The biggest question for the Las Vegas Raiders throughout training camp has been the status of star running back Josh Jacobs. The NFL’s leading rusher last season, Jacobs was hit with the franchise tag which he has yet to sign and thus has not reported to Raiders training camp yet.
It has been unclear whether or not Jacobs would ultimately sign the tag and join the Raiders before the season begins and there were rumors that the back could choose to extend this holdout into the regular season. But now with the preseason winding down, perhaps the time for Jacobs’ return is near.
According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jacobs is expected to return to the Raiders before the start of the regular season:
Running back Josh Jacobs is expected to report to the Raiders before their season opener in three weeks, multiple league sources have indicated.
This is huge news for the Raiders and a major positive should he indeed return before the regular season. Jacobs would make a potentially explosive Raiders offense complete, giving new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a top-tier backfield option to go along with the team’s impressive group of pass catchers led by Davante Adams.
Head coach Josh McDaniels would undoubtedly love for Jacobs to be back on the practice field as well and preferably with plenty of time to get in full game shape:
“I think that it’s important for every player,” McDaniels said. “This is the National Football League, so it’s not easy to go out there and just play games and do it at the speed and level that you want to do it at, unless you’ve really kind of had enough opportunity to get yourself ready to do that.”
Jacobs is known as an extremely hard worker who is undoubtedly in great shape, but great shape and great football shape are not the same. It is impossible to simulate NFL game speed and contact without being in practice and having the pads on, and McDaniels wants Jacobs to be at his best assuming he does return to the Raiders soon.
This season is intended to be a bounce-back one for the Raiders, and Jacobs is a major piece of the team’s potential success. Getting him back and ready to go for the season opener will give the Raiders the best chance to open the season on a high note against the Broncos.