Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs focused on improving his route-running this past offseason as his goal for this season was to become a better pass catcher and even a bigger threat on the offensive side. Jacobs, who was selected at No.
24 in the 2019 NFL draft, enjoyed a strong rookie campaign and he entered his sophomore season motivated to continue his improvement and development. Jacobs is becoming one of the best running backs in the league but he is not stopping there as he wants to be more than just a prolific rusher.
"I did a lot more of not putting myself in a running back aspect but like a receiver," Jacobs said, per the team's website. "Whether it was going outside in the slot and actually learning how to get off a release, stemming the guy and learning leverage and all the different kind of things like that.
And then watching Hunter [Renfrow] on his choice routes, just how creative he is and just try to put it in. Find what I like and make it my own."
Jacobs wanted to become a complete player
Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson noticed how dedicated Jacobs was to getting better when he arrived to training camp.
"Part of his offseason, he wanted to become a complete player," Olson said. "He didn't want to be taken off the field, and part of our challenge to him was to become a complete route-runner. "We feel like he's developing into that full-time player.
We're happy with his development in that area. He can still get better. He's still out working right now with the quarterbacks, working on choice routes and other routes that we ask our running backs to run in third-down situations.
So, it's been great." In a Week 1 win over the Carolina Panthers, Jacobs scored three touchdowns and caught four passes, enough for 46 receiving yards. "I am not going to put anymore pressure on him than he puts on himself," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Jacobs after the game.
"I've seen a lot of running backs for a long time, but that was a little bit like how Walter Payton used to play. It was hot as hell; he got beat up early, he insisted on coming back and insisted he got the ball as a runner and as a receiver. He's special, and he deserves some national attention."