Following Saturday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was not happy. Despite leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage, he only got 15 carries and one catch throughout the game. Considering how poorly the passing game was playing and the cold weather, it was odd that Jacobs didn’t see the ball more.
The running back questioned the approach and let his frustration with the team be known. He spoke about how “to win these games when you’re up and especially in the cold, you gotta run the ball.” While he didn’t directly call out head coach Josh McDaniels‘ playcalling, it’s hard to not read between the lines. McDaniels had a chance to respond to Jacobs’ comments and offered some insight.
“I love the guy. He should have the ball more than any other player on our team. And he has,” McDaniels said of Jacobs on Monday. “I love his passion, his fight, he wants to help us win in any way he can. We gotta do a better job of being productive so we can stay out of those situations where the running game becomes difficult to stick with.
“Our guys want to win. There’s been a handful of guys that have done that. It’s an emotional sport, it’s an emotional game. Hell, I wasn’t real excited after the game either. So, I think the reality is you’re allowed to be frustrated. You handle it the right way and you do things the right way. JJ expressed his feelings. It is what it is, you’re going to have that at times. But I’ve said this a number of times; I love the guy. I think he stands for the right things. He wants to help us win. He should.”
Was Jacobs Right to Call out Team?
The Raiders have arguably been the most disappointing team in the NFL. Jacobs is one of the few players who has stepped up this year while so many others have underwhelmed. At the beginning of the season, he wasn’t voted as a team captain. That changed recently when the team leaders came together and told the coaching staff that they want Jacobs elevated to the role of team captain.
As a team captain, Jacobs is responsible for holding players and coaches accountable. That’s exactly what he did with his postgame comments after the Steelers’ loss. Nothing he said was wrong or out of line. The Raiders have no reason to be losing so many of these close games to teams with less talent. Somebody had to put the team on notice and Jacobs was the one to do it. Though the season is essentially over, it will be worth watching to see how the team responds over the final two games.
This Could Be Jacobs’ Last Season With Raiders
The Raiders made a huge blunder when they declined the fifth-year option on Jacobs’ contract. Instead of keeping him through next season on a reasonable deal, he’ll now be headed for free agency. The team will either have to pay him more money or let him walk.
At this point, it appears that Jacobs would rather seek a fresh start with a new team. Nobody can blame him. He might lead the NFL in rushing when the season is over but miss the playoffs in the process. For a competitor like Jacobs, that’s a tough pill to swallow. Going to a team that has a better shot at the playoffs may be what he ends up doing.