The Raiders have high hopes they can get off to a fast start in 2019, build some momentum and bury the failures of their recent seasons.
If that’s to be the case, however, the Raiders will have to do it without a key member of their offensive line.
Right guard Gabe Jackson, a durable, effective member of that line since the Raiders drafted him in the third round in 2014, reportedly will be lost for six to eight weeks and will miss the start to the regular season.
Longtime Raiders reporter Vic Tafur of the Athletic reported Thursday night that Jackson has suffered an injury to the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. That means Oakland will begin the season without either of its starting guards. Left guard Richie Incognito, signed this offseason, is suspended by the NFL for the first two games of the regular season for violating NFL rules.
Jackson has missed just four games over the past four seasons. The trio of center Rodney Hudson, Jackson and new right tackle Trent Brown was expected to be the strength of a remade offensive line that also includes Incognito and left tackle Kolton Miller, the team’s top draft choice in 2018.
Jackson was taken off the practice field Thursday and carted away, reported Levi Damien of SB Nation. In his absence, Denver Kirkland, Jonathan Cooper and Jordan Devey are candidates to start until Jackson returns, possibly the first week of October, wrote Damien.
Kevin Patra of NFL.com reported that Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said he was “concerned, obviously” about the impact of Jackson’s injury.
The Raiders will open their summer exhibition schedule Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams.