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#pounditSaturday, September 24, 2022

Josh McDaniels explains bizarre decision from Hall of Fame Game

Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Josh McDaniels coached his first televised exhibition game with the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night, and there was already one decision from him that left some people scratching their heads.

The Raiders took on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the annual Hall of Fame Game, which is an event that rarely ever features a skill player who is projected to be a starter. That was largely the case in Las Vegas’ 27-11 victory, but one well-known player did see the field quite a bit — Josh Jacobs. McDaniels was asked after the game why Jacobs played while essentially every other projected starter sat.

“I always think it’s good for backs to carry the ball in the preseason,” McDaniels said, via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra. “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 our guys had the ball tonight. I think all 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.”

Jacobs started the game and rushed five times for 30 yards. He also had two catches for 14 yards and played multiple series. Rookie fourth-round pick Zamir White led Las Vegas with 11 carries.

Jacobs rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first two NFL seasons. His workload was cut back a bit last year when he rushed for 872 yards on 217 carries. Though, he did have a career-high 54 receptions.

Teams typically do not want to risk having a key starter suffer an injury this early in the preseason. That has led to questions about whether McDaniels views Jacobs as a key starter. The coach supposedly included the veteran as part of his pitch to land the Raiders job, but perhaps McDaniels is planning to employ the same type of running-back-by-committee approach he used in New England.

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