Even though the Las Vegas Raiders made the curious decision to rebuild their offensive line this past offseason, the team has exceeded expectations as they have started the 2021 season 2-0.
The Raiders are not beating up on bad teams as they have picked up quality wins over the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers, two teams with stout defenses and unique offenses. Derek Carr and the offense are clicking on all cylinders, while the defense has managed to hold their own thanks to their pass rush.
As far as the offense goes, the offensive line has done a good job of giving Carr time to go through his reads, but they are not at full strength as they have been missing starting left guard Richie Incognito. Las Vegas was hopeful Incognito would be available by now, and head coach Jon Gruden updated his status.
“No, I don’t think we’re being cautious,” Gruden said. “I don’t think there’s been a setback, it’s just a calf strain. It’s just taking time, and he won’t play this week. [Roderic] Teamer will not play, Dallin Leavitt is out of the game and Josh Jacobs is doubtful, but Richie’s making some progress but not enough yet to get him back on the field.”
John Simpson and Jermaine Eluemunor have been handling the guard spots for Gruden, and although they have done well enough so far, the team surely misses having Incognito along the left side of the line. Unfortunately, the veteran has dealt with injuries the past year, with his 2020 campaign being cut short due to foot surgery, and his 2021 season is getting off to a rough start.
Although Incognito remains out for the foreseeable future, Gruden and the Raiders still play well though the team could have an even higher ceiling once they get their o-line completely healthy.