Running back Josh Jacobs made it very clear in Week 1 that he was not a one-hit-wonder for the Las Vegas Raiders. While everybody knew he could run the ball, he showed off that he could make an impact in the passing game, as well. He’s the team’s best offensive player and is making the case that he’s one of the five best running backs in the NFL.
Jason Witten spent almost two decades with the Dallas Cowboys and played with some excellent running backs. Week 1 was the first time he saw Jacobs play live and he was impressed, to say the least.
“The first thing I would say is the stage isn’t too big for him,” Witten said of Jacobs. “I mean, he wants to carry that workload. When I think of some of my experiences over my career with some great backs or just around the league and watching it, you know, all the great ones, they want the ball. They want to carry that workload of no preseason going on the road … and you can’t give it to him enough. Great vision … his body’s compact, he’s physical. He’s a better athlete than probably what I thought.”
Witten Talks About Jacobs’ ‘Rare’ Ability
Witten didn’t stop there with the praise. Over his brief career, Jacobs has become known as a guy who is very difficult to tackle. Witten detailed why he’s able to be so effective as a runner.
“I think the rare thing about him is his ability to kind of tempo his runs to allow the blockers to get to the second level and then make his cuts,” Witten said. “I think a lot of great backs just hit it. He’s got great patience … it’s hard for them to take him down so he’s the real deal, he’s a dual-threat and he’s a smart football player.”
Jacobs was among the league leaders in broken tackles last despite not being particularly big. He’s got the luxury of playing behind an elite offensive line but he’s also great in the open field.
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Jacobs Talks Improvements as a Receiver
Heading into his rookie year, it was expected that Jacobs would see the ball quite a bit as a receiver. That wasn’t the case as he only caught 20 balls last season. He talked a lot in the offseason about how he wanted to improve as a receiver and he made an impact through the air against the Panthers. He credited one of his teammates for his improvements.
“I did a lot more of not putting myself in a running back aspect but like a receiver,” Jacobs said recently. “Whether it was going outside in the slot and actually learning how to get off a release, stemming the guy and learning leverage and all the different kind of things like that. And then watching Hunter [Renfrow] on his choice routes, just how creative he is and just try to put it in. Find what I like and make it my own.”
If Jacobs can become a reliable receiver, he’s going to be one of the best and most dynamic weapons in the NFL.