At the end of the 2009 season, many Raider fans and writers began playing the blame game.
And a lot of that blame landed on Mario Henderson.
Raider fans were about ready to execute Mario Henderson after his 2009 campaign where he led all NFL left tackles giving up 9.5 sacks. Some fans were even blaming Henderson for the Bruce Gradkowski injuries and the struggles from the QB position.
Fast forward to 2010 and Henderson would start the season only to be replaced by rookie Jared Veldheer.
In 11 starts, this rookie from a Division II school would give up 10 sacks.
If you ask most fans they will tell you Veldheer was "the steal" of the draft, a huge improvement over Henderson and our future franchise left tackle.
I'm sorry, why am I the only one that sees something wrong here?
So Mario Henderson gives up 9.5 sacks in 15 starts and Jared Veldheer gives up 10 sacks in 11 starts and Veldheer is better?
In my opinion, benching Mario Henderson was a mistake and very well may have led to injuries to both Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski in 2010.
Who should be the Raiders starting left tackle in 2011
If you're one of the fans who think Veldheer is better, then I have no idea what you have been looking at—it definitely isn't stats, results or reality.
For some reason, in 2010, Raider fans gave Jared Veldheer a pass for his struggles in pass protection.
Does he get a pass because he is a rookie from a Division II school? Are fans in denial that we've made no improvement at left tackle? Is it because it's a new face doing the screwing up? Or is it a race thing?
Are people just ignorant to the numbers because Veldheer isn't getting attention for leading all left tackles in sacks, like Henderson did? Or was it because he got Tom Cables' mark of approval?
Does Veldheer even deserve a pass?
No, no one deserves a pass. This is the NFL. You either perform or you don't.
I've even heard fans say they watch "film" and it is clear Veldheer is better. I call bull. Fans don't study film, and almost no one actually watches the O-line during a game.
Bottom line is that our O-line was terrible pass protecting in 2010 and any improvement was an illusion. The Raiders offensive line still needs help, all-around.
If anyone disagrees I would like to hear why you think Veldheer is any better than Mario Henderson or why he deserves a pass.