Tom Cable is a lot like Bill Callahan when it comes to versatility on the offensive line.
They may not teach the same schemes, but both are of the opinion that having linemen who can switch positions in an instant not only stimulates their ability to learn, but helps the team in the long run.
It’s with that in mind that Jared Veldheer can put himself in position to be the tallest center (6-foot-8) to start an NFL game. A week after getting some snaps at left tackle, against Julius Peppers, no less, Veldheer will start against the 49ers Saturday in place of Samson Satele.
Cable told reporters Wednedsay Satele was questionable with an ankle injury, but he almost certainly won’t play. And it doesn’t really make a lot of sense to start veteran Chris Morris, when Cable can get an idea of whether it’s feasible to make Veldheer a starter as a rookie third-round draft pick out of Hillsdale.
“It’s two different worlds,” Veldheer said in a post-practice interview. “You just have to transition yourself, outside to inside. This week I’ve been able to get back into that inside world more. It will be fun on Saturday.”
The “different worlds” could also apply from Veldheer’s jump from small college star to NFL rookie, but Cable hasn’t seen him back down yet.
“The first thing you look for in a small school guy is, `Is he kind of fearful of competition?,’ ” Cable said. “That’s never once been the case on any day throughout camp.”
Cable said Veldheer has handled the mental challenges of the tackle-to-center switch “very well” and has had no setbacks.
More news, notes and quotes (as relayed by beat writer Steve Corkran):
– For anyone wondering whether perennial Pro Bowl center Kevin Mawae could be in the Raiders’ plans, Cable said, “We’ve never had any discussions about that.”
– Cable hinted the Raiders would game plan more to put players in situations to make roster decisions easier, rather than devise a plan to beat the 49ers. The third regular season game typically is the one that’s a dress rehearsal for the opener. The fact that the two teams play in the regular season is also a factor.
“Because we’re playing them later we probably won’t show everything we normally would,” Cable said.
– Is there a role for linebacker Thomas Howard, or will the Raiders be looking to get something for him at the final cutdown day?
Cable, asked about Howard’s standing, said, “I think we’ll know more after we get through this one. I’m not trying to avoid the question. I just think that the way this game is set up and some of the things that well be doing defensively we’ll have a chance to see where he is at.”
Like, perhaps, put hoping Howard has a big enough game so that he can at least bring back a draft choice.
– Cable on whether Chaz Schilens could be ready for the opener: “I don’t know that yet. They’re telling us we can probably answer that question the first of next week.”
– Bruce Gradkowski, when asked about the young receiving corps, did the only sensible thing _ give them a public vote of confidence.
“I’m confident in all our receivers,” Gradkowski said. “They do a great job. I don’t know how many we’ll keep, but it’s always tough. . . . I’m proud o fthose guys and we’ve just got to keep going and finish this out right.”
– Hue Jackson, talking to the media? He jokingly took the podium today before walking away. Unless they’re serving him up Thursday as camp breaks, he’ll probably talk to the media for the first time in Alameda. The Raiders have taken advantage of vague league guidelines in the preseason which request reasonable access by not making him available at all. Once the regular season begins, they’re required to make Jackson available to the media on a regular basis or be subject to a fine.
– The Raiders hold their final practice of the Napa training camp Thursday at 8:30 a.m. and then get out of town. The Raider Nation Celebration will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland.
– According to my transcript, the first words out of Cable’s mouth were, “Where is McDonald? He’s just taking time off. He’s got David White disease.”
I don’t know about the David White thing, but I have felt “fatigued” lately.