Although the Las Vegas Raiders have raised eyebrows with some of their early picks in recent years, the selection of running back Josh Jacobs in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft has proven to be a much-needed outlier.
Jacobs managed to make an immediate impact as a focal point of this offense his rookie year. Then, he kicked things up a notch with a second straight 1,000-yard season that earned him Pro Bowl honors.
The Raiders are now relying heavily on a balanced attack between Jacobs and quarterback Derek Carr. Fortunately, Carr appears to be more than up to the challenge.
Las Vegas has embraced the playoff expectations that came with their moves this offseason. Carr plans on doing his part to help Jacobs maintain his status as one of the best running backs in the NFL.
“It’s a team game, right? I got to keep putting him in good run looks,” Carr said. “If I stop caring about the run game, that hurts Josh Jacobs. I got to put us in good run looks all the time, that’s my job. Offensive line has to do their part. Alec [Ingold] has got to do his part. The tight ends, the backside blocks by the receivers. Some of the bigger run plays come because receivers are down field blocking. Everything is taken care of and here well the receivers got to go get blocks. We know Josh will show up in shape. We know Josh is going to show up ready to play. He loves football. He’s a great teammate. He’s a great guy to be around and all those things. So, I think the trajectory is going to be as high as all of us together go. As a running back, I mean you watch guys like…you know, I’m not even going to go there because I don’t want someone to ask me about why I think their run game was terrible…but there’s some really good running backs that didn’t run for many yards. And you watch the film and you’re like well it’s no wonder, this guy on this run play never gets that block. There are guys in the backfield, his average is lower because he’s not getting to the line of scrimmage before he’s getting hit. So, it’s an all-encompassing thing, but we believe if we get everything right, if I put us in the run look and everyone can take care of their part, we believe Josh can house some really long runs and be one of the best running backs in the NFL.”
There is certainly plenty of truth to Carr’s comments regarding how the dynamic of the offense relies heavily on him and Jacobs playing at a high level. However, even if most quarterbacks have no problem letting the ball fly if the game plan calls for it, the Raiders are clearly committed to both the run game and the passing game to feed off each other.
This approach helped lead to career years for both of them during the 2020 campaign. Carr’s performance helped solidify him as the right man for the job in the eyes of teammates and coaches. Meanwhile, Jacobs showed that his stellar rookie season was no fluke by putting up numbers behind an injured offensive line.
Although the Raiders went out and sign Kenyan Drake as a complementary option in the backfield, Carr’s praise of Jacobs indicates it will still be a one-man show in the run game.