Josh McDaniels Mark Da Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Normally, most NFL teams aren’t willing to risk either playing their starters in preseason, either sitting them entirely or only letting them play in one or two series. But that’s not the case for Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels, who has a different take on his running backs playing in the preseason.

While McDaniels sat starters Derek Carr, Devante Adams, and Darren Waller, running backs Josh Jacobs and Zamir White both played a significant amount of time in the Raiders’ preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday.

That move may come as a surprise to some, but McDaniels said afterwards he wanted to get both those players (and other backs) game touches, as per Tashan Reed of The Athletic.

“I always think it’s good for backs to carry the ball in the preseason,” McDaniels explained. “There’s a lot of things that happen when you’re getting tackled and hit that you can’t simulate in practice. I think all of our guys had the ball tonight; all of our guys either caught it or were handed the ball and had to get tackled. We can’t really simulate that or rep that in practice.”

Unlike other teams who have one primary back, it sounds as if McDaniels plans on playing both White and Jacobs this season, possibly along with others. That also means that some fantasy league owners may think twice about drafting either back, since neither’s necessarily going to be a heavily-featured back.

It will be interesting to see how this implied running back-by-committee approach works for the Raiders this season, if they actually put it into practice. If nothing else, the team could have fresh running backs all year. But that also comes with questions about how effective each of them may be in a smaller role.

[The Athletic; photo from Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports]

About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.