Las Vegas Raiders left guard Richie Incognito will miss the season opener against Baltimore with a calf injury.
Incognito got hurt during a joint practice against the Rams on Aug. 19 and hasn’t practiced since. Coach Jon Gruden said Saturday there was a good chance Incognito could return for Week 2 at Pittsburgh.
The absence of Incognito for the game Monday night against the Ravens leaves Las Vegas with a very inexperienced line with second-year pro John Simpson slated to start in his place.
The Raiders traded away center Rodney Hudson, right guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Trent Brown in the offseason.
That leaves Las Vegas with fourth-year starter Kolton Miller at left tackle and new pieces at the other four spots.
Simpson started just two games as a rookie and will likely take over the left guard spot.
Center Andre James is a former undrafted free agent who has started only one game at the position in either college or the pros, right guard Denzelle Good has been mostly a backup in his career and mostly played on the left side in 2020 and first-round right tackle Alex Leatherwood will make his NFL debut.
”We’re anxious to see our line,” Gruden said. ”We know we’ve got four new starters there compared to last year at this time, but we have some players with really big upsides, and this will be a great test for them.”
The Raiders must contend with Baltimore’s complicated defense that blitzed at the highest rate in the NFL last season on the big stage of ”Monday Night Football.”
”I think Alex Leatherwood has been trained pretty good to play in front of big crowds. He’s a two-time national champion,” Gruden said. ”Andre James is in his third year. John Simpson has been in a big arena his whole life. So, these guys are anxious to start forming their own identity and they realize they have big shoes to fill. I think they are confident that they can come together and be a good unit.”
The only other Raiders player with an injury designation for the game is safety Roderic Teamer, who is doubtful with shoulder and ankle injuries.
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