Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs was a major part of the team’s offense last season. He led the league in rushing yards, cementing his status as one of the best young running backs in the NFL. Unfortunately, he has not been able to replicate that success thus far in 2023.
Josh Jacobs faced some tough sledding in Week 1, gaining 48 yards on 19 carries. Some of that can certainly be attributed to him not being with the team for virtually the entire offseason. After having the franchise tag placed on him and no long-term deal worked out, Josh Jacobs didn’t report until August 26th.
That led to him missing the entire offseason program, training camp and preseason as the two sides worked to figure out an amended deal. Josh Jacobs admitted there was some rust that needed to be knocked off, which partly explained his Week 1 performance. His Week 2 performance, however, left people scratching their heads.
Josh Jacobs made history, but not the kind you want to be tied to, with his performance against the Buffalo Bills. He carried the ball nine times for -2 yards, making him the first defending rushing leader since the merger in 1970 to finish a game with negative yards.
“I feel like I’ve just got to do more, honestly,” Jacobs said, via Jonah Bronstein of the Associated Press.
It wasn’t a total lost afternoon for the former first-round pick, as he did catch five passes for 51 yards. But, all anyone is going to pay attention to is the rushing numbers, as the Raiders were blown out, 38-10.
“We need to address where we went wrong and improve from there,” Jacobs said. “I don’t think we just need a next game and flush it. I don’t think that would create a winning culture.” (H/T ProFootballTalk)
The 46 yards rushing in the first two games of the season are also the worst two-game rushing total of Josh Jacobs’ career. While rust certainly plays a part, head coach Josh McDaniels did shoulder some of the responsibility for his struggles.
“I need to do a better job figuring out how to get JJ going,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said.
Josh Jacobs is too talented of a player to continue struggling to this extent. He will eventually find his footing and put together some better games. But, he certainly isn’t helping the case for running backs around the league getting paid more as this is another example owners will use to keep their price tags down.