of the game.

This being the third preseason game will not allow the Niners let up on the quarterback now. The two teams playing each other during the regular season tells us that some messages will be sent on Saturday.

I was concerned for a couple of days, but some good news came in.

The Raiders announced that 6'8", 320 pound Jared Veldheer is going to start at center. I'm sure the Campbell will sleep much better for the rest of the week knowing it won't be Samson Satele or Chris Morris—both of those men have failed to keep Campbell clean thus far.

I believe Cable loves Satele for some odd reason and his sprained ankle is the only reason Veldheer is getting his shot. Veldheer has clearly outperformed all Raider centers and it took Satele's ankle sprain for him to finally get a shot.

Veldheer was drafted as a left tackle and was just tinkering with playing center in cap at first.

Now, the starter is injured.

I guess Cable had to really think about trusting the health of Campbell to Morris.

This is Veldheer's chance to snatch the position away with a good performance. He has already shown that he is more than capable of doing the job to this point.

It started with his getting the better of Tommy Kelly in multiple one on one drills. He continued to shine in the first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys.

It was nice to see him open up holes in the middle of the offensive line and protect the quarterback, but did you see how far he surged forward on the quarterback sneak?

In the Bear game, he couldn't quite handle the length of Julius Peppers while playing left tackle. But Mario Henderson did and is letting Raider Nation know that he is back, so there's no need for him there.

He then went back to the center position and continued his dominance.

Satele's injury then made room for Veldheer to take over. That leaves the Oakland Raiders one step closer to solidifying the middle of their offensive line.

All they need to do now is put fellow rookie Bruce Campbell at right guard.

Then, it's mission accomplished!