The Las Vegas Raiders added a bevy of new weapons on offense for quarterback Derek Carr. However, they need to maximize running back Josh Jacobs by getting him involved in the passing game.
By now, everyone knows Jacobs ended up being the Raiders’ crown jewel of the 2019 NFL Draft. The team finally landed a star running back who, barring injury, figures to be a focal point for years to come. Speaking of injury, Jacobs established himself as one of the toughest men on the Raiders. Playing with a shoulder injury for the majority of the season is indicative of such toughness. On top of that, Jacobs finished the 2019 campaign with an 86.9 rushing grade, per Pro Football Focus.
For all the rightful praise that’s bestowed on Jacobs, there’s one conundrum. He was absent from the passing game in his rookie year, is this cause for concern? It depends on what head coach Jon Gruden is planning for his running back this season. It’s possible he won’t see much action in the passing game to lessen some of his snaps, remember he’s coming off an injury that caused him to miss the final stretch of games.
Passing Game Will Be Next Step For Jacobs
If the Raiders want Jacobs to take the next step in greatness, he’ll have to be incorporated into the passing game at some point. During his time at Alabama, Jacobs caught 48 passes for 571 receiving yards and scored five times. In 2019, his final college season, he only caught 20 passes. Obviously Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Gruden’s offenses are different but Jacobs found himself with similar numbers. A total of 20 catches for 166 yards summed up Jacobs’ rookie year.
It shouldn’t surprise Raider Nation if Jacobs does indeed emerge as a passing game threat this season. Let’s not forget Matt Miller of Bleacher Report stated Jacobs had potential in this facet of the offense way back when he was drafted, “Experience as a receiver out of the backfield with soft, natural hands.” The team did bring back Jalen Richard whose specialty is coming out of the backfield, it would seem might be the odd man out if Jacobs soon becomes a complete player and dual-threat running back.
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*Top Photo: Kirby Lee USA TODAY Sports