Over the last two seasons, the biggest strength for the Las Vegas Raiders was supposed to be its offensive line. When the group is healthy, they are one of the best in the NFL. Unfortunately, all five guys have rarely all been healthy at the same time. Last year, Gabe Jackson was one of the guys who was hobbled for most of the season. This year, he’s one of only two offensive linemen who has started every game for the Raiders.
He’s been playing at a high level now that he’s healthy and head Jon Gruden made some eye-opening comments about the right guard.
“This man, if he’s not the best right guard in football, show me the math. I wouldn’t trade Gabe for nothing,” Gruden said Wednesday.
These comments from Gruden are particularly notable because there were rumors that the Raiders were shopping Jackson during the draft. Nothing materialized and the team decided to stick with him this year. It’s safe to say they’re not regretting giving him his guaranteed money. Jackson is set to make pretty big money over the next two seasons but it sounds like he’s part of the team’s future.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
Derek Carr Has Strong Praise for Jackson
Jackson is one of the two players left on the Raiders who was part of the 2014 draft class. The other player is quarterback Derek Carr. The two have started a lot of games together in the silver and black. Carr had some very high praise for Jackson.
“The last couple of years, he’s played hobbled,” Carr said. “He’s played with one arm, he’s played with one leg. He’s one of the toughest, grittiest players I’ve ever been around. This year he’s healthy. He’s flying around, smacking dudes like we all knew he could. It’s really fun to watch.”
The quarterback also questioned why Jackson has never been to a Pro Bowl.
“Gabe is the one guy I look at where it’s like, ‘How does he not get in? ” Carr said.
Jackson will probably have another hard time getting into the Pro Bowl this year but he’ll certainly have a case.
Jackson Talks Turnover at Right Tackle
One thing that makes Jackson’s season so impressive is that he’s had a different guy playing next to almost every game this season. The Raiders put Trent Brown, Sam Young, Brandon Parker and Denzelle Good at right tackle this season due to injuries.
“I help where I can,” Jackson said of playing with multiple right tackles this season.
“Even throughout practice, if I know for sure I’m going to have a different tackle than I’ve been working with, we try to communicate things together so he’ll know what it means come game day, so there’s nothing that’s out the picture or that one of us can’t adjust to.”
Jackson’s experience with this offense has certainly come in handy. The Raiders are very fortunate that he’s been able to stay healthy. He deserves a lot of credit for the right side of the offensive line holding up despite the litany of injuries.