Josh Jacobs Flashes Athleticism, Skill in Solid Raiders Preseason Debut

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Josh Jacobs got four carries on a six-play Raiders touchdown drive Thursday night. The rookie running back was efficient slashing downhill through the Arizona Cardinals defense, to the tune of 5.3 yards per carry in the Raiders' 33-26 win.

Jacobs completed that sequence dissatisfied. He asked coach Jon Gruden for a few more, but quickly was rebuffed.

The Raiders starting offense got one stellar series Thursday at Glendale's State Farm Stadium before Gruden pulled the plug. Veterans were fine with that. Jacobs, however, was just getting warmed up. Pleas for more time were shut down.

"We're really excited about him," Gruden said Thursday. "I wanted to keep him in and he wanted to stay in, but I thought we had seen enough."

Gruden witnessed a lot of good work.

Jacobs' first NFL carry went for eight yards. His second and third both went for six, and the offense was off and running. Jacobs has reviewed those three runs, and believes they could've been far better.

"I was mad at myself because they should've been bigger runs," Jacobs, who finished with 21 yards on four carries, said Thursday. "It was just knocking off rust, and things like that."

Rust could've accumulated, considering the Alabama product hasn't run in a game setting since the NCAA national title game loss to Clemson in January. The Raiders didn't play Jacobs in the exhibition opener, and it's possible he's done for the preseason to preserve health.

He might see more time next week against the Green Bay Packers in Winnipeg, but that remains uncertain.

Jacobs flashed legitimate skill in his runs and role in the passing game, proving to be an elusive runner who doesn't lose balance on first contact.

His impressive start showed why the Raiders were so high on Jacobs in the NFL draft, and why they're going to make him a feature back in 2019.

"Josh is a rookie, but he has to play like he isn't," quarterback Derek Carr said Thursday. "He's going to have to play big for us. We lost Marshawn [Lynch]. Doug [Martin] is a [former] 1,500-yard back, an All-Pro. With Josh stepping into the feature back role, he has some pretty big shoes to fill. But I think he can do it."

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Jacobs wants more touches in practice and preseason games. He wants to be more involved right away, but sees the Raiders' logic in keeping him in bubble wrap until the games actually count.

"I think it speaks volumes on what they think of me and what they see in me," Jacobs said. "I am just honored to be out here playing football."

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