Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive lineman Denzelle Good was the unsung hero of Week 1.
The Las Vegas Raiders were able to pull off the victory in Week 1 holding on late to defeat the Carolin Panthers by a final score of 34-40. And while there were many standouts, the true unsung hero was offensive lineman Denzelle Good.
The likes of Josh Jacobs and Henry Ruggs shined on offense. Johnathan Abram looked good in his on-field return. But when all was set and done, the man that deserves the most credit was a player who wasn’t even supposed to play.
Good entered Sunday’s season-opener as the top backup guard on the Raiders’ roster. But with Gabe Jackson and Richie Incognito playing the entire game, it was at an unlikely position where he made an impact.
Starting right tackle Trent Brown went down with a calf injury after just three snaps. Following the trad of David Sharpe and the decision to leave Brandon Parker inactive, that meant that veteran Sam Young was next-in-line.
Unfortunately, disaster struck when Young was injured just 15 offensive snaps later. Without another tackle dressed for the game, the versatile Good was thrown into the starting lineup at a position he hadn’t played all summer.
And he played significantly better than anyone could have anticipated.
The Raiders must have been impressed with Denzelle Good’s surprising performance.
Good played the final 45 snaps of Sunday’s game holding down the fort and finishing with a respectable 59.1 Pro Football Focus grade. Even more impressive is that his 68.7 pass-blocking grade finished in the top half of all qualified tackles.
This coming from a player who hadn’t played any sort of offensive tackle in years and wasn’t even considered a starting-caliber player.
That’s incredibly impressive.
Good provided valuable depth for the Raiders in 2019 starting five games in place of the likes of Jackson and Incognito. He does have experience playing tackle in the past and it’s his versatility that’s kept him in the league this long.
But he’s exclusively been a guard over the last couple of years with the Raiders. To see him step into what was essentially a starting role and play as well as he did is downright unheard of.
The talk of the game will be Jacobs’ three rushing touchdowns or the effectiveness of the new-look Raiders offense.
But in reality, the unheralded hero that will go unappreciated is Denzelle Good.