Can The Broncos Replicate Their Run Defense Efforts Against Josh Jacobs?

The Las Vegas Raiders are heading to Denver to take on their AFC West rival this Sunday. Needless to say, both teams have largely been disappointments this season. After going 10-7 last year, the Silver and Black are trending towards the top pick at next year’s NFL Draft. However, there’s still much football to be played. Against the Broncos, you’d hope head coach Josh McDaniels would unload Josh Jacobs and wear down their defense. All the same, Ejiro Evero’s unit shut down Tennessee Titans superstar Derrick Henry recently; can they replicate that success?

Raiders Blog: Can Josh Jacobs Repeat His Week 4 Success vs. The Broncos?

The Broncos’ defense has been hog-tied by their offense all season long. It’s a shame considering the ridiculously talented defense they possess, but that’s neither here nor there. Their gameplan going up against Henry was executed to perfection, and as a result, he had one of his worst outings this season. Averaging under three yards per rushing attempt (2.8), while amassing just 53 yards on the ground, “King Henry” was effectively neutralized.

The NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger showed how the Broncos were able to contain Henry this past Sunday.

They took out Henry’s ability to cause havoc on the outside by shutting down the edge. By doing so, they forced him to go inside, where he was stopped. Like Baldinger said, it was a team effort. No one individual can take Henry out. With Jacobs coming to town, the Broncos are facing another downhill bruising running back.

Linebacker Josey Jewell of the Broncos recently discussed the upcoming task of slowing down Jacobs.

“The Titans ran a lot of the stuff that Vegas actually did to us just this last game, especially the first time we played them this year. There’s still some small stuff. The ‘Counter O’ and stuff like that. They love a lot of their gap schemes with the Raiders and with Jacobs. They also like the ‘Lead,’ and the Titans did run that a couple of times and they put their tight end back there as a fullback. We got to see a couple of different things that the Raiders [enjoyed doing] last time, and we got pretty close to perfecting them.”

What should Josh McDaniels do?

After an incredible stretch of games where Jacobs compiled 140-plus rushing yards in three straight games, his production nosedived. Despite totaling 78 yards against the Indianapolis Colts, Jacobs’ 3.7 yards per carry is a far cry from what he was averaging at one point. A lot is attributed to McDaniels’ game plan, especially last Sunday as he dialed up Davante Adams early and often. At this point, you just don’t know what you’re going to get from the besieged coach. If he goes to Jacobs early and the Broncos repeat their efforts as they did against Henry, McDaniels might abandon the run game yet again.

For a team that’s just trying to get back into the win column (forget the playoffs), establishing the run and grinding one out with Jacobs would be a smart plan. The less time the Raiders’ defense is on the field, the better chance this team has to win. Slow things down, open things up in the middle with Andre James and Co., and give yourself a chance.

Derek Carr Remains Confident In Raiders’ Ability To Turn It Around

*Top Photo: AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann

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