The Oakland Raiders have waited with bated breath to find out what exactly is going on with starting offensive guard Gabe Jackson and it’s finally been revealed. According to Vic Tafur from the Athletic, it has been revealed that Jackson will miss “roughly” eight weeks due to an MCL injury.
This is a huge blow to the Raiders and their offensive line that was expected to be greatly improved in 2019. Jackson has been a staple on the team’s offensive line since 2014 and has always been consistent. With Richie Incognito being suspended for the first two games of the season, Oakland will be missing its two starting guards for at least two games. While this is really bad news for the team, they should be relieved that it’s not something worse. If he were to miss the entire season, the right side of the Raider offensive line could’ve been in big trouble. Jackson has missed time due to injury in the past, but nothing this extensive.
“We’re concerned, obviously. We’re really concerned about him,” said Gruden in the post-practice press conference before the injury was revealed. “He just got rolled up a bit.”
Seems like it was more than just a minor roll-up and Gruden had every right to be concerned. Jackson was a big part of the dominant Raider offensive lines from 2015-2017. Though 2018 was a down year, the unit looked like it was poised to bounce back in 2019 with the additions of Incognito and Trent Brown. Not everything is lost for the Raiders, but this certainly makes thing more difficult.
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Who Is Going to Fill in for Jackson?
Top back up Denzelle Good is recovering from surgery and he could be back to start the season, but that would be cutting things very close. Good was thought as more of an option to play left guard with Incognito absent, but the Raiders may not have a lot choice. The AFC West is loaded with pass rushing and defensive line talent, so Oakland can’t afford to field mediocre talent on the offensive line.
Denver Kirkland is most likely to start in one of the guard positions. He’s listed as Jackson’s backup on the Raiders’ first depth chart and he’ll probably be filling in at right guard. Jonathan Cooper has been the favorite to fill in for Incognito since Good went down. A Kirkland-Cooper tandem is much less promising than a Jackson-Incognito tandem. The Raiders need to protect Derek Carr if they’re going to succeed. It’s going to be very hard to keep him safe for the first two weeks of the season. They play the Denver Broncos who have two elite pass rushers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb and then they play the Kansas City Chief, who have sack artist Frank Clark. Kolton Miller, Rodney Hudson and Trent Brown are going to have to step up. Luckily, the tackles seem good and healthy. The person that will likely suffer most from Incognito and Jackson being out is rookie running back Josh Jacobs. The rookie won’t be getting gaping holes up the middle until halfway through his rookie season.