Continuity was an evasive notion for the 2019 Raiders.
After Johnathan Abram was injured in the first game of the regular season, the situation at safety took some time to sort out, as did the state of the team's cornerbacks.
The amount of wide receivers on and off the Raiders' roster was well documented from training camp until Week 17, but following a key signing on Monday afternoon, Head Coach Jon Gruden is hopeful that the ever-elusive continuity will come to at least one area of the roster in 2020, the team's offensive line.
"It's huge," Gruden said Monday when asked about the importance of building up some continuity going forward. "Continuity is a word that we'd like to live by here, and it's something that we have struggled to do, obviously, so hopefully, the young tight ends, the young backs, the offensive line – we're starting to collect some pieces in the secondary and on the defensive edge of our defense. Hopefully those guys can play together for four, five years, and that's when I've seen teams really take off and become competitive, really competitive, when they have some continuity."
Well, after appearing in 12 games during his first season as a Raider, Richie Incognito was rewarded with a contract extension following the conclusion of the regular season, keeping him in Silver and Black for the next two years.
"I think he's a big part of this team, and to get Incognito for two more years is big for us," Gruden explained. "He's a leader on this team. He's an excellent player. He has a lot of life in his legs and his body. He has a passion to still keep going, and we think he's one of the best interior players in football, so get him back in there with Rodney, and hopefully a healthy Gabe Jackson, the return of Trent Brown, and Kolton Miller's emergence, it gives us, I think, an offensive line we can really be excited about."
As Gruden noted, with Incognito now locked in at the left guard spot, an offensive line that was already strong in 2019, will hopefully have the chance to grow and get even better going forward.
Not only did the group allow just 29 sacks in 2019 – the eighth-fewest in the league – they also paved the way for Josh Jacobs to rush for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns, and launch himself into the Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation.
Much like the other 31 teams across the league, the Silver and Black will have no shortage of roster questions headed into the offseason, but with the signing of Incognito, the offensive line won't be at the top of the list.