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Raiders targeting Richie Incognito return for Week 9

Veteran guard has been out since August

Baltimore Ravens v Las Vegas Raiders
Richie Incognito
Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders may get some relief for a struggling offensive line in the coming weeks.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden said Monday that the team is targeting the week after the Raiders’ October 28 bye for veteran starting left guard Richie Incognito to make his 2021 debut. That would mean Incognito is on pace to play at the New York Giants on November 7.

Incognito was hurt in August during a joint workout with the Los Angeles Rams, suffering a calf injury. Incognito, who returned on a one-year contract this offseason, was hurt in Week 2 in in 2020 and was lost for the season.

Gruden hopes Incognito, 38, can ignite the offensive line that has struggled in run protection and has allowed 15 sacks in the passing game.

“Richie isn’t only a great player,” Gruden said. “He’s a great leader ... It will be good to get him back.”

Meanwhile, Gruden said the current plan is to stay “status quo” with rookie Alex Leatherwood playing right guard and veteran backup Brandon Parker starting at right tackle. Leatherwood, the No. 17 overall pick in the draft, started the first four games at right tackle and was moved inside for Sunday’s 20-9 home loss to the Chicago Bears.

“It wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t all bad, either,” Gruden said about the Leatherwood-Parker experiment.

Meanwhile, Gruden said backup quarterback Marcus Mariota will return to practice this week and there is a chance he could be activated from the injured reserve in time for Sunday’s game at the Denver Broncos. Mariota was hurt on a long run in Week 1. When he returns, Mariota may be able to help the struggling Las Vegas short-yardage game.

Also, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins left Sunday’s game late with a back injury. There may be some more information on his status later in the week.