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The Henderson Hangover (and How to Fix It)

If the Raiders expect to win more than five games behind the current offensive line, they are mistaken.

There were silver linings in the loss, but there are no moral victories. The Raiders stunk up LP Field in Nashville. A rotting corpse may smell better than the Raiders did during a 38-13 spanking.

The Raiders didn’t just get beat by a better team. If they did, you wouldn’t have received so many postgame apologies.

Richard Seymour and Nnamdi Asomugha weren’t apologizing. Tyvon Branch did and Quentin Groves followed that up.

Branch made multiple mistakes. At least one of them resulted in a touchdown. It could be that 14 points are on the hands of Branch alone. How different would the game have been in the first half without the Nate Washington catch for a touchdown and Javon Ringer 15-yard rush for a touchdown?

The key to beating the Titans was always to grab a lead and force Vince Young to beat you. The Raiders were doomed if Chris Johnson received 20 or more carries. Johnson received 27.

Vince Young looked good, and many quarterbacks do when the defense must respect play action.

Asomugha asked this simple question postgame, why couldn’t the Raiders claw back into the game like they had before?

“It snowballed on us,” said Richard Seymour.

Of course it did, the game plan relied upon an early lead the Raiders never had. They couldn’t claw back into the game, because this team was never good to come back on an elite rushing team like the Titans.

The biggest reason for the early struggles was the offensive line. Everyone could see it. Mario Henderson, Robert Gallery, Jared Veldheer, Cooper Carlisle and Langston Walker those are the whipping boys.

The Raiders will watch the game video today. The initial impression was that Henderson and Walker were utter almost total failures.

Was the defense lining up illegally? Maybe, but not matter where the lineman are, the offensive lineman needs to block them. Teams would rather have Alex Barron ripping off Brian Orakpo’s head than Orakpo ripping off their quarterback’s head.

It seems there could be a player surprisingly available that could help solidify the Raiders offensive line. Jake Grove.

Jake Grove was a very productive player when healthy last season. He had a good year in 2008 for the Raiders also.

The Raiders definitely wanted Jake Grove back last offseason, but with his injury history, weren’t willing to pay him the kind of money Miami did.

Miami cut Grove due to his bloated contract and injury history. He still performed well.

With the first game over veteran contracts are not guaranteed. Grove is healthy now, but would be of very little risk.

Grove is still good friends with Robert Gallery. The best case scenario is sign Groves and move Veldheer back to left tackle and let him take a few lumps as the starter. He couldn’t be as bad as Henderson and the overall net gain for the line should be positive.

Tom Cable treats Henderson like a son. As parents often do, Cable makes excuses for Henderson’s poor play; time and time again. Cable promises the public Henderson’s flaws can be fixed, but everyone but Cable are having serious doubts.

Mario Henderson may have better luck on the right side and he can compete with Khalif Barnes and Langston Walker for the right tackle position on a week-to-week basis once he get used to doing everything the opposite way.

Mario Henderson seems like a good guy and it isn’t personal. Henderson just no longer merits a starting job on the Raiders offensive line.

If Cable doesn’t do something quick to solidify the area in which he has so much expertise, he could be handed walking papers in just a few short weeks.

Al Davis wasn’t pleased in Nashville and judging from his face, his fuse is short. He just ordered a new overhead projector bulb. Delivery time is 3-6 weeks.


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