John Henderson Looks To Solidify Raiders Defensive Line
Henderson is literally in the middle of the Raiders' hopes for a turnaround in their run defense, which ranked in the bottom third of the league last season.
The Raiders signed Henderson, a defensive tackle who also can play on the nose, as a free agent after he was released in the off season by Jacksonville, where he played for eight years.
Raiders coach Tom Cable has been pleased with the play from Henderson so far in training camp and loves the fact that he thrives on stopping the run.Henderson told Jerry McDonald of the Contra Costa Times that nothing gives him greater pleasure than clogging up running lanes and stuffing a running back.
"I love stopping the run," Henderson told McDonald. "I take a lot of pride in it. That's something we've got to get better at. I live for it. You can take me out on third and long. Just put me in on short yardage and all that good stuff."
That would suit the Raiders just fine, who envision the 335-pound Henderson taking a prominent role in the defensive line rotation. The veteran would help solidify the middle of a run defense that was regarded as the Raiders' weakest link last season.
Henderson told McDonald that he would rather knock down a runner behind the line of scrimmage than sack a quarterback any day.
"Think about who talks the most. Running backs. I want to shut them up," Henderson told McDonald.
Henderson should get plenty of chances to do that and help quiet the criticism that has plagued the Raiders defense for such a long time.