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What’s going on with Josh Jacobs?

Raiders’ second-year running back’s per carry average is way down from 2019

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Josh Jacobs is one of the Raiders’ most important offensive pieces. When the second-year running back gets going, he can dominate a game and make it easier for the other areas of the offense.

Last year’s No. 24 overall draft pick was outstanding in 2019 — and, in my opinion, was snubbed as the NFL Offensive Rookie Player of the Year in favor of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.

After Jacobs put away a Week 1 win at the Carolina Panthers, Raiders coach Jon Gruden compared him to Walter Payton, which is a huge honor. Sweetness was one of the greatest running backs of all time.

Fast forward six weeks and Gruden is being asked what is the matter with Jacobs? On Monday at his press briefing after a 45-20 defeat at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Gruden was asked if Jacobs is healthy because he has been struggling lately.

Gruden said he does believe Jacobs is healthy and didn’t offer much more of an answer, instead focusing on how good the Tampa Bay defense is. But, he did admit the Raiders must get Jacobs back on track.

Jacobs had just 17 yards on 10 carries against Tampa Bay, who does have the best run defense in the NFL. Yet, Jacobs’ struggles have gone beyond Week 7.

Jacobs is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry in 2020. It is one of the lowest per carry averages in the NFL this season. He has averaged more than 3.7 yards in just one game this season. In 2019, Jacobs averaged 4.8 yards per carry. His longest carry last season was 51 yards ... Jacobs’ longest carry this season is just 16 yards.

There has been flux on the offensive line this season and that surely is contributing to Jacobs’ struggles. The season is still early, and Jacobs will remain a big part of the Las Vegas offense, but the Raiders need to get more out of Jacobs starting Sunday at Cleveland against the Browns.