Oakland Raiders Training Camp: Still Room for Improvement

These aren't the same old Oakland Raiders.

Although it's true the Raiders have made some drastic improvements over the offseason, there are still some areas that could cause this team to struggle in the regular season.

Not as many as there were in recent years, but more than most fans should be comfortable with.

The first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys highlighted both the improvements and the weaknesses of the 2010 Raiders. The defensive line looks a lot better, the run defense appears to be solid, but I noticed some other things I'd like to bring to your attention.

My first concern is with the offensive line—especially the center and right guard positions.

Samson Satele and Chris Morris did not have good days at center. Satele looked completely out-matched by Cowboys' nose tackle Jay Ratliff. Granted, Ratliff makes a lot of centers look out-matched, but Satele was totally overwhelmed.

Ratliff got off the ball before Satele could even get into his stance. Once contact was made, Satele was pushed backward faster than Jason Campbell could get the ball to the running back. It was a horrible display of blocking by Satele.

Morris came in and didn't fare much better. The Cowboys' second-string nose tackle, Junior Saivii, was made to look like a Pro Bowl-caliber player when faced with the sub-par skills of Morris. Morris must play better if he wants to remain on the team.

Jared Veldheer was the lone bright spot at the center position. The rookie from tiny Hillsdale College played better than expected at center. He controlled Saivii and Cowboys' third-string nose tackle Josh Brent.

It seems to this writer that head coach Tom Cable should allow Veldheer get some time with the first team. This will do two things.

1. It will make Satele and Morris realize that there is someone ready to step in if they fail to perform. They may just pick their game up ...

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