Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Are The Oakland Raiders Mishandling Jacoby Ford?


In 2010, then-rookie Jacoby Ford burst onto the NFL scene as a playmaking wide receiver with a penchant for tough catches in traffic, and an electric return man capable of taking it the distance at any moment. Three times that year he turned kickoffs into Oakland Raider touchdowns, and he posted 470 receiving yards and two more scores despite not seeing a target in the passing game until week 7.

My, how things change.

Injury plagued the receiver for the two seasons that followed; but according to coaches and Ford himself, he is now fully healthy.

And entirely disappointing.

We can speculate that maybe there aren’t enough opportunities in the offense for him, (he has only been targeted 10 times in 7 games) but in order to earn more opportunities you have to do something with the ones that you get.

Ford has taken those 10 targets and turned them into 8 catches for a not-so-grand total of 52 yards. A measly 6.5 yards per reception won’t help a player’s case for a larger role in any offense. His struggles culminated in a frustrating performance this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, in which Jacoby fumbled the ball every time he touched it.

It’s difficult to diagnose the issue here: he could be less than 100% healthy, he could have permanent damage from injury that is hindering his performance, he could be struggling to get back in the swing of things mentally; I personally think that he appears to simply be trying to do too much.

Whatever the case may be, I feel as though the coaches have done their part to this point as far as putting him in a position to succeed. He has gotten opportunities in the return game, and they have designed plays on offense to get him the ball in space where he can put his quickness and blazing speed to use; he just hasn’t done it.

There is hope however, that he can get back on track. I think it’s important to remember that for the better part of the past two years he has been rehabbing injuries, and that it can take time to really get back to a prime football state physically, and mentally as well.

His game-changing potential will prevent the Raiders’ staff from putting him on the shelf just yet, but the well of opportunity is not endless in the National Football League. And Jacoby Ford can count on that well running dry if he can’t turn it around by year’s end.

Tags: Jacoby Ford Oakland Raiders

  • Bob

    Ford is not helping the team. The Raiders should just deactivate him for the rest of the year and since the OC can’t get Reece involved in the offense, let Reece return Punts/Kicks. I’m tired of this crap.

  • Fernando Maestas

    If the Raiders current staff took a look at film of the 2010, they would find that they are using Ford wrong in every facit and are going to force the Raider Nation to give up on him. First of all, Ford is a KR, not a PR and he made all his special teams plays as a KR. I’m a season ticket, die hard and ill be the one to say, Ford never returned PR for the Raiders… Even in Clemson, Spiller returned PR. Second,.. Fords most production came from the bomb and from reverses… You can’t even count on 1 finger how many times we have tried either play. The bubble screens will work but not if its the only thing you do with the guy. Yes, we have thrown slants to Ford and he did drop one vs Colts but other than that, he hasn’t gotten much opportunity…., the two types of plays are the only plays Ford has been dialed up to do. Quick fix? Put Ford back on KR as primary with Hayden as #2 and put Phillip Adams back as the PR primary. as WR, Raiders need to look at how Denver is using Welker and how KC is using McCluster. For the quick in-house answer, DA should just go and ask Al Saunders… He’s the one that had Ford playing at a high level and he’s still with the Raiders.

  • Jacob Steele

    Excellent points. He would probably be more effective if he was on the field for some plays that are not designed to get him the ball as well. Defenses immediately know to key on him.

  • Fernando Maestas

    That’s exactly what happens. The fake reverse to him that DMac kept, Ford would have been running a while

  • Greg Morain

    I agree with the ideas that Ford is not being used in the right way and that he is trying to do too much when he gets the chances. Many other good points were made. I’m just thinking that much of Jacoby’s problem comes from having an injured Offensive Line. Jacoby Ford excels with plays that take some time to develop and, so far, Pryor hasn’t had much time to be patient before having to improvise. When Pryor gets more protection Ford will get more yards. They should definitely put Jacoby on KR duty and soon.
    The defense has improved beyond anyone’s hopes this year. If the offense can improve a similar amount next year we’ll be looking at playoffs. This year? Not having a losing record would be great; Going 9&7 would be amazing. We’re on the way to being relevant again, no doubt.

  • Jacob Steele

    Sounds great! I think some quick slants etc. would be a better way to get him in to a rhythm than screens. Let him make some easy catches for positive yards and get his confidence back up. Once his swagger returns, then you can feed him screens and he should be able to burn them all once again. Great thoughts, thanks for sharing!