As Josh Jacobs enters Stage Two of his career, look for him to become more of a factor in the passing game

It's hard to find any glaring weaknesses in Josh Jacobs' rookie campaign in Silver and Black.

The University of Alabama product carried the ball 242 times for 1,150 yards, found the end zone seven times and became a foundation piece on the Raiders' offense en route to shattering a handful of franchise rookie records along the way.

Oh, and he realistically could have been the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, while only suiting up for 13 regular season games.

But, regardless of all the tremendous things Jacobs did in 2019, that season has come and gone, and the expectation understandably is that No. 28 will be even better in 2020.

"Josh, obviously, had a great year," said General Manager Mike Mayock Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "I couldn't have been happier with Josh. Josh can catch a football, and I think challenge No. 1 for him in Year Two is developing those talents.''

As Mayock alluded, if there was one perceived – emphasis on the word perceived – slight in Jacobs' game from a year ago is that the rookie running back wasn't much of a factor in the passing game, hauling in just 20 receptions for 166 yards, not recording a catch at all in four contests.

But, to be fair, No. 28 wasn't really asked to be contribute heavily to the team's aerial attack and contributing in the passing game for a running back isn't as easy as just running routes.

"Now, you have to understand, to catch the football in Jon Gruden's offense as a running back, not only do you have to run routes, but you have to protect you quarterback," Mayock explained. "He [Jacobs] has got the physical capabilities and the toughness to pass protect, we just have to make sure, in Stage Two this year, this development of him as a receiver, that he can do all of it. If he has to stay in and knock down a defensive end, he has to do it. If the linebacker's coming, if he has to scan… those are hard things for a rookie running back, and we didn't want to put too much on his plate, but he certainly has the capabilities to do it, and we're going to expect more from him this year in that department."

As previously stated, it really is hard to find any type of negative from Josh Jacobs' season, but for the dynamic running back, it's going to be – as it should – all about getting better going forward, because as good as he was in 2019, at just 22 years of age, the best should be still be ahead of him.

Will that improvement manifest itself in more catches out of the backfield, and more time operating out wide? Time will tell, but if all goes to plan, you'll see Jacobs' receiving output trend upwards in 2020.

Check out photos of the Raiders' most fashionable moments during the 2019 season.

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