Josh McDaniels

If Anyone Knows Great RBs, It’s Raiders HC Josh McDaniels

Say what you will about Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels, but if there’s one thing he knows, it’s great running backs. One development that should excite Raider Nation moving forward is the prospect of now having arguably the best player at his position in Josh Jacobs.

Josh Jacobs is one of the few things that has gone right for Josh McDaniels

In a season that got off to an underwhelming start, finding some positives was tough. However, Jacobs has emerged as a superstar, the NFL even made him the face of their social media on Twitter this week. While speaking to the media earlier this week, McDaniels spoke on Jacobs and his toughness and durability, the latter of which was a concern coming this season.

“I’ve said this many times: He practices great. I would say this, the great players that I’ve been around, they’re that way for a reason. And they love football; they study it. They prepare hard. They practice like they’re playing. And they’re durable; they’re out there every day. They’re available for their team. I mean, that’s what this guy is. He’s tough as they come, takes a lot of hits, keeps coming, and plays his best in the second half almost every week.”

McDaniels can recognize the great ones

Much of what McDaniels says could be dismissed as compliments to Jacobs, but there is an underlying theme here. McDaniels, in his time as an offensive coordinator in the NFL for almost a generation, has coached some of the best at Jacobs’ position.

  • 2008, Patriots OC: Sammy Morris – 727 yards, Kevin Faulk – 507 yards
  • 2011, Rams OC: Steven Jackson – 1,145 yards, Cadillac Williams – 361 yards
  • 2012, Patriots OC: Steven Ridley – 1,263 yards
  • 2016, Patriots OC: LeGarrette Blount – 1,161 yards
  • 2018, Patriots OC: Sony Michel – 931 yards, James White – 425 yards

Looking at his track record, it certainly lends weight to his comments about his current running back, especially the ones about durability and preparation.

Raiders fans can take solace in knowing Jacobs has truly emerged as an elite player this year, thanks in part to coaching. Within that coaching comes trust and a willingness to adjust to what you have in front of you. Many in the media swore that McDaniels was going to implement his “running back by committee” model. That might’ve been the plan up until Jacobs decided to take matters into his own hands. Being used more creatively than he ever was under former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden also helps. Let’s face it, running the ball like it was 1998 didn’t do much for Jacobs in terms of health; he was consistently banged up.

Better than ever… 

Jacobs was good before McDaniels landed with the Raiders; no one’s disputing that. All the same, No. 28 has already eclipsed his previous season totals for rushing yards with 1,159. A lot of this is a scheme tailored to Jacobs. Oh, yes, you can certainly make the argument that he’s bailed out McDaniels on more than one occasion. Sunday was one of those times. Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see if this front office takes a different approach to the running back position. Will they pay the man?

*Top Photo: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sports Wire

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