The Las Vegas Raiders have gotten disappointing performances from Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller to start the season but that’s been easy to deal with considering Josh Jacobs has been unstoppable for half of the year. He didn’t break out until Week 4 against the Denver Broncos but he’s arguably been the team’s best player since then. Over the previous three games, he has combined for 441 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
The Raiders made headlines in the offseason when they declined Jacobs’ fifth-year option and drafted his expected replacement in Zamir White. His recent play could have the team regretting their decisions. According to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, a team source believes that giving Jacobs a multi-year contract is a “no-brainer” decision.
Las Vegas already gave big contracts to Davante Adams, Derek Carr, Waller and Renfrow this offseason. Can they afford to also pay Jacobs a sizable contract? That remains to be seen but he’s certainly making the case that he deserves to be paid.
McDaniels Relying on Jacobs More Than He Has Other RBs
The New England Patriots dynasty that Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels was part of was not known for having elite running backs. There were plenty of running backs like James White, Kevin Faulk and LeGarrette Blount, who were important to the team winning but the only star running back that played for the Patriots during their dynasty was Corey Dillon. He retired in 2006 and was only part of one of the championship teams.
New England has typically taken the running back-by-committee when McDaniels was running the offense but that hasn’t been the case with the Raiders. Jacobs has taken a 92.3% of the team’s carries. McDaniels spoke about what’s different with Jacobs and why he’s changed his philosophy this season.
“You’re right – in my history, we’ve used different backs, I would say, differently, and maybe had more of a rotation,” McDaniels said Wednesday. “When we had Corey Dillon back in the early 2000s, that was a little different. We featured him a lot and gave him the ball a bunch. Sony, when he was a rookie, had [almost] 1,000 yards and was pretty productive. But by and large, I think that was something that we chose to do.
“In this case, the one thing that hasn’t happened is [Jacobs] hasn’t [averaged] 25 carries [per game]. … The first few games of the season we really fell out of balance a little bit, so the wear and tear on him was pretty minimal, honestly, because we were behind, and we threw the ball a lot. So, we’ll keep our eyes on that as we go through the year, but I think the players really earn what they get.”
Jacobs Talks Improvement in Numbers
Jacobs has always been a good runner of the football but the team’s offensive line has failed him over the last two seasons. While the Raiders’ current offensive line still has issues in pass protection, they are showing major improvement in the run game. Jacobs praised the offensive line for making his job a lot easier.
“It’s the first time in a long time where I’ve had four to five yards without being touched by anybody,” Jacobs said Sunday. “Man, I love the fight in them guys. … Sometimes, they motivate me. They get up, they be yelling and stuff when I get a run. I’m like, ‘OK, they’re turning me up in the middle of a play.’ So, I mean, it’s just been a fun, interesting ride.”