There are a few reasons why the Las Vegas Raiders have dropped their last two games. Injuries definitely play a factor, but all teams should account for them. On the defensive side of the ball, the team is giving up 30 points per game. Another unit that is struggling is the offensive line, which in turn affects other position groups.Â
Injuries have destabilized the Raiders offensive line
Offensive line was one of the Raiders’ strengths in 2019. After allowing 52 sacks in 2018, the group allowed just 29 last season. The signings of guard Richie Incognito and tackle Trent Brown helped the unit perform better, but it wasn’t just in the passing game though. The group also paved the way and opened lanes for running back Josh Jacobs.
Heading into the 2020 season, Pro Football Focus ranked the Raiders offensive line 11th in the NFL. All five starters were coming back and the only meaningful changes the team made was the addition of rookie guard John Simpson and tackle Sam Young in the offseason. It wasn’t farfetched to think the unit’s success would carry over to this year. Nevertheless, injuries struck the team.
Brown has been dealing with a calf injury and couldn’t finish the Raiders season opener. Young left the same game with a groin injury and he missed the team’s Week 2 and 3 matchups. He was finally able to suit up against the Buffalo Bills. Richie Incognito also sustained an Achilles injury against the New Orleans Saints and is currently on the Injury List. All those lesions have decimated the Raiders’ offensive line and have decreased their effectivity.
After not allowing a sack in the Raiders’ season opener, their offensive line has surrendered seven in the last three games. Although it is not an alarming number, their performance has surely gone down. The unit is also having a hard time opening lanes for running back Josh Jacobs, who is currently averaging 3.6 yards per carry, more than a full yard less than his 2019 average.
Until Brown and Incognito come back, the Raiders have to look for ways to boost production from their offensive line. They need to figure things out soon as they will need one of their best performances of the year against an undefeated Kansas City Chiefs team in Week 5.
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Top Photo: Jeff Haynes/Associated PressÂ