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Raiders-Texans preview: Need to keep Josh Jacobs train rolling

Las Vegas OC Mick Lombardi knows tailback is key

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders’ offense has been much better in the past two games as it has scored 61 of the team’s 125 points this season as they sit at a disappointing 1-4.

As the team returns from its bye week and prepares to host the Houston Texans at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday (1:05 p.m. PT kickoff), Las Vegas offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi know the team needs to keep up their strong diet of Josh Jacobs in the offense to continue the success.

Jacobs has been dominated in the past two games as he set career highs in rushing yards both weeks. Jacobs, a free agent after the season, has 490 rushing yards this season.

“Josh has done a great job in terms of accepting his role and obviously playing well in his role. He played a little bit more on third down this past week against Kansas City, and that’s a tribute to him in terms of knowing that protection, knowing the run schemes and knowing the passing game,” Lombardi said. “So, he’s just a guy who’s really kind of I would say, taking his assignments that kind of growing forward from there. And just like the offensive line, showing consistency in practice. And obviously we have to try and get him the ball in terms of calling runs, and however the game goes, that’s how it’s going to play out. But he’s taken advantage of his opportunities.

“You hand Josh Jacobs the ball and he does a good job reading the run, reads it the right way, stays true, follows Jak [Jakob Johnson], follows the tackles blocks, follows the guards blocks. He’s done a good job and he’s taking care of the football. I think that’s the main thing that we like to see from running back, or anybody who carries the football. Are they taking care of it? Is the ball coming out? We preach ball security ad nauseam in here because it’s important to win games. And he’s done a great job of that. He’s been trying to improve that because that was a big offseason goal for him and playing this season. So, he’s proven that he can get positive yards, he can stay true to his assignment, and he can take care of the football. And any player that really does that, they’re going to play.”

Lombardi attributes improved practice work as a reason why the Las Vegas running attack is clicking so well.

“I think consistency in practice is a big part of it. Obviously, we had some things happen the first couple weeks in terms of we fell behind in some games and kind of had to get back in some games throwing the football,” Lombardi said. “And I think these guys consistently perform well practice on Wednesdays and Thursdays in pads and really focusing on their assignment and stuff like that. I think that’s really been showing up in games and I think that’s really been a big part of where the running game has kind of come from.”

If Jacobs and the overall ground game continues to excel, the Raiders have a strong chance to start the post-bye season on a high note.