The Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive line will look significantly different after undergoing a makeover this offseason. However, left guard Richie Incognito is back with the team and doesn’t plan to stop playing anytime soon.
Incognito recently told Vic Tafur of The Athletic he’s “going to play as long as he can.” He added he “still has a lot of passion to play” and says he “won’t be walking away anytime soon.” Later in the conversation, the veteran guard touched on the changes the offensive line has undergone this offseason. He knows the unit has gone through a significant turnaround but believes they will ‘go out there and kick some ass’ with offensive coach Tom Cable and head coach Jon Gruden leading the way.
The Raiders released Incognito earlier this offseason for cap reasons but re-signed him once they had their financial books in order. Las Vegas moved on from center Rodney Hudson, guard Gabe Jackson, and right tackle Trent Brown. The team will try to replace them with Andre James, Denzelle Good, and Brandon Parker, respectively, “those guys have big shoes to fill. Rodney is the best center in the NFL. He is a stud. Andre has to step up, and I think Andre can do it”.
A third-round selection in 2005, Incognito, along with quarterbacks, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Aaron Rodgers, are the few remaining draft selections from that class after Alex Smith announced his retirement. The veteran signed with the Raiders in 2019 and made 12 starts. He re-signed with the team last offseason but an Achilles injury limited him to two games. Now, that he’s healthy, he looks forward to picking up where he left off last year.
The Raiders will need Incognito to play at a high level in 2021
Earlier this offseason, it looked like the Raiders had no direction as we didn’t know what they planned to do. They announced they were going to release both Hudson and Jackson just to backtrack and trade them. Since then, they have made a few moves that should bring some stability to their offensive line. Bringing back Denzelle Good was a low-key solid good, as the veteran has played where the team has asked him. Bringing in Nick Martin to compete with incumbent center Andre James was smart. Giving Kolton Miller a contract extension and re-signing Incognito were sound decisions too.
While the Raiders’ offensive line doesn’t look great on paper, the unit has the chance to overperform in 2021. For that to happen, Incognito will have to avoid the injury bug and his teammates will have to play at a high level.
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Top Photo: Jim Mone/Associated Press