Football

Can Josh Jacobs become an Oakland Raiders star? Why Derek Carr and Jon Gruden believe so

Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) during an an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. The Raiders won 33-26.
Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) during an an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. The Raiders won 33-26. AP

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has played with notable running backs in the NFL.

Darren McFadden, Maurice Jones-Drew, Latavius Murray, Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin have all lined up behind the former Fresno State star in his five seasons.

Now, Alabama rookie Josh Jacobs is a Raider, and Carr compares him favorably to the rest.

Jacobs made his Raiders preseason debut Thursday at Arizona. The first three plays went like this:

Jacobs up the middle to Oakland 31 for 6 yards.

Jacobs up the middle to Oakland 39 for 8 yards.

Jacobs up the middle to Oakland 45 for 6 yards.

Then later, Jacobs had a 1-yard run to finish his debut.

“Watching his vision was really impressive,” Carr said Saturday. “I’m sitting back there playing ‘Madden’ telling him to cut back and trying to run for him.

“He’s right up there with those guys. For him to do that, especially in his first game. I think the thing that rubbed off on me the most about Josh was his want-to.”

Coach Jon Gruden, who celebrated his 56th birthday on Saturday, said he is looking forward to seeing what Jacobs can do in the regular season.

“There’s been some rookies in the last few years do it.” Gruden said. I mean ‘Zeke’ (Ezekiel) Elliott, some of the rookies, Kareem Hunt. There’s been guys coming in and really do a great job as rookies. It’s not common, handling all the blitzes and protections and the audibles and then the route. Then handling the ball. It’s a complex matter, being involved in the passing game. Can you line up in the slot? Can you line up as a receiver? He’s shown a lot of versatility. I think he’s going to be a really good three-down back before it’s all said and done.”

Carr said, “You have to be really good in the passing game to play in Coach Gruden’s offense as a running back. ... (Jacobs) has to be able to do that and he can. He’s been really impressive. I’ll let his game speak for it, but for me I’ve been impressed by him.”

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr explains what Antonio Brown means and how the first joint practice went against the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019.

Raiders make moves

The Raiders re-signed free agent guard/center Cameron Hunt.

Hunt, listed at 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, spent most of the offseason with the Raiders and was on the team’s active roster for the final three games of 2018.

The Raiders waived wide receiver Jordan Lasely to make room for Hunt. Also, guard/tackle Denzelle Good returned to practice Saturday after passing a physical.

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Anthony Galaviz writes about sports for The Fresno Bee. He covers the Oakland Raiders, high schools, boxing, MMA and junior colleges. He’s been with The Bee since 1997 and attended Fresno City College before graduating from Fresno State with a major in journalism and a minor in criminology.
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