In case anybody forgot, Josh Jacobs proved once again that he’s one of the best young running backs in the NFL. He carried the Las Vegas Raiders with a Week 1 win over the Carolina Panthers. For the first time in his career, he rushed for three touchdowns in a single game.
He’s clearly the Raiders’ most important player on offense and it’s hard to stop them when he’s playing well. Head coach Jon Gruden took notice of Jacobs’ impressive effort and gave him some of the highest praise possible.
“I’ve seen a lot of running backs for a long time, but that was a lot like Walter Payton,” Gruden said after Sunday’s win.
The coach didn’t stop there with the praise.
“It was hot as hell and he insisted that he got the ball. He is special.”
Payton is arguably the greatest running back of all time so that’s some lofty praise from Gruden. While it’s definitely premature to say Jacobs will have a similar career to Payton, it’s not premature to suggest that he’s a top-10 running back in the NFL and is probably a top-5 rusher.
Jacobs Still Thinks He Could Be Better
Despite the excellent start to his career, Jacobs is as humble as they come. Earlier in the offseason, he dismissed his success from his rookie season. Even after scoring three touchdowns and being called special by quarterback Derek Carr, the running back downplayed his success.
“I feel regular, honest,” Jacobs said. “I had a pretty good game but I missed some things.”
Jacobs has gotta be one of the most humble players in the NFL. He broke the Raiders rookie rushing record last year and started off the season perfectly but is still remaining hungry. That’s exactly the kind of player that Gruden loves. If he can stay healthy, it’s hard to imagine Jacobs doesn’t go down as one of the all-time great Raiders running backs.
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Jacobs Gets Praised by Teammates
There were players all over the Raiders offense who had strong games on Sunday but they don’t win the game without Jacobs. Derek Carr knows that the running back won’t take the credit but he leveled some strong praise at him anyway.
“Josh would be the first one to tell you, without that offensive lines, those guys are monsters … but Josh Jacobs is special,” Carr said.
It certainly helps that the Raiders have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL but what makes Jacobs special is his ability to break tackles and make people miss. Fellow former first-round pick Clelin Ferrell also gave his thoughts on Jacobs’ game.
“My dog set the tone, for sure,” Ferrell said.
With added weapons like Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards, it’s going to be a lot harder for teams to stack the box to stop Jacobs. He should have an even bigger season in year two. Carr is right, Jacobs is special.