The Las Vegas Raiders have strung together a few rough seasons in a row, but running the ball is one thing they’ve done really well. Much of that had to do with the addition of Josh Jacobs, but running back coach Kirby Wilson also deserves a ton of credit.
Wilson joined the coaching staff in 2019, and the running game immediately got better. Unfortunately, it looks like the Raiders will no longer have him. After over two decades as a coach in the NFL, Wilson has decided to retire, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who shared the news via Twitter on July 16, 2021.
Considering training camp is just a couple of weeks away for Las Vegas, it’s a surprise move that Wilson has chosen to retire now. Jacobs grew very close to the coach during their brief time together, and he could only muster up a one-word reaction when he heard the news: In a now-deleted tweet, the running back just said “damn.” Wilson is only 59 years old, so perhaps he’s just going to take some time off before coming back to the NFL, but that remains to be seen.
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Kenyan Drake Has High Expectations for Raiders Offense
Even though Wilson’s retiring, his impact on the Raiders running game will remain. Jacobs is a bonafide star, and the team signed Kenyan Drake this offseason. Las Vegas should have one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL in 2021. Drake has high expectations for what the Raiders offense can do as a whole.
“I know who for sure is going to space, and that’s this offense this year, this team,” Drake said on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” “I feel like we’re definitely taking off to another trajectory, you know what I mean? You like how I kind of threw that in there?”
We still need to see how they play together, but Jacobs and Drake could form the NFL’s best running back tandem. If the passing game continues to hold up, the Raiders offense is going to be difficult to stop.
Drake Talks Jacobs Pairing
A big reason why the Jacobs-Drake duo could work is that the two are familiar with each other. They both played college ball at Alabama, and their skill sets also complement each other.
“I feel like with his skill set and my skill set, they complement each other pretty well,” Drake said, according to NFL.com’s Kevin Patra. “He just has a knack for making plays in space or just being a hammer and not the nail, like our running back coach in Alabama used to say. … Just excited about what Gruden has planned for us and this offense in general.”
What Jacobs lacks in the passing game, Drake could more than make up for. This will give him the chance to focus on being the violent runner he has been over his first two seasons.