With legendary coach John Madden dying on December 29, 2021, the Las Vegas Raiders figured out the best way to honor the former coach was by winning and staying in playoff contention. The team won a close game against the Indianapolis Colts and will face the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, January 9, to determine if they’ll be in the playoffs.
Las Vegas decided to place “JM” decals on the players’ helmets. However, some players wanted to take the tributes a step further. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson decided to sport a pair of cleats with Madden’s face and signature on them but claimed on Instagram the NFL forced him to remove the cleats or be removed from the game, according to sports reporter Tristen Kuhn.
According to the NFL rulebook, players can be penalized for wearing custom, unapproved cleats outside of the league’s annual “My Cause My Cleats” week. If a player refuses to “make appropriate correction” of the violation, he can be removed from the game.
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Jackson’s Role Has Been Limited
When Jackson first joined the team, there was excitement due to his ability as a deep threat. There was even more excitement when he put up 102 yards and a touchdown on three catches against the Dallas Cowboys in just his third game with the team. Since that game, he only has eight catches in five games and no touchdowns.
Jackson still doesn’t have great chemistry with Carr and he’s not a focal point on the offense. With Zay Jones and Hunter Renfrow stepping up in recent weeks, the Raiders haven’t needed much from the former Pro Bowler. That said, it would be nice to Jackson break a big play or two against the Chargers. While he’s not making a lot of catches, just having him on the field helps the offense as he is always a threat.
Jones Had Career Day Against Colts
One of the most resilient players on the Raiders this season has been Jones. He was traded to the team in 2019 and not much was thought of it. Despite being mostly an afterthought for fans, he’s stuck with the team and is now making an impact. Against the Colts, Jones broke 100 yards in a for the first time. In his last three games, he has 20 catches for 237 yards. That’s easily his best stretch since joining the team.
“I think the patience of what I had to go through, the patience of what I had to endure. Work while you wait and an opportunity came for me,” Jones said Sunday, January 2. “Just trying to seize it, seize the most of it. I think that’s what happened tonight. But credit to the guys around me because they make it possible for me to be able to have a night like I did tonight. The offensive line, obviously Derek, Foster [Moreau] and the tight ends blocking, [Josh] Jacobs and the guys selling the fakes, other guys running routes for me to be able to get open.
“A complete team effort. I’m excited. Just a fantastic night for myself and for this team and especially for our fans – because they’ve been through a lot as well.”