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Thursday, September 9, 2010
Against Veldheer, Titans hope for leverage

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The most intriguing matchup I see in Raiders-Titans Sunday will be right in the middle of the field: Oakland’s center, Jared Veldheer against Titans defensive tackles like Jason Jones and Jovan Haye.

Why?

Well Veldheer is a rookie, he played at Hillsdale College and he’s 6-foot-8.

When’s the last time the Titans’ interior guys saw a 6-8 center?

“Probably in the NBA,” Haye said. “He’s not your prototypical center, so it’ll be a good challenge. He’s a rookie. First game, I’m pretty sure he’ll be amped up. He’s a big boy. Normally, centers don’t come that big, they’re 6-1, 6-2.”

“I’ve never seen a 6-8 center,” said Jason Jones, who was explosive and disruptive throughout the preseason. “[D-line coach Jim] Washburn wrote that on our board and I was like, ‘6-8? That’s a typo.’ You see them at tackle, maybe guard. Not center.”

At 6-5, Jones is the Titans tallest interior lineman. Tony Brown is 6-2. Sen’Derrick Marks and Haye are 6-2.

Players are coaches that the guy who’s able to stay low and get under the opponent wins, putting him off balance and gaining the ability to move him.

But Haye said we shouldn't assume just because Veldheer can naturally be higher that he will be and that the Titans will consistently be able to tip him over.

“It’s all leverage and quickness at the end of the day,” he said. “Sometimes being the small guy ain’t the worst thing and we’re a small team with small guys great at playing with leverage ...

"You can’t necessarily say it’s easy to win leverage against him. He might be 6-8 and play 5-9, you never know. We just have to play under them, they are a big O-line.”