The primary reason for his increased snaps was his work to improve in the passing game, both as a blocker and a receiver. The result was career highs in catches (4) and receiving yards (46).
There are only so many snaps to go around in any given game. Being a receiving threat out of the backfield has been Jalen Richard’s job for the Raiders the past four years. But last week Richard saw just seven snaps, fewer than he’d had in any game the previous two seasons under Gruden.
Even more interesting is Richard helped Jacobs out this offseason, essentially teaching the guy who would be taking snaps away from him. But Richard doesn’t see it that way. As he sees it, Jacobs’s improved receiving abilities has greater benefits.
“Josh is the bell cow. Josh is the guy, And he can do everything.” Richard said when asked how he goes about ensuring he gets his snaps. “So, it’s not going to do anything but help our team by him expanding what he can do and we’re not predictable when he’s out on the field or even when I’m out there on the field. So, the way it is now, it’s a long season and a lot of backs can’t really do it by themselves, so I still feel like it’s running back by committee but definitely Josh is the bell cow and, again, by him expanding his role like that, he’ll be able to not come off the field as much, but I’m going to keep working hard and keep doing what I do and when the team asked for my number to be called, I just got to be ready.”
Richard didn’t just rattle this off. It wasn’t a canned answer. He had to think about it a bit. Because every NFL player wants to see the field. The thing is though, that too many times in Richard’s first couple years in Gruden’s offense his and Jacobs’s usage was predictable.
Last week the offense scored 34 points, Jacobs had three touchdowns, including a big catch on a quick slant that went for 29 yards. And Richard had one catch for 15 yards that set up the Daniel Carlson 54-yard field goal in the third quarter.
So, while we may never again see Richard lead the team in catches as he did in 2018 in which he caught 68 passes, the offense may be all the better for it. The more options the better. It’s an admirable sacrifice by Richard.
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