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Khalif Barnes primed to move inside

11/26/2013

As has been widely theorized, Oakland Raiders veteran left tackle Khalif Barnes is expected to make the move from left tackle to left guard, with Jared Veldheer primed to make his season debut Thursday at the Dallas Cowboys.

Barnes was open to the idea last week.

“Whatever they want to do, I'm totally behind,” Barnes said at the time. “I'm here for whatever the team needs and I've kind of been like that since I've been here. Whatever direction, whatever they want to do, I’m totally cool with it.”

Barnes, who was penciled in as the starting right tackle before making the move because of preseason injuries to Veldheer and rookie Menelik Watson, would seemingly help shore up the interior. Second-year pro Lucas Nix has struggled mightily at times at left guard.

And while coach Dennis Allen would not commit to the move, citing game-plan issues, offensive coordinator Greg Olson raved about Barnes, the player and the person.

“There is a player to me, talk about an unselfish guy and a team player, that’s Khalif Barnes, and also someone we can count on,” Olson said. “To see him go from right tackle to left tackle and then to volunteer and say, ‘Coach, I’ll go inside, whatever can make us better,’ we’re obviously real happy with not just the way he plays, but his attitude and what he’s brought to us in the leadership role.”

Barnes, according to the Associated Press, has 31 plays at guard in his NFL career, the snaps coming in a backup role for the Raiders in 2010.