Training camp has finally wound down, and with only two preseason games left before the start of the regular season, the Raiders look to be headed in the right direction for the first time in years.
Center Samson Satele injured his ankle against Chicago and quite frankly, has looked awful through two preseason games. Satele, who was traded to Oakland by Miami, was deemed expendable due to his inability to handle the bigger nose guards and tackles in the AFC East. The theory was that he would be a perfect fit for Oakland's zone blocking scheme, but that notion has been consistently disproved since his arrival.
Reserve center Chris Morris has had more than ample opportuntity to prove he can be a contributor with the first team offense and has also been below average at best.
It is clear that the center position will have to be addressed in the 2011 draft, along with the entire right side of the offensive line. Hopefully, newly drafted Jered Veldheer and Bruce Campbell will be able to crack the lineup and solidify what has been a sub-par unit for the past few years.
Veldheer will be auditioning for the starting job at center in this weekend's preseason matchup with the San Francisco 49er's. Center might be a great fit for the massive Veldheer, who has arms that are a little on the short side to play tackle.
Asking a rookie from tiny Hillsdale college to make his NFL debut at center and make the correct calls in his first year could be a risky proposition.
Enter Kevin Mawae. Yes, he is 39-years-old, but he is an All-Pro who has a clean bill of health and the experience and ability to solidify an offensive line that has made great strides in the offseason.
Mawae's knowledge of the game, abiltiy to make calls, and veteran leadership could help make Oakland's run at an AFC West title much more probable. So why not sign him?
Also, with Chaz Schillens out following minor knee surgery, it has become apparent that the Raiders cannot depend on him to play a full season as a legitimate number one wide receiver.
TJ Houshmandzadeh is apparently on the bubble with the Carroll regime in Seattle, and would be a nice fit for the Silver and Black in the event he can be claimed off of waivers. The Raider offense is young and the veteran leadership that Houshmandzadeh would bring would be an added bonus the skill set he could bring to the Bay Area.
Let's face it, a receiver that runs perfect routes and has dependable hands would be a nice fit for this young team that seems poised to become a contender.
What remains to be seen is whether or not Mr. Davis will pull the trigger.
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