The Oakland Raiders have started the 2019 NFL season without one of their longest-tenured players in guard Gabe Jackson.
Jackson has been nursing a torn MCL he suffered in early August which has now caused him to miss two games. As a result, there has been plenty of speculation regarding when he will be able to make his return.
The Raiders have taken a cautious approach with his recovery and indicated that he could potentially be slated to miss the first month of the season. Fortunately, it appears he is on track with his progress and could be nearing a return.
According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, head coach Jon Gruden says Jackson’s return is now imminent:
Gruden said guard Gabe Jackson is getting closer to returning. Week 4 maybe?
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) September 16, 2019
This is certainly an encouraging update for Oakland. Although Gruden’s comments do not give any specifics, it is safe to assume they are expecting him back in the near future.
The Raiders offensive line now appears to be on the cusp of getting to full strength. Left guard Richie Incognito is slated to make his return from serving a two-game suspension. Guard Jordan Devey had been filling in as the starter on the left side next to tackle Kolton Miller, however, he will now be relegated back to a reserve role behind Incognito.
Although Jackson is nearing a return, Gruden will still need to take precautions for the time being. With Incognito now back in the mix, the lone backup up front will be guard Denzelle Goode. While Goode has become accustomed to serving as Jackson’s backup since last season, it will be interesting to see if they consider Devey as another potential replacement for Jackson until he comes back.
The Raiders had gotten off to a promising start to the season with their win against the Denver Broncos. They even managed to hold their Pro Bowl-caliber edge rushers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb to zero sacks in the season opener. Unfortunately, that was not the case against the Kansas City Chiefs after they managed to bring Carr down three times while generating plenty of pressure all game.
Regardless, Oakland is now a few steps closer to getting his protection fully intact for the first time this season. Incognito’s experience should help to provide some much-needed stability until the Raiders are officially able to commit on a return for Jackson.
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