Alec Ingold

Josh Jacobs setting lofty standards amid stellar Raiders rookie season

Josh Jacobs setting lofty standards amid stellar Raiders rookie season

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders couldn't have scripted a better start to Josh Jacobs' NFL career.

After selecting Jacobs No. 24 overall in the first round this year -- one of the picks they received in the Khalil Mack trade -- the Alabama product has run all over everyone in his path, proving to be the feature back head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock believed he was when starring for the Crimson Tide.

Jacobs already has set the Raiders' rookie rushing record. He's closing in on 1,000 yards and likely will eclipse the mark either Sunday against the Jets or in Week 13 against the Chiefs. He's been the definition of a bell cow, teaming up with rookie fullback Alec Ingold as the catalyst of a dynamic Raiders rushing attack. 

Racking up the yards while passing legends like Marcus Allen would make most rookies happy with their first NFL season, proud at their contributions to a team in the thick of the playoff race.

But Jacobs isn't that type of player. Stats don't matter. There are no number barriers he can cross to give himself a pat on the back. It should be no surprise the electric back out of the Nick Saban School of Self Before Team looks to things other than numbers to assess his play each game. 

He racked up 112 yards in the Raiders' 17-10 win over the Bengals. He wasn't happy with that, putting the ball on the turf and not finding the painted area will do that.

"I gauge [success] more off of what am I reading, if I made the right cut, if I gave enough effort on the play or if I need to tone down the effort," Jacobs said Wednesday after practice. "There's a lot of things that go into it that I look at whether it's play speed or should I have made somebody miss? There's a lot of things I think about.

"Last week, I missed a couple holes and that's the first time that I can say that I did that multiple times, not just once or twice. I probably had four plays that I wanted back so that's probably what I'm trying to come in and execute."

Jacobs has 923 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in 10 games. He's the favorite or at least the co-favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. The Raiders open just about every game by sticking the ball in Jacobs' belly and letting him go to work. He's a focal point of their present and future.

Quarterback Derek Carr has called him one of the best running backs in the NFL, noting people won't call him that because he's a rookie. 

Jacobs ranks fourth in rushing yards, yards per carry, yards per game and is sixth in touchdowns. By every metric, he's been sensational.

The Raiders believed he would be great and likely were ready to sprint to the podium to turn in the card with his name on it the second the Texans passed at No. 23. 

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He's rewarded their faith time and time again during his rookie season. The talent was undeniable even when Jacobs was splitting carries with Damien Harris at Alabama. All you had to do was turn on the tape and watch Jacobs carve up LSU, run past Oklahoma and deliver punishing blows against Clemson to see he had the everything it takes to be a star at this level.

Jacobs knew it, but that doesn't mean he hasn't been surprised by his early success.

Achieving success while not meeting your own standards gives one even greater drive to ascend to new heights.

"It's like I know I could be better, you know what I'm saying?" Jacobs said. "So that eats at me more than doing good."

Raiders ran 'Spider 2 Y Banana' for key touchdown in win vs. Chargers

Raiders ran 'Spider 2 Y Banana' for key touchdown in win vs. Chargers

Jon Gruden was beaming with joy Thursday night as the Raiders knocked off the Chargers 26-24 in the final night game at the Coliseum.

While the win was sweet and Gruden was fired up after safety Karl Joseph's game-sealing interception, a play in the first half undoubtedly had him asking his team to knock on wood.

With the Raiders trailing 14-10 nearing halftime, Gruden dusted off one of his favorite plays -- "Spider 2 Y Banana" -- and it worked to perfection as quarterback Derek Carr hit his first read -- fullback Alec Ingold -- for a 9-yard touchdown to give Oakland a 17-10 halftime lead.

Gruden's love for "Spider 2 Y Banana" became public knowledge during his time at ESPN when he ran "Gruden's QB Camp" with top NFL draft prospects.

During his session with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, Gruden grilled the No. 1 overall pick about not hitting the fullback when running Spider 2 Y Banana against USC. Luck opted to try and hit the receiver on the opposite side and threw a pick-six. 

Three years later, Gruden went viral again when he went in-depth with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota about "Spider 2 Y Banana."

[RELATED: Raiders-Chargers Coliseum finale was fitting final chapter]

The win got the Raiders to 5-4 and Gruden's favorite play helped seal the deal. That's awesome.

Knock on wood if you're with Chucky.

Raiders fullback Alec Ingold excited for Green Bay homecoming vs. Packers

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USATSI

Raiders fullback Alec Ingold excited for Green Bay homecoming vs. Packers

ALAMEDA -- Alec Ingold grew up in the shadow of Lambeau Field, a high school quarterback in Green Bay, Wisc., with the slow drip of Packers fever coursing through his veins.

He grew up, like every boy in the area, idolizing first Brett Favre and then Aaron Rodgers. He felt the elation of the Pack's 2010 Super Bowl run, a championship jaunt that felt long overdue for one of the best quarterbacks to ever grip the pigskin.

Fast forward to 2019 and that Bay Port High School signal-caller traded in his No. 9 for a No. 45, and swapped his love of the green and yellow to bleed silver and black as the Raiders rookie fullback.

Ingold joined the Silver and Black as an undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin this season and made the roster with his performance in rookie minicamp, OTAs and training camp. Early on, Ingold has become a valuable part of the Raiders' revamped run game, helping clear holes for fellow rookie Josh Jacobs.

"We loved Ingold at the Senior Bowl," Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Wednesday after practice. "We stamped a bunch of Raiders stickers on his helmet. He was really ticked off he didn't get drafted. And if I've done anything right since I've been here coaching the Raiders, it was the recruiting call I made to Ingold. I'm really happy about getting him here.

"He played quarterback in high school in Green Bay. This is a big game for him. I'm trying to get some video of him throwing the ball but all I have is him handing off."

Ingold and the Raiders will head north in Week 7 to face a Packers team reenergized behind new head coach Matt LaFleur. His friends, family, neighbors and probably some former high school rivals will be in attendance to watch Rodgers and the NFC North-leading Pack take on the 3-2 Raiders, who have found new life behind a power running game made stronger by a Green Bay high school legend.

"I think the big deal for me is playing in front of the community that helped me grow up and love football," Ingold said of his return to Green Bay. "The Packers -- it's cool, but I think the people in the stands and the people I grew up with that are going to be able to watch and NFL game and see me go out there, it's going to be a thankful moment for me to thank them and show them how we play football out here in Oakland."

There will be a number of people cheering on the former Bay Port High star Sunday at Lambeau Field, hoping the Wisconsin high school legend throws a couple thunderous blocks to spring Jacobs and perhaps even gets a carry himself.

Of course, Packer football is a way of life up north, so the love for Ingold might slowly die down if the Silver and Black get into a fistfight with Green Bay's favorite sons. The Packer pride running through the veins of his former neighbors is something Ingold understands. That deep-seated love for the Packers is what first made him pick up a football and set him on his path to Oakland, a journey that's next step comes on the hallowed grounds his heroes made famous.

"I think everyone growing up [in Green Bay] loves football and loves the Packers," Ingold said. "It's pretty cool to have a community that rallies around something so unified. It's a big thing for kids to grow up and see these Packers in the grocery store and you stop and stare and it's really cool. To be able to have that go full circle is huge for me, just knowing that's where I came from and just to be able to bring it full circle is going to mean a lot."

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As a junior and senior in high school, Ingold led Bay Port to a 21-3 record before becoming a Badger and helping Wisconsin accumulate a 42-12 record during his four years in Madison.

He'll return home looking to do his part in getting the Raiders to 4-2 before the final leg of their five-game road trip, a feat that seemed like a fairytale four weeks ago.

So, what did Gruden say to convince the quarterback-turned-fullback from Wisconsin to head to the Bay Area and don silver and black?

"He didn't really have to say much," Ingold said. "He brought back the connection we had at the Senior Bowl and, you know, growing up, I knew him from his coaching days in Green Bay and I was taught all the things he did for that program So, it didn't take much for him to get me here."

And what about the game film of him throwing the ball for Bay Port?

"I'll have to pull it up sometime, we'll see," Ingold said with a chuckle.