All signs point to the Las Vegas Raiders trying to establish a dominant power run game in 2021. So, the question becomes, will this be the catalyst that drives the organization back into the playoffs?
Depending on who you talk to, the Raiders’ offensive line either became more athletic or simply took a step backward. This stems from the bevy of moves that the organization accomplished this offseason. Most notably, the team moved on from Rodney Hudson, Gabe Jackson, and Trent Brown. Then, the Raiders’ brain trust determined that Kenyan Drake was worth signing, giving themselves a true one-two punch at running back. In order to establish a dominant run game, Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock decided a younger, faster, and overall, more flexible unit was needed in the trenches. With OTAs underway, the offensive line’s already looking drastically different, but what does that mean for Jacobs and Drake?
Jacobs and Drake will add another dimension to the Raiders
A lot of the Raiders’ success will hinge on how well Tom Cable can mold the offensive line. This not only goes for the running backs but for Derek Carr as well. Last year, the team’s run game prowess took a hit. This was mostly caused by injuries and certain players starting to lose a step. However, moving on from so many pieces in one fell swoop can backfire as well. This means Jacobs and Drake could be heavily relied upon, especially in the early going.
We know Jacobs’ physical running style has helped him total 2,215 rushing yards in just two seasons. Jacobs also has 46 broken tackles so far in his career, averaging 13.7 rushing attempts per broken tackle in 2020. Nonetheless, Jacobs is more than just a bruiser as Pro Football Focus recently stated.
“Jacobs has been one of the league’s most elusive runners over the past two seasons, forcing 120 forced missed tackles on the ground, the third-most in the league.”
Drake’s addition means the passing offense will have a running back that can be relied on out of the backfield. Not only that, but Drake possesses the speed and ability to line up outside, giving Gruden flexibility in how he approaches the run game. To his credit, Drake totaled 589 yards after the catch these past two years, obviously, he’ll help to move the chains in more ways than one. While the Raiders won’t be running it up the middle every down, the team will feature a speedy, powerful, and downright imposing running back duo. They didn’t crack PFF’s top ten list of NFL running back duos for no reason.
*Top Photo: Naomi Baker/Getty Images