The Oakland Raiders have been dealt a deadly blow with the loss of star left tackle Jared Veldheer to torn triceps. Veldheer will be placed on the injured reserve which will keep him out for at least six games. Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie failed to bring in big bodies on the offensive line this off-season and it looks like it has come back to haunt him.
Former first round pick Alex Barron will replace Veldheer at left tackle. Although Barron has shown some flashes of being a solid player so far in training camp, he will not be able to come close to the ability Veldheer showed throughout his career. The loss of Veldheer has huge implications for the Raiders offense as they are still trying to find starters at multiple positions. Second round pick Menelik Watson has the ability to slide over to left tackle but he has not seen the field enough to even be in the conversation to replace Veldheer. Both guard positions are also in disarray because they are manned by zone blocking specialist’s.
With the loss of Veldheer, it is even more unlikely that atrocious blocker David Ausberry will become the starting tight end. Expect Richard Gordon and Nick Kasa to get more looks at the tight end position because of their elite blocking skills. New quarterback Matt Flynn will have even less time to find open receivers with opposing defenses breathing down his neck, so he must find rapport with his new wide receivers quickly.