Indeed, this will be a new experience for the Oakland Raiders' left tackle, who is slated to make his season debut after undergoing surgery on his left triceps in training camp.
“It's an odd thing to feel this way in Week 13,” Veldheer said this week. “That's something that builds confidence. Like I've said a million times, I'm ready to get back out there and play.
“I've been working on conditioning for a while now. I've been able to run and move my feet to build up that capacity. I don't know what the plan is as far as snaps or how much I'm going to play.”
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Veldheer would play on a rotational basis, and not necessarily 70 snaps.
“The things that you worry about are just the fundamentals and technique of a guy that hadn't had a lot of reps, because if practice wasn't important, then we wouldn't do it,” Allen said.
“Last week he had a good week of practice. This week he's done well so far, so hopefully being fresh will help him.”
Rookie quarterback Matt McGloin was a fourth-string “camp arm” when Veldheer went down in Napa. Now the starter, McGloin is understandably excited about the prospect of Veldheer protecting his blind side.
“It's great to see Jared back,” McGloin said. “He's such a great part of that line and he has been since he's been here. What's great is we've had so many guys step in and do a tremendous job. Guys playing tackle, guys playing guard. I was really proud of those guys, and how they work, and how they accept any role that the coaches give them.”
Veldheer concurred, especially since Khalif Barnes moved from right tackle to left tackle after Veldheer and then Watson went down before the season opener. Now, Barnes is expected to move to left guard.
“It's a unit that keeps on fighting no matter what the circumstances,” Veldheer said. “We're going to grind as hard as we can game in and game out. It doesn't matter who's up or who's down. Whoever goes out there has the mentality that they can get the job done.”
One possible offensive line against the Cowboys, then: left tackle Veldheer, left guard Khalif Barnes, center Stefen Wisniewski, right guard Mike Brisiel, right tackle Tony Pashos, with interior lineman Andre Gurode and tackle Matt McCants also active. It would mean Lucas Nix and Menelik Watson would be inactive and Lamar Mady could be the corresponding roster move for Veldheer being activated off the Reserve/Injured -- Designated to Return list.
And there will be no warm-up period for Veldheer. Not with Cowboys rush specialist DeMarcus Ware likely lining up over him.
“I match up with a great rusher right off the bat,” Veldheer said. “It's going to be a tough challenge, and we're going to have to be on top of our game plan and go out there and execute.”