Josh McDaniels explains why Josh Jacobs played in Raiders preseason opener despite sitting other starters

The Las Vegas Raiders were able to start their preseason on a positive note by defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-11 in the Hall of Fame Game. Of course, the game didn’t feature many of the heavy hitters we’ve come to expect at some point in this exhibition season and especially during the regular season, but there was one notable star on the field Thursday night: Josh Jacobs.

The veteran running back started the game even as the rest of the first-team offense like Derek Carr, Deonte Adams, Darren Waller, and others watched from the sidelines. He played the first two series of the game and finished his night rushing for 30 yards on five carries while catching both of his targets for 14 yards. By all accounts, Jacobs looked good, but should there be any concern that he’s working with the B-Team?

“I always think it’s good for the backs to carry the ball in the preseason,” head coach Josh McDaniels said after the game, via “A lot of things happen when you get tackled and you hit it that you can’t replicate in practice. I think all of our guys had the ball tonight. I think all of our guys either caught it or handed them the ball. We can’t really replicate that or interpret that in practice.”

While there’s a case to be made for a back like Jacobs to see some live reps, it’s at least worth noting that he’s not being protected like the rest of the expected starters. However, the Raiders declined to pick up the fifth-year option of the first-round pick earlier this offseason, meaning they will be looking at unrestricted free agency after this offseason.

The club also drafted Zameer White in the fourth round last spring and the Georgia product also looked good, rushing for 52 yards on 11 carries and catching three of his four targets for 23 yards.

“He runs hard with the ball in his hands and is hard to tackle.” McDaniels said of White. “He completes runs the right way, brings a physical element to the game and to the team. It was a good opportunity for him to get out there and do it at our level and play something in the kicking game. Like I said. , going there. Some things we have to tweak and clean up, but I thought for him to go out there and establish — that’s the style of runner he was at Georgia, and then do it here. It was good to see.”

Naturally, Las Vegas’ backfield will be worth watching as the preseason gauges whether or not Jacobs can be a true lead back or White with veteran Kenya Drake more of a committee in the regular season. will make