The injury bug has ruthlessly made its way through the Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive line this season. Earlier today, it was made official; Richie Incognito is headed to the Reserve/Injured List.
Losing Denzelle Good out of the gate hurt; he was going to be the key swing offensive lineman this year. Even rookie Alex Leatherwood had his ailments last week. However, this unit’s accustomed to dealing with injuries. Under the guidance of Tom Cable, the Raiders’ O-line has always done its best to navigate through injuries. Sending Incognito to IR certainly hurts; at least fans now know it’ll be three more games before he possibly returns.
Though not the only issue, Incognito’s absence has severely affected the Raiders’ run game in the early going. Fans who are rushing to the opinion that the team should move on from Incognito are forgetting how dominant he was in 2019. Even last season, before succumbing to injury, Incognito’s run blocking was graded at 82.0, based on 74 snaps by Pro Football Focus. This season, the Raiders are 2-0 and are making do with what they do have. At guard, John Simpson and Jermaine Eluemunor are doing a solid job, all things considered. Incognito’s absence (and Good’s) show how thin the Raiders went into this season with their offensive line.
Incognito will be back, well, at some point…
Is it time to panic? Hardly. Head coach Jon Gruden certainly isn’t panicking; he appears to have faith in his guard returning at some point. However, Incognito’s age is a topic of serious discussion. Currently 38, it’s obvious that wear and tear have taken its toll, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he was not in the team’s long-term plans. Surely, the Raiders’ brain trust will need to look at their o-line next offseason again. The team could sign a free agent such as David DeCastro, though we’ll have to wait and see how the unit performs tomorrow. For now, let’s wish Incognito a speedy recovery so he may help get the run game going again.
*Top Photo: Eric Risberg/Associated Press