Alabama in the Pros

Josh Jacobs’ toughness and leadership has Las Vegas Raiders in position for NFL playoffs

Josh Jacobs runs for a Raiders' touchdown versus Broncos
Kirby Lee - USA TODAY Sports

He was never one for flash and it was that quality that drew Jon Gruden to him.

In coming to the University of Alabama, Josh Jacobs escaped a childhood in Oklahoma that had pain, frustration, many difficult situations, and only a slight chance of a positive outcome.

The people he left behind were those he wanted to create a better life for. His father did what he could to protect him and his siblings, but now all of the siblings are successful.

Jacobs has repaid his father in gifting him a home and represents the family name with respect.

RELATED: Tua Tagovailoa outlasts Justin Herbert, leads Dolphins to its sixth win of NFL season

Along with this, the former Crimson Tide standout has brought new life into Gruden’s coaching career. The 57-year-old took Jacobs in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft and it has been the best move he’s made. Even with the Raiders now in Las Vegas (formerly in Oakland), Jacobs’ toughness and leadership has become the foundation of the team. After being the first running back in Raiders history to record 1,000 yards rushing in a rookie season, he has the team at 6-3 and set to make the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2016. He has seven career 100-yard rushing performances, including two this season.

Jacobs is averaging a little over 20 carries per game, and five of the Raiders’ six wins have come when its star running back totals at least 20 carries. On Sunday, he got the ball 21 times versus the Denver Broncos and recorded 112 yards rushing with two touchdowns in a 37-12 win for Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium.

Five of his 21 carries resulted in either first downs or scores, while he averaged 5.3 yards per rush. Jacobs also grabbed four passes for 24 receiving yards, including a long catch of 13 yards.

Not only has he changed the mentality of the team, but Jacobs has also rejuvenated the play of his quarterback.

Prior to the game against the Broncos, Derek Carr was fourth in the NFL for passer rating (110.3), fifth for completion percentage (69.8) and tied for eighth in touchdown passes (16).

With Jacobs leading the charge, Carr completed 16 of 25 passes for 154 yards and managed the game well. The team is built around Jacobs as he is third in the league for rushing yards (700) among backs. He stands with eight touchdowns on 182 carries through nine games and is not done yet.

RELATED: Jared Mayden to possibly make NFL debut for 49ers after being elevated to active roster

Once a three-star recruit, Jacobs won two Southeastern Conference titles (2016, 2018) and one College Football Playoff National Championship (2017) with the Crimson Tide.

If the NFL postseason started today, the Raiders would be in it. On a day where he, Damien Harris, Kenyan Drake and Derrick Henry all represented Alabama football as 100-yard rushers in the pros, Jacobs is excited about leading the Raiders to the playoffs.

*Get the BEST Alabama football insider information, message board access, and recruiting coverage today! SIGN UP HERE to unlock our subscriber only content!*

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Facebook Comments

To Top