One of the most interesting moves the Las Vegas Raiders made this offseason was the signing of Kenyan Drake. The signing itself made sense as he’s a very good running back but it was odd that the team gave him $11 million over two years when they already had a star running back in Josh Jacobs. His first several games as a Raider made the signing look really bad in hindsight.
However, Drake exploded against the Denver Broncos in Week 6, scoring two key touchdowns. Jon Gruden had been calling the plays and running the offense through the first five games but resigned before the Broncos game. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson took over playcalling and clearly knew how to utilize Drake better than Gruden did.
Now that the coach is gone, more information has come to light regarding the running back’s usage. According to Sports Illustrated’s Hondo Carpenter, the team wasn’t a fan of how Gruden was using Drake.
“There was frustration on the team, we talked about it. There was frustration that Kenyan was underused with Jon [Gruden],” Carpenter said on Las Vegas 920 AM radio’s The Morning Tailgate with Clay Baker, via Raiders Beat.
That frustration must have quickly subsided after the Broncos game.
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Mike Mayock Was One Who Pushed to Sign Drake
During Gruden’s time with the Raiders, he had the final say on all personnel decisions. However, that doesn’t mean he made every decision on his own. Per Carpenter, general manager Mike Mayock was actually the one who championed signing Drake.
“That was a Mike Mayock thing,” Carpenter said the Drake signing. “Mike Mayock went to Jon Gruden and said ‘listen, I think Kenyan Drake offers us something in our offense that we don’t have.’ And so Jon brings him in and then Jon didn’t use him.”
Perhaps Gruden wasn’t overly keen on using Drake because it was his signing. Regardless, the Raiders have the running back under contract through next season and need to continue to find ways to make him effective. He can clearly be a weapon when used properly.
Josh Jacobs Details Relationship With Drake
When the Raiders signed Drake, it could’ve been seen as proof the team wasn’t convinced that Josh Jacobs can stay healthy consistently. Jacobs has already missed two games this season so there was merit to the signing but the Raiders still didn’t use Drake much when he was out.
With Jacobs healthy, the two could form a dangerous dynamic. Jacobs loves to see his fellow Alabama alumni playing well and recently revealed that the two had a relationship before they were teammates.
“That’s really my dog,” Jacobs said of Drake Wednesday. “We would be together in the offseason before he even came here. We would train together when he would come back to Bama. I tell them I don’t want this to be a one-man show. My body doesn’t want this to be a one-man show. I tell them to incorporate him, and to see him have success and come into his role on the team has been huge.”