Since firing head coach Josh McDaniels in a franchise overhaul, the Las Vegas Raiders have looked like a totally different NFL team. They are 2-0 under interim head coach Antonio Pierce, picking up victories over the New York Giants and New York Jets.
The change has provided the Raiders with a spark, who are rejuvenated and playing more spirited football under Pierce than they did for McDaniels. One of the big decisions Pierce made was replacing Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback with rookie Aidan O’Connell.
O’Connell has done everything asked of him, as Pierce also changed the team’s philosophy. The Raiders have gotten back to the ground-and-pound, leaning heavily on running back Josh Jacobs in the last two weeks.
He has carried the ball 26 and 27 times in Week 9 and 10, his two highest workloads of the season. Jacobs gained 212 yards with two touchdowns, adding two receptions for 12 yards as well.
While his overall stats this season are a far cry from what he produced in 2022, Jacobs should still have plenty of suitors in free agency. The running back market has been suppressed, but he is one of the players who should have no issues finding a multi-year deal.
Pinpointing which teams could be interested is easier said than done, as some have opted to ignore veterans all together, drafting players to provide production for a cheap price. However, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN believes there is one team Jacobs would be the perfect fit for; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“His game has perked up in recent weeks, but that aforementioned average of 3.3 yards per carry could affect his bottom line. Jacobs is still a lead back who’s perfect for a team dedicated to the run. Tampa Bay is just that and needs a decisive runner to complement Rachaad White,” wrote Fowler.
Rachaad White has proven to be a very capable pass-catching back this season, hauling in 35 passes for 326 yards and one touchdown to this point. His work as the lead back on the ground hasn’t been as promising, gaining only 429 yards on 132 attempts, averaging 3.3 yards per carry.
As Fowler noted, Jacbos’ numbers are down this season as well, as he is also averaging only 3.3 yards per carry. But, after sitting out the entire offseason program, he has shown more life in recent weeks and has an established track record.
The last eight weeks of the season will be important to Jacobs, who is playing for his second contract. If he can continue producing as the centerpiece of the Raiders’ offensive attack, he should garner interest in free agency.