After Josh Jacobs revealed that he suffered a fractured shoulder in Week 7, it was looking like it was possible the Oakland Raiders would shut him down for the season. Considering the team is pretty much out of playoff contention, there didn’t seem to be any point to put him on the field if he wasn’t fully healthy. Jon Gruden refused to give an update on Monday, but now NFL Network’s Ian Rappoport is reporting some positive news.
Based on his MRI, it’s looking like the running back has healed up quite well. The Raiders definitely need him, so this is a positive step in trying to finish the season over .500. Now, it’s not a sure thing he’s going to play, but it’s good news that he’s not suffering significant shoulder damage. Head coach Jon Gruden also had a chance to address the reports after Wednesday’s practice.
“I’m glad the reports say that,” Gruden said when asked about Jacobs. “I wasn’t totally aware of all the facts, but I do know that Rod Martin has cleared him to practice, and we’ll see what happens in the next couple days. It doesn’t mean he’s going to play, but I’m glad the reports are positive.”
Jacobs was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday’s walkthrough.
“I just listen to the medical staff and Josh, and today he’s made some improvement but he still has to go out there and move explosively tomorrow, Friday, and do the things that a running back has to do to play in this league and protect himself in this league,” Gruden said. “We’ll see what happens in the next 48 hours.”
Still the Rookie of the Year Favorite?
If he returns to the field, Jacobs should still be considered the favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Kyler Murray is his only real competition, but his team being on a six-game losing streak doesn’t help his odds. He still has solid stats for a rookie. However, a team’s win-loss record would reflect more on a quarterback than a running back. Plus, Jacobs has played like one of the best running backs in the league, not just rookies.
He was the first Raiders rookie to rush for over 1,000 yards and he could still add a lot more. The team has also been campaigning hard for him to win. The only way Jacobs doesn’t win the award is if he doesn’t play in the last three games. The 2019 NFL Draft Class hasn’t yielded many impressive offensive rookies outside of Jacobs and he could even still have a shot at winning if he doesn’t play the rest of the season.
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The Final Game in Oakland
The Raiders trying to get Jacobs back on the field for the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday makes sense considering it’s the final game they’re playing in Oakland. The Jaguars have one of the worst run defenses in the NFL and Jacobs should eat them alive if he plays. The team leaving Oakland on a high note would be the best thing they could do for fans after an uneven season. Plus, 7-9 just feels a lot better than 6-10.
Fortunately for the Raiders, their matchup against Jacksonville is much more favorable than the one with the Tennessee Titans. There may not be a team that is hotter in football right now that Mike Vrabel’s team. On the flip side, the only team that might be colder than the Raiders is the Jaguars. They’ve been blown out in five straight games and Gardner Minshew doesn’t look like he can recapture the magic he had earlier in the season. This might be the biggest must-win of the season for the Raiders. Losing to a team as bad as the Jaguars are in front of their home crowd during the last game in Oakland will leave a really bad taste in the mouths of fans heading into Las Vegas next year.