Raiders: It is time for Josh Jacobs to take the next step forward
In 2021, the Raiders added Kenyan Drake, a former top running back to take the load off of Jacobs, but again, Jacobs was bothered by injuries and poor offensive line play and limped his way to less than 1,000 yards on a mediocre 4.0 yards per carry.
Jacobs’ saving grace may have been his late-season surge. He seemed to get healthy and run angrily. Jacobs’ only two 100+ yard games came late in the season against the Broncos and Chargers where he rushed 27 times for 129 yards and 26 times for 132 yards, respectively.
Jacobs also ran 13 times for 83 yards in the playoff game against the Bengals, including a 35-yard scamper, his longest run in over 2 years. Jacobs also clearly benefited from his offensive line playing better. That end-of-season stretch truly showed Jacobs’s potential, averaging 4.8, 5.1, and 6.3 yards per carry in those performances. The Raiders will need those performances from Jacobs this season.
Jacobs should have plenty of motivation this season. Despite new head coach Josh McDaniels talking up Jacobs early in the offseason, saying how interested the Patriots were in Jacobs in the 2019 draft, the Raiders declined his 5th-year option. The team also drafted two running backs and signed Brandon Bolden while bringing back Kenyan Drake. There will be a lot of mouths to feed in the Raiders backfield this season, but McDaniels seems inclined to run Jacobs a ton.