Tag:Jared Veldheer
Posted on: November 19, 2010 10:49 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 10:58 am
 

Week 11 Key Matchup: Raiders-Steelers on ground

Posted by Andy Benoit

If you’re a fan of smashmouth football, you’re salivating at this Sunday’s showdown between the second-ranked Raiders run offense and the first-ranked Steelers run defense. Oakland’s suddenly effective ground game has been one of the biggest surprises in the NFL this season. Darren McFadden, once a raw, oft-injured first-round bust has blossomed into a bona fide feature back. McFadden leads the league with 108.1 yards per game on the ground, and he’s amongst the league leaders in yards after contact. Bruising backup Michael Bush is also chipping in 46.3 yards per game. D. McFadden (US Presswire)Pittsburgh D (US Presswire)

McFadden’s success on the ground has come primarily on tosses and off-tackle runs (i.e. outside). The Raiders have utilized more six-man lines this season, and the athleticism of rookie left tackle Jared Veldheer has allowed for more movement-based concepts to be incorporated into the run-blocking scheme.

This is particularly noteworthy for Sunday because, as important as nose tackle Casey Hampton and strong safety Troy Polamalu are, the key to Pittsburgh’s run defense has always been the defensive ends. (This is one of the best kept secrets in football, by the way.)

While most 3-4 defenses prefer space-eating anchors at end, the Steelers have always relied on undersized but athletic chaos creators. Instead of commanding double teams on the edge through sheer power, the Steelers aim to command doubles through lateral movement. Essentially, if an end can be disruptive going east and west, he’s going to force the offensive tackle AND either the guard or tight end to engage.

This uncommon approach naturally breaks down a blocking scheme. When a 3-4 end simply holds ground, he’s reacting to an offense. By getting movement on the outside, the Steeler ends force offenses to react to THEM. Thus, the three Steeler defensive linemen dictate the terms of engagement against the five offensive linemen. Three on five? If that battle simply results in a draw, the Steelers win, as the numbers mismatch frees up the linebackers and safeties to play in downhill attack mode.

Of course, getting movement as a 3-4 end is not easy to do – if it were, every team would follow Pittsburgh’s blueprint. The Steelers have been fortunate to have two perfect veteran ends for their scheme: Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith (it’s not just lip service when Steelers coaches and players claim Smith is the defense’s most valuable player).

Problem is, Keisel and Smith are both out Sunday (Keisel is not yet ready to return from a bad hamstring; Smith is doubtful for the remainder of the season with a torn triceps). Recent first-round pick Ziggy Hood has shown flashes, but he’s an inconsistent starter at this point. And, by most accounts, journeyman Nick Eason was been ho-hum filling in at the other end position.

As effective as McFadden and Bush have been, a full-strength Steelers D-line would have little problem stifling Oakland’s rushing attack. But a depleted Steelers D-line levels the playing field. This is what makes Sunday’s matchup so intriguing.

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Posted on: October 21, 2010 11:07 am
 

Raiders could be making a change at left tackle

Posted by Andy BenoitM. Henderson (US Presswire)

Super talented but equally inconsistent Raiders left tackle Mario Henderson could be losing his starting job to rookie Jared Veldheer. Jerry McDonald of the Contra Costa Times says the two players are sharing reps at practice this week.

This is noteworthy on two fronts. One: Henderson, 25 and in his fourth season, is a player the Raiders have meticulously been developing the past few seasons. They’ve now reached what was supposed to be his payoff time, and they’re finding that payoff to be disappointing. Henderson’s poor showing against Justin Smith of the 49ers last week prompted coaches to give some of his practice reps to Veldheer.

What’s more, Veldheer is from tiny Hillsdale. When he was selected in the fourth round, he figured to be rawer than raw. The plan was to bring him along slowly. But thus far, Veldheer has not just learned two positions (left tackle and center), he’s actually pushed for a starting job at both.

The 23-year-old started for injured center Samson Satele in the season opener. However, at 6’8”, it’s doubtful Veldheer has a future inside. His natural athleticism could make him a perfect fit on the edge, though. It’s not known whom the Raiders will start against Denver this week, but a change at some point seems almost certain.

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Posted on: September 12, 2010 10:28 am
 

Hot Routes 09.12.10: Gameday No. 1

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- According to ESPN.com's Adam Schefter, Tim Tebow has won the No. 2 QB spot in Denver behind Kyle Orton. He also will have a package of plays to run today in Jacksonville.

-The Akron Beacon Journal came up with 20 questions about the Browns this year. The most important one in my eyes: How well will QB Jake Delhomme fit in with the offense?

- It’s unclear if Kansas City rookie Dexter McCluster will play in Monday’s season opener against San Diego. He practiced in front of the media Saturday, but the team listed him as doubtful with an unspecified illness.

- Each of the Raiders top-three picks (LB Rolando McClain, DE Lamarr Houston, and C Jared Veldheer) of the 2010 NFL Draft will start today against the Titans.

- A nice column by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bryan Burwell on Rams starting QB Sam Bradford. Burwell writes that Bradford is ready for the job.

-Steelers WR Hines Ward isn’t done talking about QB Ben Roethlisberger quite yet. Ward, who has been a critic of Roethlisberger in the past but has publicly lent support during Roethlisberger’s latest off-field troubles, said his teammates are the ones suffering through the QB’s four-game suspension.

- The Texans will have a chance to improve upon their 1-15 alltime record against the Colts when they play host to Indianapolis today. “We’re tired of losing ,” SS Bernard Pollard said. “It’s to the point now where it has to hurt.”

- Jaguars WR Jarett Dillard’s season is over before it began. Jacksonville placed him on the IR list Saturday. He missed most of training camp with a foot injury.

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Posted on: September 5, 2010 10:21 am
 

Hot Routes 9.5.10: The day after cut day ...

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

... Which means that the Sunday before the regular season begins should give us a nice respite before the craziness truly begins.

- Cleveland delivered some good news by activating DL Shaun Rogers off the Physically Unable to Play list. Rogers missed the final five games of last season with a leg injury, and he missed the entire Cleveland preseason.

- I feel compelled to bring you this news story, though, in reality, there’s isn’t too much news contained inside. Jets GM Mark Tannenbaum says the team is ready to play without CB Darrelle Revis. Of course, he’d feel a lot better if Revis was actually with his teammates.

- Giants rookie WR Victor Cruz, to whom you were introduced when he caught three TD passes against the Jets in the preseason, said he would cry if he made the team. He did, and he did.

- Wes Welker can play, but he knows he’s not going to be 100 percent when the Patriots open their season. He admits he doesn’t feel the same as last year.

- Jonathan Casillas was placed on the IR list for the Saints with a foot injury, meaning he’ll miss the entire season. You might remember him for recovering the onside kick to open the second half of last season’s Super Bowl.

- In a non-surprising move, the Chiefs shipped S Jarrad Page away from Kansas City in a trade with New England for a draft pick. Page and coach Todd Haley didn’t get along, and ultimately, Page got what he wanted – a ticket out of Missouri. The Kansas City Star’s Kent Babb has some thoughts on his Twitter page.

- Just for the record, Jarrad Page has no hard feelings for Kansas City, writing on his Twitter page, “Jus (sic) wanted to say to the kc fans that stood by me, this was never personal I love kc for giving me a great first 4yrs of my NFL career”

- An interesting story here about the Oakland Raiders Saturday saga with safeties Stevie Brown and Mike Mitchell. Sounds like somebody frigged something up.

- One more Raiders note. Rookie C Jared Veldheer, a 6-foot-8 behemoth, beat out returner starter Samson Satele for the right to snap the football to Jason Campbell.

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Posted on: August 26, 2010 8:15 am
Edited on: August 26, 2010 8:18 am
 

Oakland's new center may surprise you

Posted by Andy Benoit
J. Veldheer
Rookie Jared Veldheer, a third-round pick out of tiny Hillsdale College, was drafted to play offensive tackle, (side note: everyone between the ages of 14 and 18 knows Hillsdale as that random college that mails them a brochure every six months). However, with Samson Satele on the mend (ankle), Veldheer, who was extremely raw early on, has an opportunity to “audition” for the starting center job.

Jerry McDonald of the Contra Costa Times writes:

Veldheer worked with the first team at center and will start against the 49ers, essentially auditioning for the starting job with Samson Satele out with an ankle injury.

Good news for Veldheer _ with 49ers nose guard Aubrayo Franklin deciding not to immediately sign his franchise tender, the opposition will be the less imposing Ricky Jean-Francois.


Many assumed Chris Morris was the Raiders’ No. 2 center. Apparently not. 

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