Oakland Raiders right guard Gabe Jackson was finally able to make his return to practice after missing the first five games of the 2019 NFL season with a knee injury.
Jackson had sustained the injury during a joint practice session with the Los Angeles Rams prior to the start of the preseason. Despite the severity of the injury, the Raiders opted to keep him on the roster rather than placing him on injured reserve that would have kept him out for at least eight weeks.
His return to practice is certainly an encouraging sign regarding his status for Week 7 versus the Green Bay Packers. It appears Oakland’s optimism may be well-rewarded.
Jackson was admittedly excited to be back in action, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports:
“I feel pretty good,” Jackson said Monday. “I’m excited to be back with my brothers. It has been a long time.”
Jackson added that he has high hopes for this team moving forward, and the offensive line, in particular:
“I think we could be even better,” Jackson said. “If everybody stays the course and grinds it out, I think we could be pretty good.”
Jackson’s excitement is certainly understandable considering how well the Raiders have played to start the year. They managed to enter their bye on a high note with back-to-back wins and will be looking to pick up where they left off with an extra week of rest.
Oakland’s offensive line struggled to fill the void left by Jackson up front early on. After multiple failed experiments, they finally settled on backup Denzelle Good and he has since managed to establish himself as a viable replacement in between center Rodney Hudson and right tackle Trent Brown.
Given how well this group has played in Jackson’s absence, the Raiders can continue to take a careful approach with his return if he is not feeling 100% by the time their matchup with the Packers rolls around. At this point, they can afford to take some precautions in order to prevent any further aggravation of his knee injury.
Regardless, it is safe to say that head coach Jon Gruden is looking forward to having his offensive line nearly back to full strength. Gruden has not been shy about expressing his affinity for establishing the run and having Jackson back should only help to clear up more running lanes for running back Josh Jacobs.
If Jackson is unable to play against Green Bay, his activity in practice indicates he will be back no later than Week 8 against the Houston Texans.