Asked what kind of challenges the Las Vegas Raiders present on offense, ahead of Sunday's showdown at MetLife Stadium, Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams singled out one individual by name.
"Love that running back, that running back is tough," Williams said on Friday. "So, we’ll see you know where he’s at, if he’ll play or will it be some shared-time-type stuff, but Jacobs can flat play."
What Williams didn't know at the time is that Jacobs has been ruled out for this weekend's Jets-Raiders game with a right ankle injury. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden made the injury announcement on Friday, also noting that safety Johnathan Abram will also stay home with a knee injury.
Jacobs, a former first-rounder out of Alabama, isn't just the Raiders' top threat on offense. He's statistically one of the best in the league so far this season.
Through 11 games, Jacobs is the NFL's fifth-leading rusher with 782 yards on the ground. Factor in 27 catches and Jacobs leads Las Vegas with 957 yards from scrimmage.
New York hasn't allowed an opponent to rush for 100-plus yards since Week 7 against Buffalo. If Jacobs was healthy this week, that four-week streak would certainly be in jeopardy.
With Jacobs out, Gruden revealed Devontae Booker will start at running back on Sunday.
"He's a good player," Gruden told reporters in a Zoom call on Friday. "He's proven that he can carry the ball and catch it and pass protect. And we'll see Theo Riddick for the first time [since Week 4]. He's back off of the virus. And Jalen Richard, who's been out the last couple games, hopefully is ready to go as well. We're excited about Book and Riddick and Jalen returning to the lineup."
As for who else the Jets need to prepare for on the defensive end, Williams highlighted Las Vegas' speed at the wide receiver position along with tight end Darren Waller (who leads the team with 542 receiving yards in 2020).
"The big thing is, I see the increased speed at the receiver position," Williams explained. "[Waller] is excellent, he’s one of the top in the league right now. He’s very productive, you can see the comfort that [quarterback Derek] Carr has and finding him and he’s playing very well."