Those that said that third time is the charm didn’t take into account Las Vegas Raiders guard Richie Incognito. The NFL veteran has had a peculiar journey and not so good tenures with three other NFL teams. However, he seems to have found a home in Sin City late in his career.
Richie Incognito has proven to be an asset for the Raiders
Incognito inked a one-year bargain deal with the Raiders in 2019. At the time of the signing, there were serious concerns surrounding the guard. After all, his behavior off and on the field at that point had been questionable at best and borderline criminal at worst. General manager Mike Mayock justified the addition of Incognito to the roster by saying that not all players can be boy scouts. Moreover, Mayock believed that the team had the system in place to help the guard succeed, and he was right.
The Raiders had one of the best offensive lines in the NFL last season. After allowing 52 sacks in 2018, a revamped unit allowed 29 in 2019, and Incognito was a big reason why. Although he began last season with a two-game suspension, he quickly became a cornerstone player for the Silver and Black. He played so well that the team rewarded him with a new two-year $14 million contract earlier this year.
Incognito’s 2019 performance carried over in Week 1
What did Incognito do against the Panthers? He was his dominant self and received an elite 87.6 grade from Pro Football Focus and was the highest-graded Las Vegas player in Week 1. The Raiders offensive line allowed just three pressures and continue their dominance at the line of scrimmage even though right tackle Trent Brown was out of the game with a calf injury. Based on a one-game sample, the Raiders hog mollies could even better than they were in 2019.
After letting controversy and his behavior define him most of his career, Incognito may have found the right place in Las Vegas. Although the 37-year old might be at the dawn of his career, it would be great to see him change the narrative surrounding his playing games.
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Top Photo: L.E. Baskow Las Vegas Review-Journal