ALAMEDA – Gabe Jackson was back at Raiders practice Monday, a sign that the offensive line nearly is whole. The star right guard has been missing since Aug. 8, when he suffered an MCL injury during a joint practice with the LA Rams in Napa.
The Raiders kept him on the roster instead of putting him on injured reserve, hoping they could get him back sooner than a return off IR would allow. That’s certainly possible, whether he’s ready to go Sunday against the Packers or the following week against the Texans.
The Raiders offensive line has been functioning well without him, leading a steadily productive ground game through the early season.
The right side should dominate with Jackson at guard and Trent Brown at tackle, with two surprisingly athletic players for their size. Jackson is a road grader in the run game and is an obvious upgrade over fill-in Denzelle Good.
The Raiders feature Kolton Miller and Richie Incognito on the left and elite center Rodney Hudson in the middle, and Jackson will shore up his area and complete what should be a stout offensive front in the run game and in pass protection.
Isaiah Johnson practice window opens
The Raiders hope rookie cornerback Isaiah Johnson can return off of injured reserve, where he has been since the initial 53-man roster was set. The University of Houston product was back at practice Monday, opening a 21-day window for the Raiders to activate him or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
Johnson suffered a concussion in the preseason opener and a facial injury when he took teammate Marquel Lee’s inadvertent knee to the chin. The facial injury kept him on the shelf and stole precious development time, but the Raiders believe he can be a defensive contributor in time. He should help on special teams right away, considering he was a quality gunner in punt coverage with the Cougars.
Ferrell back, Williams still out
Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell was cleared to practice Monday after missing last week’s game against Chicago while in the NFL’s concussion protocol. That’s a positive sign he’ll be ready to face the Packers and occupy an important role along the defensive front.
Receiver Tyrell Williams remains out with a foot injury, though he was present during practice as a non-participant. Return man Dwayne Harris (ankle) was back in action, though his participation level remains unknown. The Raiders close most of their practice and are not obligated to divulge a practice report on an extra session coming off a bye. The team will issue a participation report Wednesday.