Since Gabe Jackson went down with an MCL injury in the second week of camp, the Raiders two guard positions have been in flux. They already knew Richie Incognito was to be suspended for the first two games of the season, so with Jackson out the team would need to play mix and match with who was starting and on which side.
Initially when Jackson went down, it was Denver Kirkland who stepped in at right guard. And he would start at that spot in the preseason game to follow. But soon thereafter, it was offseason pickup Jordan Devey who stepped in at right guard. The former Chiefs utility reserve interior lineman had been the backup center behind Rodney Hudson since coming to Oakland.
Devey would remain at right guard the rest of camp with Jonathan Cooper looking like the next man up at left guard.
Then Denzelle Good got healthy from offseason back surgery and everything was in flux again.
Good was at one time this season expected to start at left guard after the team traded Kelechi Osemele to the Jets. But his back injury led to the signing of Incognito. So, it seemed like with Good healthy, he would step in for Incognito during his suspension. Nope, Good will be starting at right guard where he started three games late last season in place of Jackson.
That meant the left guard spot was between Devey and Cooper. With the team’s first official practice leading up to their season opener, the nod has gone to Devey with Cooper expected to be the utility backup. Though if Hudson goes down with injury, I would expect Devey to slide over to center and Cooper to enter at the left guard spot.
This also means Devey will start versus his former team when the Chiefs come to Oakland in week two.
Once Incognito returns from his suspension after week two, he figures to step back into his starting job with Good starting at right guard until Jackson is healthy and Devey back to being the utility backup. With each move, you can expect the Raiders will make a move to shed one of their ten offensive linemen currently on the roster. Andre James will probably be gone once Devey returns to a reserve role. Then Jackson return could spell the end for Cooper barring any further injuries to other interior linemen.
Glad that’s settled. Now, if the Raiders can figure out who is starting at wide receiver.