The Las Vegas Raiders offensive line has been able to overcome some devastating injuries this year, so how does the unit look coming out of the bye week?
The Raiders are currently 3-2 as they prepare to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Several of their units have been hit hard by the injury bug. In addition to the offensive line, the wide receiver corps and cornerbacks have had to deal with lesions. However, the ‘hog mollies’ are arguably the most important group of the bunch and have lost two starters Trent Brown and Richie Incognito early on.
Playing without a starting tackle and guard should’ve spelled doom for the Silver and Black in 2020. Fortunately, the Raiders have had adequate depth thanks to general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden. Players such as rookie John Simpson and Denzelle Good have done what has been asked of them. In their presence, the Raiders passing attack is experiencing new life and quarterback Derek Carr is having a career year. The running game has also done its part, scoring touchdowns but not having Incognito in the middle definitely hurts.
Tom Cable Has Been An Unsung Hero For The Raiders
Another reason for the Raiders’ ability to keep their offensive line together despite injuries is coach Tom Cable. Since returning to the Silver and Black under Gruden, Cable has consistently coached one of the better units in the NFL. Of course, it also helps that he has an all-world center in Rodney Hudson.
In addition to Hudson, tackle Kolton Miller, who was Gruden’s first draft pick in his return, is playing at a solid level. Pro Football Focus recognizes Miller’s strength as a pass blocker with a 79.0 grade in that department. Clearly one of the reasons behind Carr’s success in 2020 has been Miller’s ascent. Guard Gabe Jackson, whom some believed was going to get moved in the offseason, has contributed as well. Overall, PFF grades him at 61.9. as long as he can stay healthy, he will be key moving forward this year.
The biggest factor for the group moving forward will be Brown, we all saw his impact versus the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5. Despite having only 73 snaps under his belt due to injury, PFF grades him at 71.6 for his pass blocking. As the team continues to heal and does its best to get everyone back, if Brown can remain healthy, the Raiders will be absolutely dangerous with Carr’s current play behind this unit.
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*Top Photo: Eric Risberg/Associated Press