As Josh Jacobs drifts further and further from being 100 percent healthy, the Raiders must bring Devontae Booker onto the field more. Just about everyone wants Jacobs to receive a vast majority of the team’s running back touches, but he might not have the durability yet.
Throughout the first three games of the season, Jacobs has looked incredibly dominant despite hobbling on and off the field. The heart and desire of Jacobs cannot be questioned, but his body might not be able to consistently answer the call. Currently, Booker is averaging 20 yards per game, which would be almost ideal if Jacobs were cleared of his dings, but fans can expect his numbers to continue increasing. While Booker does have a low yards per game average, he does tend to gain these yards in chunks. Against the Carolina Panthers, Booker recorded four rushes for 29 yards and also rushed three times for 31 yards.
With the relative success Booker has had, it would seem foolish to continue running Jacobs straight into the ground. It is acceptable that Jacobs is not going to receive 90+ percent of touches out of the backfield. Booker may not have the talent for a lead-back role, but he could prolong Jacobs’ effectiveness.
While Jacobs has improved his pass-catching, Booker still remains a solid target out of the backfield as well. Booker is quite talented, but there is not much he does better than Jacobs. A 70-30 split for Jacobs/Booker seems ideal. It still allows Jacobs to take over the game but also keeps him significantly more rested.
Even with the sporadic injuries, the Raiders’ offensive line allows just about anyone to run successfully behind it. Not allowing Booker to get a notable amount of looks seems like a bit of a waste. Obviously, Jacobs is the first choice for the Raiders and if it were not for his unfortunate luck with stingers and bruises, he might see even fewer looks. But, I would trade a few 1500+ rushing yards seasons for a long career of 1200+ yard seasons.