After beefing up the offensive line with Trent Brown and Richie Incognito this offseason, the Raiders were excited to see what their revamped O-line might do in 2019.
But because of an injury to right guard Gabe Jackson in training camp, Oakland hasn’t yet put its five best blockers on the field at the same time.
That is expected to change Sunday.
Jackson, who suffered a knee injury in a joint practice with the Rams in early August, returned to practice Monday.
It’s expected he’ll play Sunday in Green Bay against the Packers. That will give Oakland Brown and Kolton Miller at the tackles, Incognito and Jackson at the guards and Rodney Hudson at center. Even without Jackson, the line has played well in protecting quarterback Derek Carr and helping the Raiders average 134.4 yards on the ground per game, No. 8 in the NFL.
But with Jackson, the line could be even better.
“I’m excited to be back with my brothers,” Jackson said Monday. “It’s been a long time. Too long.”
Head coach Jon Gruden likes what he sees from Jackson already.
“This guy has clearly worked hard,” Gruden said last week during a bye week. “He looks better, I think, than he’s ever looked. He’s really gotten himself in great shape.”
The Raiders believe Jackson will be ready for the Packers game, but if they have any doubts, they could hold him out until the Oct. 27 game vs. the Houston Texans. Denzelle Good has been starting in Jackson's place.
Jackson believes the line has been excellent without him but he could help take it to a higher level.
“I think we could be even better,” he said. “If everybody stays the course and grinds it out, I think we could be pretty good.”
The 3-2 Raiders are set for a 10 a.m. kickoff (Bay Area time) Sunday against the 5-1 Packers.