After missing the first five games games of the 2019 regular season with a knee injury, Las Vegas Raiders guard Gabe Jackson instilled a ferocious presence on the interior of the offensive line when he returned. Along with quarterback Derek Carr, Jackson was one of the last holdovers from the Reggie McKenzie era and as the veteran entered his sixth season with the Silver and Black, he reminded many why he is still with the team until this day.
Before the 2019 season, anticipation was high for the right side of the Raiders offensive line. Via free agency, 6’8′ 380-pound offensive tackle Trent Brown brought a physical streak to the right tackle position, and along with the 340-pound Jackson, they established early blueprints of a force to be reckoned with.
As training camp progressed, joint practices were held with the Rams and Jackson tested his will against All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Good job by Gabe Jackson getting his inside hand low and underneath of Aaron Donaldpic.twitter.com/qXcTCURizb
— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) August 7, 2019
Unfortunately, the veteran guard was injured in practice on August 8th, 2019. Suddenly, a MCL injury placed his availability for the entirety of the regular season in doubt.
In Week 7 of the 2019 regular season, Jackson made his season debut at Lambeau Field against the Packers. In short time, he showed he was back.
— Chris Reed (@ChrisReed_NFL) October 20, 2019
If Jackson saw a chance to flatten defenders, he gladly obliged in 2019.
Raiders RG Gabe Jackson (@bigsmooth61) is rounding back into form after coming back from injury. 3rd & 1, quickly gets off the double team block, works to 2nd level and flattens the LB. FB Alec Ingold (@AI_XLV) follows for easy conversion.#Raiders #Raidernation pic.twitter.com/JPuKvUY4cF
— Ryan Holmes, MBA (@Rholm22) November 5, 2019
Without a doubt, he has been one of the most fierce offensive lineman in the NFL since entering the league. 2019 was no exception and when Jackson was at his best; he was a mover of men.
ISO on Gabe Jackson v Damion Square. Torques him and then walks him outside, creating a nice lane for Josh pic.twitter.com/DOjcZiIa1e
— Gipsy's Alt Account (@SGafety) November 9, 2019
His fortitude to return from a potentially season ending knee injury in less than three months time was admirable. Additionally, to play in 100% of snaps (707) after taking the field again was even more uplifting. However, tenacity does not necessarily equate to efficient play.
Stats Reveal Concern
Overall, Jackson is a highly respected individual in the Raiders organization. As one of the few remaining from the previous regime, the veteran has seen an incredible amount of turnover within the franchise. He started his professional career at the left guard position, and has had difficulty duplicating his early success since transitioning to right guard.
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), the guard allowed five sacks in 2019, which were the 10th most allowed by an offensive guard in the NFL. In addition, PFF ranked him in the bottom third (40/64) of all starting guards in the league for overall performance. His inconsistent pass protection was overshadowed by his lackluster performances in the run game. Jackson obtained a 82nd run blocking grade for all guards according to PFF as well. While the advanced statistics site is not the end all be all for evaluation of a player, it is still a more than valid measuring tool.
As seen below, Jackson’s struggle was evident at various times throughout the season.
Chris Jones and Gabe Jackson had words at the end of the first half. On OAK's first drive of the 2nd half Jones did this on back-to-back plays to set up 3rd and 13.
As the kids say, you hate to see it. pic.twitter.com/0IX4pAdc3g
— Seth Keysor (@RealMNchiefsfan) December 4, 2019
For the 13th highest paid guard in the NFL in 2019, one would desire better than below average production, injury or not.
As Gabe Jackson enters his seventh season with the Silver and Black, he is set to be the 11th highest earning guard in the NFL, and possesses a hefty $9.6 million cap figure, which is $2.8 million more than teammate Richie Incognito, who generated elite production in 2019. The NFL is a business, and Jon Gruden is a connoisseur of the “addition by subtraction” principle. With free agency and the NFL draft on the horizon, the vetetan is either a potential trade candidate or a possible roster casualty. With Denzelle Good’s efficient performances at guard in 2019, the Raiders may be saying farewell to the Mississippi native.
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