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Raiders’ Jacobs wants ‘minimum of 20’ touches — and numbers back him up

It didn’t take long for Antonio Pierce and Josh Jacobs to find a significant flaw in the Raiders’ offensive attack against the Dolphins on Sunday.

As if in flashing red lights, the number 14 next to Jacobs’ name in the box score screamed at them.

The number represented how many carries Jacobs got in the 20-13 loss. And it didn’t sit well with Jacobs or the Raiders’ interim coach.

“We don’t want those touches to be at that 14 mark,” Pierce said this week. “That’s not our number.”

Jacobs was even more direct.

“I gotta touch the ball a minimum of 20 times,” Jacobs said. “I feel like, just because of the way I run and the way I inspire the guys, the style of play, I feel like it’s contagious.”

Lest you think this is just about ego or Jacobs thinking more individually than collectively, the numbers say he’s spot-on in his assessment.

In all five Raider victories this season, Jacobs has run at least 19 times. In the one victory in which his run touches fell under the 20 mark — in the season opener against the Broncos — he also caught two passes for a total of 21 touches.

In the four other wins, Jacobs had 20 carries against the Packers, 25 against the Patriots, 26 against the Giants and 27 against the Jets.

In the Raiders’ six losses this season, Jacobs’ rushing attempt totals were nine, 17, 17, 11, 15 and 14.

“Our magic number is 20-plus, and we got to stay with it,” Pierce said.

Part of which means accepting the fact there will be times Jacobs doesn’t run for positive yards.

“It’s not always pretty,” Pierce said. “And we just got to remember that as we’re calling it and stick with it.”

From Jacobs’ vantage point, whether running it or catching it, the physical way he attacks opposing tacklers eventually creates a breaking point.

“After a while, I feel like, you tackle somebody 10 times, you’re gonna start to feel that,” Jacobs said. “So at the end of the game, it starts to wear on you. Regardless if you really want to do it or not, like, it starts to get a little bit harder and harder each time.”

It’s a mindset Jacobs has always taken to the field.

“I think for me, my mentality and the way I approach the game, I try to attack every time I’m on the field,” Jacobs said. “I think the coaches know that. I feel like we’re starting to get that understanding.”

Pierce has made Jacobs’ touches a focal point since taking over for Josh McDaniels three weeks ago. It worked perfectly in wins over the Giants and Jets, but when the Raiders deviated from it, they lost a winnable game in Miami.

Shortly after being elevated to interim coach, Pierce said Jacobs was the heart and soul of the Raiders’ offense and that his running presence helps loosen things up for receivers Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers and others.

“Obviously, I’ve said since I’ve gotten here, it will run through Josh Jacobs,” Pierce said. “That opens up everything for Davante, for Jakobi. So, it just opens up for our entire offense and our O-line. It helps everybody out.”

Expect that to be the case when the Raiders host the Chiefs on Sunday.

“Everybody knows, there’s no hidden agenda,” Pierce said. “We’ve got the best running back in football, and we’re going to use him, and we need to use him.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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