Raiders' Josh Jacobs 'praying' for Tua Tagovailoa after hip injury


Raiders' Josh Jacobs 'praying' for Tua Tagovailoa after hip injury

OAKLAND -- Before becoming a breakout star for the Raiders, Josh Jacobs was one of a multitude of playmakers in Alabama's backfield.  

Last season, Jacobs shared the backfield with college football's biggest star, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. 

Tagovailoa was seen as the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft, but everything changed Saturday when the junior signal-caller was hit during the end of the second quarter of Alabama's eventual 38-7 win over Mississippi State. Tagovailoa was hit as he let the ball go. He stayed down on the field with his helmet off before being carted off the field. 

Tua, the game's brightest star, dislocated his right hip, the team announced. Tagovailoa also suffered a posterior wall fracture, The Athletic's Aaron Suttles reported Saturday. 

Following the Raiders' 17-10 win over the Bengals on Sunday at the Coliseum, Jacobs spoke about the devastating injury to his former teammate. 

"It’s a tragedy, honestly," Jacobs said."That’s because of the type of person he is. If you’ve ever met him, he’s the coolest dude on Earth. To see him go through all the adversity he has gone through [in the past] is huge. He has been in my prayers. Hopefully, he can come back from this."

Alabama team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain said the hip dislocation was "immediately reduced at the stadium." Tagovailoa will have surgery Monday in Houston and is expected to make a full recovery. He will miss the rest of the season as Alabama vies for a spot in the College Football Playoffs, and there is no timetable for his recovery. 

This type of hip injury is tricky and the exact course of action and rehab isn't known as it would be for a torn ACL or an ankle injury. Tua will have surgery and then he will go from there. His NFL future will be decided by how teams view the injury and his rehab timetable. 

The injury likely ends what was a captivating college career for Tagovailoa. He burst onto the scene in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship Game, replacing the ineffective Jalen Hurts at halftime to lead the Crimson Tide back from a 13-point deficit to force overtime against Georgia. 

After Georgia kicked a field goal to open overtime, Tagovailoa took a sack that knocked Alabama out of field goal range. A freshman facing the biggest moment of his life, Tagovaiola answered his costly mistake with one of the most iconic plays in college football history. He dropped back, looked the safety off and threw a strike down the left side to DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard touchdown to give Alabama the title. 

His sophomore season only can be categorized as brilliant. He threw for 3,966 yards and 43 touchdowns and would have won the Heisman if not for an ankle injury that knocked him out of the SEC Championship Game against Georiga. 

[RELATED: Crosby-Mullen bond creates winning plays for Raiders]

Tagovailoa has faced a number of injuries in his college career but none as severe as this. The road back will be long, and his draft stock will be a roller coaster for the next several months. 

He was a college football icon who forced Nick Saban to change the way his offense is run in order to accommodate and utilize a transcendent talent. He was mesmerizing. His deep-ball captivating. Every time he dropped back, the stadium held its breath in anticipation of the next unbelievable play. 

Jacobs had a front-row seat to Tagovailoa's greatness and resiliency. He hopes, like the rest of us, he can see it again.

Raiders' primary objective vs. Titans: Stop 'machine' Derrick Henry

Raiders' primary objective vs. Titans: Stop 'machine' Derrick Henry

ALAMEDA -- Ryan Tannehill is receiving credit for Tennessee’s recent resurgence. That’s appropriate given how well the former backup quarterback has been playing during a 5-1 stretch since becoming the starter.

Let’s not forget who’s really driving the Titans' offense. That’s the 6-foot-3, 247-pound freight train coming out of the backfield.

Derrick Henry has been a monster this season, proving as tough to take down as ever. He has 1,140 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground, currently on a run of three straight games with at least 145 yards and a touchdown.

A repeat performance on Sunday against the Raiders at Oakland Coliseum would make Henry the only player to do so in four straight games.

The Raiders would like to prevent that and are armed with the No. 12-ranked run defense. They’ll try to slow a back that never seems to wear down.

“The secret sauce in Henry is he’s got all the talent, and size, and running instincts, but he never tires,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “He does not get tired. He’s a machine, man. This guy wears you down -- physical -- he can wear you down. You’ve got to gang tackle him. He’s a better-than-advertised receiver, but he just never tires. The more they give him the ball, the better he gets. It’s an impressive human being.”

Tannehill obviously benefits from Henry’s threat and a balanced offense that has the Titans going strong. Stopping the run, or slowing it at least, will be key for the Raiders' defense in this important game. It will not, however, be easy.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge, but we know it’ll be a challenge dealing with Superman Derrick Henry,” defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins said on this week’s Raiders Talk podcast. "... He’s a great back. He’s big. He’s fast. He sheds tackles like there are kids trying to tackle him. I think, overall, we have to do a good job of keeping him in the backfield and not giving him open lanes or creases to work. We also need to hit him as much as we can, because he’s a big guy. Overall, I think we’re ready for the challenge. I’m excited for this game.”

[RELATED: Raiders' offense takes big hit with Brown out vs. Titans]

It’ll take the entire defensive unit playing disciplined football to slow Henry down. Give him an inch of space or leverage or poor tackling technique and he’ll take chunk yards by the mile.

“I just think you’ve got to be in good position,” defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said. “You’ve got to have eleven guys to the ball. You’ve got to play the blocks. First and foremost, you’ve got to be in the right spots, play the block, and then when he gets through there you’ve got to have eleven guys to the ball. He does a good job of trying to get extra yards, so we’ve got to put hats on him wherever he is, on his body as he’s trying to get those extra yards. We’ve got to make sure we get eleven to him.”

Raiders launch Josh Jacobs' NFL Rookie of the Year campaign online

Raiders launch Josh Jacobs' NFL Rookie of the Year campaign online

ALAMEDA – The Raiders have launched a campaign to help running back Josh Jacobs become the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

They have opened a website extolling his virtues. They have passed out buttons. They even have fullback and "chief of interior transportation" Alec Ingold giving a fireside chat about how awesome Jacobs has been in 2019.

The promotional materials may draw some extra attention, but Jacobs’ case is easy to make.

He has smashed every Raiders rookie rushing record. He exceeded 1,000 yards in his 12th game and will have huge totals even if he isn’t able to play Sunday against Tennessee. He’s formally questionable with a fractured shoulder he's been playing through since trucking Green Bay safety Adrian Amos in Week 7.

His numbers are pretty awesome. Jacobs has 218 carries 1,061 yards and seven touchdowns. That’s 4.9 yards per carry, and he ranks fifth in the NFL in total rushing yards. He also has another 18 receptions 146 yards.

The competition must always be considered, but he has to be the frontrunner after winning back-to-back rookie of the month awards.

Arizona's No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray is certainly a candidate, but the Cardinals don’t have many wins. Washington receiver Terry McLaurin and Baltimore wideout Marquise Brown have had good seasons, but they shouldn’t be considered serious competition here.

The Raiders haven’t had an offensive rookie of the year since Marcus Allen won it in 1982, and Jacobs has smashed Allen’s records from that strike-shortened year. Charles Woodson was the last rookie of the year on either side of the ball, winning the defensive award in 1998.

[RELATED: NFL prospects for Raiders to watch on Championship Weekend]

Jacobs’ shoulder injury could hurt the campaign more than anything, especially if he misses a few games or gets shut down for the rest of the season if the playoffs become a distant pipe dream.

Outside of that, he should be the favorite to win the award heading down the stretch.