Josh Jacobs leads ‘Crimson Tide’ connection for Raiders

Josh Jacobs is renewed and happy with offensive challenges he’ll face.

Sometimes, when a team brings in a guy who rushed for almost 1,000 yards with 10 touchdowns, the incumbent running back might be a little worried about his job.

The Raiders Josh Jacobs wasn’t upset with the signing of Kenyan Drake, he actually lobbied for it.

“I was fighting for the dude to get him over here when I found out that Book [Devontae Booker] was leaving,” Jacobs said. “Man, I’ve known Kenyan forever, since Alabama days. He used to come back and train with me all the time. His game speaks for itself. He’s very versatile. Can play inside and very good in open space. He can take the top off, so he’s going to be a great addition.”

Not that Jacobs had much to worry about. He’s rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons in the NFL, with 19 touchdowns. On the other hand, Jacobs has only caught 53 passes in his career. Drake had two seasons in which he caught at least 50 passes.

Still, Jacobs hopes to improve on his receiving statistics in 2021.

“I feel like every area, honestly,” he said. “Coming into the offseason, the main things I’ve been working on were balance work, core work, burst. Things like that just to try to take my game to the next level. Out here in practice today I was running some receiver routes, just trying to do everything I can to help this team.”

Josh Jacobs part of the Alabama connection

Drake was a third-round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins in the 2016 draft out of Alabama. Jacobs followed Drake with the Crimson Tide and was drafted by the Raiders in the first round in the 2019 draft.

josh jacobs las vegas raiders
Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (28) is pursued by Miami Dolphins middle linebacker Kyle Van Noy (53) and defensive end Christian Wilkins (94) in the second half at Allegiant Stadium. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 26-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Now, the duo welcomes mammoth offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood, the Raiders first round pick this year out of Alabama.

So far, Jacobs has liked what he’s seen from his former Crimson Tide teammate.

“Obviously, Alex [Leatherwood] because I played with the guy for two years, so I know him,” Jacobs said. “I was just happy that he got drafted here. Just to hear his mentality coming in is what kind of impressed me. We had a couple of hour-long talks before he got drafted about what he wanted to do and how he wanted to present himself and the task he put on himself. I’m interested to see how he lives up to his expectations.”

Balance is the key

Josh Jacobs spent his offseason working on gaining flexibility and balance in hopes it will help him stay healthy during the season, which now includes the 17th game.

Last season, he missed one game due to an ankle injury but in 2019 he missed three games due to injury.

“I have different aspect of things I wanted to work on,” he said. “Like I said, I did balance work. I did a lot of little things that I feel like I’ve been doing, but I just took it up another step. I would say this is the first offseason I really just put my head down and was focused on one thing. It’s been a long journey, but it’s going to pay off.”