Raiders News: Jon Gruden Says Josh Jacobs Will Have To Earn Starting Running Back Job

The youth of the Oakland Raiders is easily their most exciting attribute. With players like Clelin Ferrell coming in, and Kolton Miller receiving bigger roles, there a number of young players that could have breakout seasons in 2019.

One player who is expected to carry a large load for a rookie has been running back Josh Jacobs. Jacobs was selected 24th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft after having an excellent junior season at the University of Alabama.

After a torn Achilles sidelined Isaiah Crowell only a few months after signing with the Raiders, Jacobs was expected to step up. Now with an injury to fullback Kevin Smith, it appears that Jacobs and Doug Martin both could have even larger opportunities.

However, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal head coach Jon Gruden says that Jacobs may not be the Raiders starting running back unless he earns the job during Training Camp:

Raiders coach Jon Gruden on rookie RB Josh Jacobs: “He won’t be the feature back until he earns it:” Wants to see “how much he can eat” this preseason. “He’s a great kid and has a lot of talent.”

— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) July 26, 2019

Juggling running backs will be one of Gruden’s biggest challenges in 2019, but unfortunately nothing new. Last year with an injury to Marshawn Lynch, Gruden called on Martin to step up. Martin ended up starting the final eight games of the season in 2018, averaging 4.16 yards per rushing attempt.

Martin has come out and said that he looks forward to mentoring Jacobs this season. The seven-year veteran will be the leader of a very young group of running backs including not only Jacobs but also DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard.

Both Washington and Richard have been with the team for three years but have seen limited amounts of playing time. Both players put up over 1,000 rushing yards in their senior years of college, nearly double that of Jacobs.

Gruden will have a number of options this year to pair with or behind Martin. If Jacobs can prove himself in Training Camp, he can potentially become the starter. However, Gruden previously stated that he was happy with Martin re-signing due to his familiarity with the Raiders playbook, making him a favorite to see more time. Gruden will have to find the best match to improve the teams run game.

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