OTAs are underway for the Las Vegas Raiders and we’re starting to get our first look at the team heading into the 2021 season. The offensive line has been a big strength for the team in years past but they decided to move things around. Richie Incognito is now the elder statesman of the group and the team will rely on him to be a leader.
Luckily, it’s a position that he’s more than comfortable in. In the past, Incognito has been the subject of controversy. However, he’s been a model citizen since joining the Raiders. In fact, defensive end Clelin Ferrell revealed that he votes for Incognito to be a team captain every season and defended his teammate.
“A lot of things can get misconstrued about Richie,” Ferrell said after Wednesday’s practice. “I mean, yeah, he is a little crazy. But at the same time, you would never know because he’s such a disciplined and good dude. … A lot of guys would complain. He comes out to practice all the time, he don’t take no days off unless coach makes him take days off.
Incognito is a great player and teammate when he keeps his head on straight. It appears that he’s in a good spot right now and has developed into an important leader for the Raiders.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Ferrell Has Been Putting in Work This Offseason
Ferrell is entering a very important year. The former No. 4 overall draft pick only has 6.5 sacks over his first two seasons. He’s developed into a strong run defender but has a hard time consistently getting after the quarterback. He’s putting a lot of focus on improving his intelligence and getting his weight right.
“I want to really tone up,” Ferrell said. “I got up to the weight that I wanted to get to and now it’s time to really slim it down. The biggest thing for me, man, is just my IQ; my football IQ is something I’ve been homing in on a lot. Not just my get-off and my athleticism, but do I know slide protections? Do I know what the center’s gonna do? Do I know when I got the one-on-one? And I feel like that takes out a lot of thinking for me, especially as a young player. And especially someone like me who when I come in on third down I’m the guy that’s kind of telling everybody where we gotta be, where we gotta cover up spots and what we gotta watch out for. I think my IQ has been the biggest thing, for sure.”
The issue with Ferrell has never been his work ethic. He clearly puts in the work and wants to be great. It’s just a matter of putting all of that work and talent together to put a disruptive product on the field.
Could Ferrell Breakout out in 2021?
The Raiders invested an incredibly valuable draft pick in Ferrell. So far, he hasn’t lived up to it. He’s not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination but he’s certainly not elite yet. He’ll now have a new defensive coordinator coaching him in Gus Bradley and a lot more talent around him.
2021 is a make-or-break year for Ferrell. If he’s lackluster once again, the Raiders likely won’t pick up his fifth-year option. He needs to start playing as he did in the first matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs last season on a consistent basis.