Unfortunately, the Raiders will be without one of their best offensive lineman with left tackle Jared Veldheer out for at least the first half of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn triceps.
Although Veldheer will likely miss the first seven games of the season for the Raiders, the 26-year-old is focused on getting back on the field as soon as possible via Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com:
“I’ve never been through something like this before,” Veldheer said. “This is my first football-related procedure and it’s disappointing that it happened now. The only thing I’m focused on now is rehab and getting back on the field.“
With Veldheer out, the Raiders’ coaching staff has struggled to find a viable replacement. The team brought in free agent Alex Barron during the off-season, but the veteran hasn’t lived up to expectations leading many to doubt the stability of the offensive line moving forward.
Fortunately, rookie Menelik Watson is finally back after dealing with a calf injury throughout training camp and will given likely see time on the field as a result of Veldheer’s injury according to Bair:
The offensive line is still under construction. It received a huge boost with the return of rookie Menelik Watson, who can play left tackle in Veldheer’s place should Alex Barron not pan out, but there is significant work left to be done.
Once teams around the NFL cutdown their roster to 53 players, the Raiders will be one of the more active teams in the league in terms of bringing in new faces. The offensive line will be the team’s biggest concern as Week 1 of the regular season draws near, but protecting the quarterback and making holes for the running back aren’t the only problems for this team.
Many other positions will be addressed once players become available around the league with an emphasis on improving the offensive line being arguably the team’s highest priority.