For His Long-Term Safety, Should the Raiders Consider Limiting Josh Jacobs Role Down the Stretch?

The Raiders will face a tough decision on Josh Jacobs in the weeks ahead.

With four games to play, Jacobs is the fourth-leading rusher in the NFL with 1,061 yards and is only 114 yards behind Nick Chubb for the rushing title. Jacobs is also the front runner to win Offensive Rookie of the Year.

But with news yesterday that Jacobs is playing through a fracture in his shoulder, it’s fair to wonder if the Raiders would be wise to limit his carries to close out the season. Complicating matters even more is the fact that the Raiders are still in the mix for a wild card spot and the offense is far more dynamic when Jacobs is in the game. Jacobs is averaging a whopping 4.9 yards-per-carry while DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are averaging 3.3 yards-per-carry.

Jacobs is on pace for 290 carries this year, but if the season is ever lost from a playoffs standpoint, the Raiders will have to consider the best long term plan for him. Naturally, any decision to hold back Jacobs down the stretch will be a difficult sell to the rookie running back because of how close he is to achieving so many individual honors.

Ezekiel Elliott is the only rookie running back in the last 20 years to win the NFL rushing title and looking at the Raiders schedule, it’s entirely possible that Jacobs could make a push to do the same. Jacobs certainly hasn’t played like a hobbled running back since his injury and he doesn’t seem like the kind of player that will be interested in taking time off.

As for the coming offseason, expect the Raiders to add a physical running back to the mix for next year and try to take a little bit of the short yardage load away from Jacobs. But even when that likely happens, what free agent running back will be better in short yardage situations than Jacobs?

Probably none of them.

twitter: @raidersbeat


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