The Las Vegas Raiders' offensive line gets a lot of credit for the talent at all five starting positions, but it's been Denzelle Good who has turned heads.
Last season, Good played in 16 games for the Silver and Black, but he started five crucial games at left guard for the team and performed admirably; however, with a healthy unit of Kolton Miller, Richie Incognito, Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Trent Brown entering this season, he was prepared to take a backseat despite his productive performances a season ago.
Days away from the first game of the season, incumbent tackle Trent Brown appeared on the injury report with a calf issue, and just moments into the first drive of Week 1, he was forced to exit the game. When Good was asked to fill in last season it was at left guard, something he feels comfortable with, but the coaching staff asked him to step up in Brown's stead. The tackle spot was something Good had familiarity with, but it wasn't his favorite and against a young Carolina Panthers pass rush he was put to the test.
He looked like a natural at right tackle.
"It's necessary; you really ain't got no choice," Good joked when asked how he made playing a different position look seamless. "You just have to go out there, put your head down and go to work, but being that I had experience on the outside made it easy to dip back into that. Guard is kind of what I'm naturally now, so I felt good coming off of last year. I felt like I ended the season pretty well playing left guard and going back to tackle was an adventure, but I'll do it if I have to."
In the weeks since, Brown's continued to deal with ailments, as well as left guard Richie Incognito, causing Good to transition back and forth between the two positions and done so without becoming complacent. Good hasn't earned the recognition as a Pro Bowler or elite lineman in the league like his fellow linemen, but he's played so well his teammates and coaches are declaring him an early candidate for team MVP.
"He's been sensational," Coach Gruden told reporters Wednesday. "Today we go out there, Kolton [Miller] didn't practice, Gabe [Jackson] was limited. We did a good job resting Rodney [Hudson]. Trent obviously is out. [Richie] Incognito has been out. Denzelle could probably play all four, five positions. He might be able to play two at a time if we need him too. He's been great. Doesn't say a word. Low maintenance or no maintenance. Real pro's pro. We're happy to have him."
In the two seasons Good has been a member of the Silver and Black, he's gone about his business, as Coach Gruden put it, like a pro's pro. He doesn't need the national accolades that so many players covet; he's content with the support and approval of his teammates because to him, they're all that matters.
"It's been great, man," Good said Wednesday when asked about his tenure with the Raiders thus far. "I feel like I'm a respected part of this team. The coaches know what they expect out of me and they know what kind of player I am, and what I can bring to the table. You never want to see one of your teammates get hurt, but it's a part of the NFL 100 percent, so you just have to prepare for it as best as you can and I feel like we've done a good job, Cable and the offensive line, being prepared for any situation."
With so many questions still regarding the health of Incognito and Brown, Good will continue to serve an important role, even when they return to the field. His presence might be overlooked, but his actions are certainly felt.
Take a look back at the Las Vegas Raiders' photo department's favorite images of the Silver and Black from October of the 2020 season.