During his coaching career, Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels has been around many NFL running backs. However, the 47-year-old recently stated that Josh Jacobs is the best player he’s coached at the position. When looking at McDaniels’ time with the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots, is it a wild take for the Raiders coach to say?
Meanwhile, the bold opinions surrounding the Silver and Black don’t stop there. NFL Network’s Steve Smith Sr. recently stated that Aidan O’Connell will take over the starting job from Jimmy Garoppolo this 2023 season. The 25-year-old has impressed during the preseason, so he has momentum.
Let’s get into the latest surrounding the Raiders as the new season nears…
Josh McDaniels has high praise for Josh Jacobs
The Alabama product is back on the Las Vegas squad and ready to defend his rushing title. After a long offseason dealing with the financial side of football, now it’s time to focus on what’s occurring on the field.
McDaniels has worked with running backs that have helped the Patriots win multiple Super Bowls. Nonetheless, the Raiders coach notes that none of the players on his championship-winning offense come close to Jacobs. So that’s why McDaniels is likely happy to have him in the backfield, knowing that the team has playoff aspirations.
“I’ve said the same thing the entire spring [and] into the summer,” Josh McDaniels said during the 2023 Raiders Season Preview Show. “I love the player, and I love the person, and he’s come back ready to go, which I figured he would [and] jumped right back in, and you just see the impact that he makes right away. It’s just different.
“He’s the best back that I’ve been around, and I’ve been coaching for 23 years, so he’s a special player. He’s a special guy. He has a special impact on our team when he’s here.”
Jacobs can hit the ground running in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos. While it’s high praise from McDaniels toward his star, the two-time Pro Bowler will come highly motivated to show he’s worth his one-year salary and a long-term contract.
Whether it is a confidence booster or not, it does speak to the 25-year-old’s current form and potential. Josh Jacobs is entering the prime years of his NFL career, and if he has another season with over 1,600 rushing yards and 10-plus touchdowns, the Raiders star will be fighting for the “best running back” in the league title.
Will Aidan O’Connell become the Raiders starting QB in 2023?
O’Connell’s stock rose this preseason as he pushes to climb the depth chart. Now, many will assume that the Purdue product can be QB2 behind Garoppolo. However, Smith believes the veteran will have to look over his shoulder this season and perform well on the field.
The NFL analyst provided a bold take that O’Connell will start under center for the Silver and Black. Garoppolo lost his starting job in 2022 to Brock Purdy after he suffered a regular-season-ending foot injury. Purdy would lead the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC Championship Game.
“Will this be two years in a row that Jimmy Garoppolo loses his starting job to a rookie?” Smith told NFL Network’s James Palmer when asked to offer up a bold take for this season. “You asked me [and] I’m just telling. Two years in a row.”
It’s understandable if “Jimmy G” loses his job due to injury because that’s the NFL. How many players across the league have secured a starting position because of an unfortunate injury? But that’s how this sport works sometimes. Nonetheless, if O’Connell takes the starting job due to poor play, the Raiders’ season could spiral downward.
So, what do you think, Raiders fans? Will the team see O’Connell at some point this season taking over for Garoppolo?
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Rick Scuteri