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Raiders Mailbag: Will Josh Jacobs be able to suit up against the Chargers?

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Rodolfo Mitre says...

"Josh Jacobs needs to return – and with Peyton Barber and Kenyan Drake, they would be dangerous for rushing and passing attack."

To much optimism, Pro Bowl running back Josh Jacobs did return to practice Thursday afternoon.

Head Coach Jon Gruden anticipated earlier this week that Jacobs would be "back on the grass" and it was delivered. Jacobs' potential return couldn't come at a better time for the team. Despite Peyton Barber's 111 rushing yard performance against the Miami Dolphins, the Silver and Black are still ranked 23rd in the league in rushing yards (274).

Even with his return to practice, Gruden called Jacobs "really questionable" for Monday night's game, but if he does play, the ground and pound run attack could be at full force against the Chargers.

Additionally, all four running backs have shown they have pass catching abilities, which will give Derek Carr more room to spread defenses apart, coming off his AFC Offensive Player of the Month for September selection. So yes, dangerous would definitely be an adequate adjective to use.

Ryan Coziar says...

"The D-line needs to keep the pressure on."

According to Gruden, "it all starts with pressure."

"The quarterback has got to make a quick decision," he said. "We can't let him stand back there and make two or three look offs and get the ball to his secondary and third receiver. We've done a better job with the rush."

The Silver and Black defense has already racked up seven sacks in three games, which is a third of the total amount of sacks they had the entire 2020 season. Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue have been the catalysts for transforming the defensive line this season. Crosby currently has nine total tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and a 91.2 PFF grade. Ngakoue currently has six total tackles, a pass deflection and a 84.9 PFF grade – the highest grade of any free agent acquisition in the league.

The defensive line has also gotten key production from free agent signing Solomon Thomas, who is leading the team in sacks (2.5). Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli seem to have this unit on the right track and they will only get better with more snaps together as a unit. Hopefully they can put together a complete game against a revamped Chargers offensive line, lead by rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater, who hasn't allowed a sack in a game since his sophomore season at Northwestern University.

Javier Ochoa says...

"Offense has to start out fast, can't take 3-4 drives to get going."

Javier, I feel that you, myself and the Raiders offense would all agree.

The Silver and Black have gotten off to a few slow starts this season. They've fallen behind 14-0 in the first half of both their home overtime victories this season, but the team has remained undefeated with their ability to pick up the pace and get things rolling when it matters. The Raiders have scored 31 points in the first half of their three games, in comparison to 59 points in the second half and overtime. While it is great to come from behind and pick up resilient wins, it's not a great mindset to always have.

"The emphasis has always – for like two years now – has been finish, finish, finish, finish. We got to get back to 'let's start fast and then finish,'" said Carr.

"There are some things we've looked at and seen that inside, in the house, we can take care of to be able to start better, start faster. And hopefully we can do that against this team, because you don't want to just give them the ball back. They have a good offense, they can easily get down there and score and get up on you. For us, we definitely want to start faster but hopefully maintain the finishing part. We've been able to finish really well, but we need to come out a little bit better."

The Chargers' high-octane offense is ninth in the league in total yards. If Carr and company can start fast out the gate, it will be hard for any defense in the league to keep up with them for four quarters.

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