NAPA – Josh Jacobs isn’t a big talker. His voice certainly isn’t the loudest in a huddle full of older players during his first Raiders training camp, but it’s increasing volume.
The No. 24 overall NFL draft pick has focused on doing his assignment well, quickly correcting mistakes and fitting into this scheme as best he can.
There’s only so much he can show in the middle of training camp, with the Raiders choosing to minimize the hits he takes in practice.
They have allowed him to get physical a few times in the past week, and the Alabama alum is starting to assert himself as a tough runner and pass protector.
He’s also getting a bit more vocal as he’s getting more comfortable in his expansive role.
Quarterback Derek Carr considers that a good thing. He likes what he’s learning about Jacobs, who will be a key cog in a high-powered Raiders offense.
“He’s super competitive,” Carr said. “I think he has a good grab of the offense now and now you’re starting to see his leadership and personality come out. We’ve seen him at times where he’s starting to get a little mad if he doesn’t see a guy giving enough. I’m going to urge him to speak up. ‘Hey, I don’t care if you are a rookie. We all believe in you and you’ve proven it on the field to us that you can play, go ahead and speak your mind. If it’s not right, get it right.’
The Raiders are starting to see Jacobs’ passion for the game emerge in practice work.
“So, I saw a little bit of that out of him today,” Carr said. “There was a fieriness that I haven’t, not to say that I haven’t seen it, but there hasn’t been an opportunity for it. When you go against somebody else that little fiery spark came out and it was a good thing to see that he had that in him.”
Jacobs has a fan across the field during this week’s joint practices with the Rams. L.A. feature back Todd Gurley was impressed by Jacobs’ college career, and believes he should be a good pro.
“He’s a great running back, got a chance to watch him at Alabama,” Gurley said. “You know, he’s a first-round pick with a lot of talent, so I’m looking forward to watching him ball out with them this year. Haven’t really got a chance to talk to him too much, got a chance to talk to him just a little bit out here.
"He’ll be fine, man. He just has to keep doing what he’s been doing, you know, the things that got him here. He’s got a good team around him.”
Jacobs knows he must keep progressing throughout the summer despite the fact he won’t see much work in preseason games. These practices are vital to him, so he’s focused on correcting mistakes quickly.
“The key is pushing the reset button quickly,” Jacobs said. “If you mess up, you have to fix it and move on to the next play. When rookies mess up, they can get in their head a lot. There’s so much to learn and process in your first season, so not letting mistakes get you down is important. You have to stay focused on improvement. That’s what I’m trying to do.”