Raiders

Raiders G Richie Incognito A Reliable and Stable Force

With just two games remaining in the regular season, Richie Incognito has proven to be one of the most poignant players on the Oakland Raiders roster.

On May 28th of this year, the veteran lineman was lured out of retirement by the Raiders front office. Amidst much off field turmoil and emotional baggage, Incognito has silenced all doubt with his impressive performance on the field.

Story of the season?

Incognito’s story is one of the most uplifting things to happen in the NFL in 2019. A man that had not played a down of football since 2017 is having a career season at age 36. This past offseason, Oakland’s general manager Mike Mayock made this statement in regards to the Incognito signing:

“We’ve done a lot of homework on him, OK? I’ve known some of the line coaches he’s played for, I’ve called several people around the league. I feel comfortable that he’s going to compete on the field and I feel comfortable that: A) he wants to compete off the field, and we’re going to provide the infrastructure for him so at the end of the day I think it’s a two-way street. We got to help him help himself. I’ve talked a lot about foundation. Head coach and I both talk a lot about foundation. I think we reinforced that with our draft. I think at the end of the day, you can’t have all boy scouts and what you have to do is you have to do your homework on each individual case and we’ve done our homework.”

Related: Should the Raiders replace guard Gabe Jackson?

Safe to say, the Raiders front office is receiving an A+ on this homework assignment since preseason.

Overcoming The Suspension

Despite his two game suspension to start the season, Incognito has shown that he is all in with Oakland. He desires to be involved with the development and progression of all the linemen on the roster. The veteran has started in all 12 games since his suspension. To expand on that, he has played in 100% of offensive snaps in all those games. The only other person to accomplish that feat on the roster is left tackle Kolton Miller. He has undoubtedly improved as a lineman and Incognito has been an integral part of that improvement. A leader in the locker room who has proven to be a vital player defines the veteran this year.

Incognito has proven that he is in a better place physically, mentally, and emotionally compared to prior career stops. Between his actions and words with the Raiders, it is as almost as if he is a new man. Although he has made many life changes; his tough, physical, bullying (of defensive lineman on field) demeanor is welcomed and still the core of the player that he is.

What does PFF say…

According to Pro Football Focus, Incognito is ranked second among all NFL guards this season in pass blocking with a 88.5 rating. He is only behind Cowboys guard Zack Martin, who has a lofty 91.2 rating. In addition, he has only allowed Derek Carr to be sacked once, which was in Week 11. Geno Atkins, a dominant forces at defensive line, is the only player to get the best of Incognito for a sack. The most absurd stat of the guard (in a good way) is that he has allowed as many pressures (9) as he has committed penalties (8) all season long.

For the oldest guard in the NFL at 36 years old, Incognito has more than revitalized his career and has done so in a dominant way. It begs the question, is there a possibility that his contract is extended with the team this offseason?

Coach Gruden’s answer…

“If you ask the players, I would say he’s probably one of the guys that they look up to the most, and he’s a fun guy to be around,” Gruden said of Incognito. “You can’t believe everything you read. Let me say it like that. You know, he’s had some well-documented issues in his past, but he is a great teammate, he’s a great player, he’s a heck of a leader, and we’re glad we have him. We’re trying to keep him on for another three or four years.” Via RaidersWire.com

To put it mildly, the Raider front office struck gold with the 36-year old guard from Englewood, New Jersey. This season with Oakland, he has been an unexpected bright spot on a team that has had rookies predominately in the headlines. It is encouraging to witness a NFL player embrace the role of veteran as younger players look up to and replicate. Incognito received a lot of criticism for being a detriment to locker rooms in years past. However, the guard has not been a liability for the Raiders. In fact, his transformation into a stable and positive individual is beyond heartwarming. It should not surprise anyone if Incognito is pancaking people with the Silver and Black until he retires for good. The definition of a Raider through and through, he is in prime position to be a team leader in Las Vegas.

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