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Mailbag: Will Josh Jacobs rush for over 100 yards vs Bills?

Answering Raider Nation’s questions

Buffalo Bills v Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It’s Week 2 and the Las Vegas Raiders put their undefeated record on the line in a road matchup against the Buffalo Bills. For this week’s mailbag, I have a few questions about the game, Tyree Wilson, Josh Jacobs and Jakobi Meyers so let’s get to it!

Q: Does JJ8 rush for over 100 yards against the Bills?

A: As a whole, Buffalo’s defense is built more to defend against the pass and the Jets did run for 172 yards and 6.1 yards per carry against them last week with Breece Hall going for 127 on his own. So, I definitely think Jacobs going over 100 yards is reasonable.

However, one thing that gives me pause is the Raiders’ offensive line struggled to get a push in the ground game last week against the Broncos, and the Bills have a pretty deep defensive line. I won’t put anything past the reigning rushing champ to still go for the century mark, but the big guys up front will definitely need to give him some more help.

For any gamblers, DraftKings Sportsbook has a prop bet for Jacobs’ rushing total which is set at 66.5 yards and I like the over on that one.

Q: Will Jakobi Meyers be available for Sunday?

A: Probably not. As of Friday, Meyers is still in concussion protocol and Josh McDaniels said the wideout is doubtful for the game. Look for Hunter Renfrow and Kristian Wilkerson to get more playing time.

Q: Isn’t being coached to come off the ball quickly a pretty easy fix?

A: For context, this is in reference to Wilson as his get-off has been a hot topic of conversation on social media all week.

I know it seems easy, but there’s an art to timing up the snap that can take time to learn. Maxx Crosby talked about this a bit during the offseason and mentioned how he has started studying the offensive linemen he’s going against that week and seeing how they get off the ball. For example, some guys move their back foot first, others front foot, or will move their hands and upper body first. Picking up on keys like that can take time, especially when you’re a rookie and your head is spinning with a million other things like what your responsibility is on a given play call.

Wilson’s get-off was an issue at Texas Tech too and it doesn't help that he’s missed so much time on the practice field. He can get there though as everything above can be taught and Crosby will be a good mentor. Fans just need to be patient with Wilson which I know is asking a lot sometimes, lol.

Q: Could the Raiders blitz more to get interior pressure like they did sometimes with Perryman last year?

A: Coincidentally, I mentioned on the latest episode of Tape Don’t Lie that I’d like to see the Raiders try to blitz the Bills on early downs to help keep Buffalo’s offense behind schedule. My fear though is that I don’t trust the secondary in one-on-one matchups to consistently cover and allow the blitz to hit home.

Jakorian Bennett struggled in coverage against Denver, Nate Hobbs’ is a threat to get beat deep with his lack of speed and Marcus Peters isn’t a great man-to-man corner anymore to plaster receivers. So, I think it’s worth it to at least try blitzing more often, but I also fear that might expose the Raiders’ secondary.

Q: Could some of Jimmy G's “happy feet” last week be related to not playing since last year (in-season game)? I haven’t done a deep dive into how his pocket movement was before the last injury.

A: Jimmy Garoppolo has never been known as a guy who is going to stand in the pocket and take hits while delivering a strike, but I do think you have a point in that last week was the first time he’s seen live action in a while beyond one drive in the preseason.

Also, it was his first full game playing with a new offensive line that he likely doesn’t have 100 percent trust in simply because they haven’t played together long enough. I definitely think Garoppolo can get better and more comfortable in the pocket as the season goes on, but I wouldn’t expect him to stand in there and take one in the chops much as that’s just not in his nature.

Q: Matt, who is going to replace Chandler Jones?

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
Malcolm Koonce
Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images

A: The plan has always been for Wilson to take over in the future, but he’s obviously not ready yet. After last week, the guy I’d like to see get more playing time is Malcolm Koonce. Outside of Maxx Crosby, Koonce was one of the few pass-rushers who was able to win in Denver and he had a few nice reps against the run. The latter has always been his biggest issue and why he didn’t play much during his first two seasons, but at this point, I don’t see why the coaching staff shouldn’t give Koonce a shot to prove himself.

Q: Why didn’t Hunter Renfrow get at least a look in game one? I know Meyers was having his way with Denver but not one look. Come on man!

A: Offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi gave a more detailed explanation of this in the quotes from my article below. Basically, the Raiders liked their 21 and 12 personnel packages during the game so they weren’t using a slot receiver as much and Renfrow only took 19 total snaps and ran nine routes. Also, they only had six possessions as both teams were putting together long, methodical drives. With Meyers likely out this week, I’d expect Renfrow to see a few passes on Sunday.

Since the Raiders lost two practice squadders that they liked, when was the last time they picked someone off another team's practice squad and how did it turn out?

A: The last one I can remember was Netane Muti at the end of last season. Muti didn’t make the team at the end of training camp and is currently on the Raiders’ practice squad. The most notable player they’ve plucked off of someone else’s practice squad recently is Darren Waller in 2018.

Given common irregularities with week 1 performances, what areas (or players) do you expect (vs. want) the Raiders to improve going into week 2? Similarly, what areas (or players) do you expect to still be lacking?

A: I expect Jacobs to have a better game as he talked about being a little rusty during the season opener so now that he’s had more time, I think he’ll start getting back to his old self. Plus, as mentioned above, the Bills aren’t a great run-defending team and as long as the offensive line does their part, Jacobs should get back on track.

Los Vegas Raiders v Denver Broncos
Josh Jacobs
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

What I want to improve and what I think will still be lacking is the same thing; the defensive line outside of Crosby. If Koonce gets more playing time, I’ll have more confidence in Las Vegas’ pass rush, but no one else was really winning their one-on-one matchups last week. Also, they need their defensive tackles to be more consistent against the run but I don’t know if they have the personnel for that. Hopefully, John Jenkins will step up this week to help solve that problem.

Can we look forward to this blog focusing on the performance and activities of the 2023 raiders or are you going to continue covering the 2022 raiders as well?

A: I’ll be honest, I can take criticism and normally I understand where it’s coming from, but this feels ridiculous. Of course I was talking about the 2022 team last week seeing as it was the season opener so historical data is what I had to base everything on. I also wrote about the preseason in-depth and spent this past week reviewing the Broncos game and previewing this week’s matchup against the Bills.

If you’re referring to my Carr and Waller watch column that was published on Monday, I write 15 blogs a week and that’s only one of them as the other 14 are centered around this year’s team. No worries if you’re not interested in hearing about how a couple of former players performed, you don’t have to read it.

The notion that I haven’t written about the 2023 team is just inaccurate but hey, I guess some people have to find something to complain about.

Who needs to step up most this week v the Bills?

A: I’ll go with Jakorian Bennett. As mentioned above, he had a few tough reps in coverage last week and the Broncos were picking on him. Buffalo will move Stefon Diggs around and if the rookie is struggling, he can expect to see No. 14 lined up across from him as the Bills will likely try to test Bennett early, too.

That’ll do it for this week’s mailbag. Thank you all for submitting questions and, as your weekly reminder, if you’d like to have your questions answered in a future column, tweet them at me, @MHolder95, email them to or look for our weekly call for questions on the site. The latter will publish on Thursdays throughout the season.