Josh McDaniels explains why Josh Jacobs played in Raiders preseason opener while other starters sat

The Las Vegas Raiders were able to start their preseason on a high note by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Hall of Fame Game, 27-11. Sure, this game didn’t feature many of the heavyweights we’ve come to expect to see at some point during this exhibition season and especially during the regular season, but there was one notable star on the court Thursday night. :Josh Jacobs.

The veteran running back started the game even as the rest of the first-team attack – like Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Darren Waller and others – watched from the touchline. He played the first two sets of the game and finished his night rushing for 30 yards on five carries while catching both of his targets for 14 yards. By all accounts, Jacobs looked good, but should we be worried about him working with the B team?

“I still think it’s good for the backs to carry the ball in the preseason,” head coach Josh McDaniels said after the game, via NFL.com. “There’s a lot of things that happen when you get tackled and hit that you can’t fake in practice. I think all of our guys got the ball tonight. I think all of our guys got the ball. caught or received the ball and had to get tackled in. We can’t really simulate that or represent that in practice.

While there’s a case to be made for fullbacks like Jacobs to see live reps, it’s at least remarkable that he isn’t preserved like the rest of the projected starters. After all, the Raiders declined to pick the former first-round pick’s fifth-year option earlier this offseason, meaning he will consider unrestricted free agency after this offseason.

The club also drafted Zamir White in the fourth round last spring and the Georgia product also looked good, rushing for 52 yards on 11 carries and catching three of his four targets for 23 yards.

“He ran hard with the ball in his hands and he’s hard to tackle,” McDaniels said of White. “He finishes runs in the right way, brings a physical element to the game and to the team. It was a good opportunity for him to get in there and do it at our level and play in the kicking game. Like I said, there’s be things we need to tweak and clean up, but I thought he needed to get out there and establish himself – that’s the style of runner he was in Georgia, and then seeing him do it here was good.”

Naturally, the Las Vegas backfield will be worth watching during the preseason to gauge whether or not Jacobs can be a true comeback runner or whether White and Kenyan veteran Drake will make it a committee throughout the season. regular season.

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