The Raiders went out on a limb when they decided to sign veteran guard Richie Incognito.
Oakland wanted to strengthen its offensive line, so it sought out Incognito, a four-time Pro Bowler – but one who didn’t play all of 2018 and has been involved in controversy on and off the field since he came into the league in 2006.
Though the 36-year-old had baggage, the Raiders believed he might be a key piece to protecting Derek Carr and putting some pop into the running game.
So far, Oakland’s gamble has paid off.
Incognito has played well, Carr has been sacked just eight times in five games and the Raiders are off to a 3-2 start.
This week, the analytic website Pro Football Focus rated Incognito as the seventh-best guard in the NFL this season.
Incognito missed the first two games because of an NFL suspension – for an off-the-field incident earlier this year – but has been solid since.
Wrote Pro Football Focus: “Incognito missed the first (two) games of the year through suspension but has delivered since getting back in the lineup for the Raiders over the past three weeks. On 105 pass-blocking snaps he has yet to allow a sack or a hit, with just three hurries. … He has also delivered as a run blocker, producing an 82.0 grade on 90 run-blocking snaps.”
Of course, it’s just five games into a 16-game schedule. Will Incognito be able to keep things together for the duration of a long season? He continues to stretch limits.
In the Raiders’ victory over the Bears in London this past Sunday, he was penalized for unnecessary roughness, when he pushed a Bears defender face-first into the turf after a running play.
The Raiders, on a bye week, return to play Oct. 20 vs. the Green Bay Packers.