With injured Richie Incognito out for opener, Las Vegas Raiders' rebuilt offensive line to featur...

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Saturday, September 11, 2021

HENDERSON, Nev. -- The Las Vegas Raiders will face the Baltimore Ravens in Monday night's season opener at Allegiant Stadium with an untested and unproven offensive line after four-time Pro Bowl left guard Richie Incognito was ruled out Saturday with a right calf injury.

Incognito, 38, suffered the injury in a joint practice with the Los Angeles Rams on Aug. 19 and has not practiced since. He will be replaced by John Simpson, a 2020 fourth-round pick who appeared in seven games and started two, with both starts coming at left guard.

"He's a good young prospect," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Simpson. "We're anxious to see our line. 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."

After an offseason that saw Las Vegas trade away center Rodney Hudson, right guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Trent Brown -- and with the injury to Incognito -- the Raiders' starting offensive line will be: left tackle Kolton Miller (a 2018 first-round pick with 46 career starts), left guard Simpson (two starts), center Andre James (first NFL start at center), right guard Denzelle Good (16 starts at right guard) and right tackle Alex Leatherwood (the Raiders' 2021 first-round pick, who will be making his NFL debut).

Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Simpson was the "strongest player on our team, testing-wise, when he came back" for training camp.

"He's gotten a lot of experience and reps because of Richie's injury," Olson said. "So, we feel comfortable there. And again, we talked about the depth that we have in the inside and he provided us with great depth and now he provides us with a starter."

Gruden, meanwhile, said Incognito, who was voted a team captain at the end of training camp, was "getting better" and thought he could be ready for the Week 2 game at the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"But for the time being," Gruden said, "we'll let him get well and hope for the best."

Incognito suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in Week 2 last season. He has played at least 12 snaps in just 13 of 32 games since signing with the Raiders.