Fewer Reps: Gabe Jackson
Oakland has been pretty stout up front this season, however, Jackson appears to be the weak link. Ever since returning from injury, he hasn’t looked the same and has already tied his career-high for sacks allowed with five despite missing six weeks. According to OverTheCap.com, the Raiders can move on from the big man’s contract without sacrificing cap space, so his days may be numbered.
If the team is going to move on, it would make sense to use the next two games to evaluate the other options on the roster. Given Jackson’s declining performance and contract situation, it’s hard to argue that he should be on the field and it feels like the organization is just delaying the inevitable by rolling him out there.
More Reps: Andre James
While his natural position is center, James could easily shift over to guard which many backup offensive linemen are asked to do. This would give the undrafted rookie a chance to show off his versatility and begin to make his case to make for next year’s roster. As mentioned above, this could be Jackson’s last season with the team, so the coaching staff needs to start evaluating who can replace the six-year starter.
James fared well in the preseason and was able to get some experience during Rodney Hudson’s brief absence but ultimately, the sample size is too small to really asses the former UCLA Bruin’s performance. The best way to solve that problem is to give him more reps and see how it goes.