The Las Vegas Raiders agreed to a one-year deal with Josh Jacobs before the regular season began. This compromise brought an end to a nearly year-long stalemate between both sides. Since returning to the locker room, Jacobs has had a smile that will not come off his face. I would probably feel the same if $12 million had just hit my bank account, too.
Josh Jacobs Looked Rusty vs. The Broncos; But Don’t Sound The Alarms Yet
However, the time that Jacobs took off during negotiations has added rust that he’s still trying to work off. In the team’s Week 1 victory vs. Denver, the 2022 All-Pro looked a step slower than his past self. Granted, the Broncos’ defensive line was bullying the Raiders at the line of scrimmage, not allowing Jacobs to shake free often.
But still, even on the plays where the Alabama product got running lanes, it didn’t quite look like the Josh Jacobs we are accustomed to seeing. That is, at least not as a pure runner.
In arguably his best play of the afternoon, Jacobs picked up an oncoming blitzer as they made a beeline for Garoppolo in the backfield. The star running back’s block allowed Jimmy G to scurry for a game-clinching first down. Jacobs also chipped in two catches for 23 yards, showcasing his ever-improving passing-down sets.
His 2.5 yards per carry (19 attempts for 48 yards) will not cut it over the course of an entire season, but I feel it’s important to look at these numbers with context. The Broncos put 8+ defenders in the box a whopping 31.58% of Jacobs’ rushing attempts. Even if Jacobs kept his body in top-tier condition while away from the Raiders, there is always an adjustment period to NFL defenses.
Jacobs, The Raiders Have A Tough Task Ahead vs. The Bills In Week 2
Unfortunately, the Buffalo Bills are next on the docket for Vegas. As the team travels to the East Coast, things won’t get any easier in the rushing department. The Bills front seven is a force and has cemented itself as one of the better units in the league.
But Josh Jacobs and his upstart Raiders will take that challenge head-on. At this point, it would be foolish to count the 25-year-old out based on one matchup after a lengthy holdout.
*Top Photo: Raiders.com