D.J. Hayden to start Friday vs. Bears; Offensive line woes

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

August 21, 2013

OAKLAND, Calif – The wait to see what D.J. Hayden can do on a professional football field is finally over.

Hayden, who is coming off a gruesome injury where he tore a vein in his heart, finally participated in practice Monday after not participating for most of training camp. It was Hayden’s first full contact practice since he sustained the injury last November while at the University of Houston. The type of injury that Hayden suffered has a 95 percent fatality rate and normally happens only in car accidents.

Raiders head coach Dennis Allen confirmed Monday that the No. 12 overall pick will make his debut Friday night against the Chicago Bears in Oakland’s final home game of the exhibition season. Hayden will start in place of the injured Tracy Porter, who is out with a groin injury.

As much as the spotlight will be on Hayden, the spotlight will also hover over the offensive line Friday night.

In last week’s 28-20 loss in New Orleans, Oakland’s offensive line couldn’t pick up the Saints’ blitzes and gave up seven sacks (quarterback Matt Flynn was sacked five times).

“It was just a lack of communication and execution and we just can’t let that happen,” said Flynn, who finished 12-of-16 for 124 yards passing, including an 18-yard touchdown to Denarius Moore in the second quarter.

With the devastating loss of anchor left tackle, Jared Veldheer, Oakland will be playing musical chairs along the offensive line.

Former St. Louis Rams’ first-rounder Alex Barron steps in for Veldheer and will get first crack at filling his shoes at left tackle. Barron has 74 starts in 76 career games.

Oakland signed veteran offensive tackle Tony Hills Tuesday, but Hills is just expected to help the Raiders get through training camp.

The Bears defeated the San Diego Chargers, 33-28 last Thursday in Chicago. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler completed 4-of-5 passes for 38 yards, including a touchdown to his go-to target, Brandon Marshall.

Extra Points:

• Per Raiders Insider for CSNCalifornia.com Scott Bair, backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor switched his No. 6 jersey for No. 2 on Wednesday. Pryor wore No. 2 in college at Ohio St., but No. 2 for Oakland was last worn by former first-round bust JaMarcus Russell. Only two quarterbacks have ever worn No. 2 in Raiders’ history, Russell and Aaron Brooks. Both quarterbacks are a combined 7-26, with Brooks 0-8.

• Raiders’ legend Ray Guy has been named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame by the Hall of Fame’s Senior Selection committee Wednesday. Guy, who spent his entire 14-year career with the Silver and Black, was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a six-time All-Pro and a three-time Super Bowl champion.

Oakland Raiders’ Jared Veldheer needs surgery, still able to play season



By Kahlil Najar


It was revealed in a MRI on Tuesday that Oakland Raiders Left tackle Jared Veldheer partially tore his triceps at practice in Napa. Veldheer will undergo surgery to fix the tear however luckily it’s not a full tear which the Raiders had initially feared. If it had been a full tear Veldheer would have been out for the entire year but now it looks like he’ll be ready to play for most of the season.

If Veldheer’s injury was worse, it would have thrown a wrench into the system as the Raiders would have had to find someone to protect newly acquired Quarterback Matt Flynn as well as All-Pro but injury prone running back Darren McFadden – who with the addition of new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, is promised to get more time to run the ball and find his blockers which is where Veldheer excels.

With this scare, it points out that the Raiders do have some planning to do with finding a competent back up left tackle. As of right now they have Alex Barron who although being a first round draft pick when he entered the league in 2005, hasn’t played a game since 2010 when he started 11 games for the Dallas Cowboys. Then there’s second-round draft pick Menelik Watson from Florida State who can be groomed for the left tackle position but he has been out for almost all of camp with a calf injury.

Jared Veldheer has impressed all Raider fans ever since he came to the league in 2010 with his near perfect play and his durability as he’s started every game for the last two years. The injury couldn’t have come at a worse time for Veldheer as he’s in his contract year and since the Raiders will have a good amount of salary-cap room next year, it’s been speculated that he was a guaranteed signing before free agency. Hopefully Veldheer will be able to com back from this surgery and continue the form that all Raider fans are used to.