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.
“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.
fantasy players watching this game:
why is Josh Jacobs playing???
but he looks good…
but every RB is looking good…
and he’s playing with 2nd stringers…
but this could be a Belichickian Jedi mind trick by Josh McDaniels to motivate him…
what do I do, what do I do pic.twitter.com/ev01P37HLc
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 5, 2022
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]