Harris benched, Henderson takes over at LT

Saying the team had tired of the ongoing problems at left tackle, Raiders interim head coach Tom Cable announced Wednesday that Mario Henderson would start ahead of Kwame Harris in Sunday's game against New England.

Cable cited Harris' penalty problems -- he leads the NFL with 11 false starts, six more than any other player -- and Oakland's ongoing issues protecting quarterback JaMarcus Russell from the left side as the primary reasons behind the change.

"Mostly it's just having so much negative play at that one spot and being able to smooth that out and not let that be an issue," Cable said. "We'll get through this week and see how it is."

Henderson started two games earlier this season when Harris was out with a knee injury. The second-year offensive lineman also split time with Harris and played the entire second half against Miami after Harris was benched.

But Cable was critical of Henderson after the loss to the Dolphins and declared Harris the starter. That all changed following Oakland's dismal showing in last week's 34-7 loss to the Dolphins, a game in which Harris was hit with his 11th false start and also picked up a facemask penalty.

Asked why he was making the change now, Cable said simply, "Penalties and getting pressure on the quarterback."

Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell has been sacked 27 times and the Raiders have allowed 35 sacks as a team. While that's nowhere near the top mark in the NFL, the fact that most of the pressure has come from Harris' side of the field was cause for concern.

Henderson, however, isn't looking at this as a full-time promotion. He has been in and out of the lineup for most of the season and so has a cautiously optimistic viewpoint of the situation.

"I'll take any opportunity I can get," Henderson said. "I don't know what's going to happen. I might not be starting next week. I keep my eye on this game as if it's my last. I just look forward to it because you never know. I just have to take every chance I get."


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