Josh Jacobs’ development could be missing piece for loaded Raiders

Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Josh Jacobs #28 of the Las Vegas Raiders (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images) /

Building a well-balanced team has become the mission for franchises during the off-season. Time away from exhibition games allows coaches to take a closer look at the depth chart. Josh McDaniels and his Las Vegas Raiders staff have worked diligently. It shows on their roster.

As the team progresses towards the regular season, talents like Hunter Renfrow, Ameer Abdullah, and Davante Adams work on finding roles in Josh McDaniels’ scheme.

While new arrivals get acclimated to the Las Vegas scenery, players like Josh Jacobs work hard to keep their starting role. Will a new coach at the helm cost a former first-round pick his starting role on offense?

Josh Jacobs can become an All-Purpose back

Maintaining balance on offense has become difficult for coordinators throughout the league. As the game experiences its innovations, coaches must find ways to keep the advantage. Adjusting to the league’s newest play style has caused a shortage in rushing yards for rising tailbacks – including Las Vegas’ fourth-year rusher.

Finding success on the ground was not an issue for the former Alabama bruiser during his rookie season. His 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns finished 8th among rushers in 2019. Increasing his touchdown total from seven to twelve in 2020, gave the Raiders fan base hope towards a promising future.

Production on the ground became harder to find for Jacobs in his third season with the team. At the end of 2021, No.28 finished with 872 yards rushing – 193 yards short total from the prior season. Jacobs also had 56 fewer carries last season – which contributed to his rushing shortage.

Raiders want to use Josh Jacobs more in passing schemes

Incorporating versatile running backs into the offensive scheme will be the focus for Mick Lombardi in the upcoming season. Glimpses of Las Vegas’ “check down” offense during pre-season play have shown analysts what is to come during the regular season. Backs like Kenyan Drake and Brittain Brown have made the most of their pre-season opportunities – but how will Jacobs’ skillset fit into the picture?

Yards after catch have not come easy for No.28 during his career. After three seasons with the Raiders, Jacobs has failed to record a touchdown reception. His 752 career receiving yards are appetizing on the stat sheet but have failed to help the Raiders progress on offense.

Derek Carr and the Raiders offense will have an impressive year through the air this season. Acquiring Davante Adams from the Green Bay Packers has made the team even more of a threat for the upcoming season. In 2021, Las Vegas ranked 6th in total passing yards – averaging 268 yards per game in the air.

Using Josh Jacobs as the starting back will help the Raiders’ chances of clinching a playoff berth. In seasons prior, Jacob has proven he can withstand a healthy rushing load. If No.28 develops a skillset for making plays in the passing game, Las Vegas will be the team to beat in the AFC West.