Early Season Raiders Awards: Crosby, Jacobs leading the way

Source: USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders are 1-4 and are resting up during their much-needed bye week. Five weeks into the season, there have been some standout players despite the slow start, as well as some disappointments contributing to the team’s early season struggles.

Offensive MVP

RB Josh Jacobs

The Raiders offense hasn’t been bad through five weeks, as WRs Davante Adams and Mack Hollins have been a formidable duo, but there is one player standing out from the bunch. RB Josh Jacobs is on a tear and is the heart and soul of this offense.

After his performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacobs skyrocketed to third in the NFL in rushing yards. Jacobs has rushed for 490 yards and three touchdowns on 5.4 yards per carry and has added 129 yards through the air.

Once head coach Josh McDaniels unleashed Jacobs, the Raiders offense has looked a lot better. His ability to wear down opposing defenses and extend drives has really given this offense a boost that they’ve needed. If the Raiders want to turn this season around, McDaniels will have to continue to feed Jacobs and allow him to be great.

Defensive MVP

DE Maxx Crosby

The Raiders defense has left a lot to be desired five weeks into the season. CB Nate Hobbs is one of two players deserving this award, but DE Maxx Crosby runs away with it.

Crosby has taken another step into stardom for the Raiders and now looks like a top three player at his position. Heading into the bye after a dominant performance against the Chiefs, Crosby ranked first in sacks (6) and first in TFLs (11). Looking back, his offseason contract extension is looking like a bargain for the Raiders.

Crosby has been one of the only consistent players for the Raiders defense and is doing everything in his power to carry this pass rush. He has become a headache for offensive coordinators as he is demanding attention from two to three blockers all times. With Crosby dominating attention, the rest of the Raiders’ front seven need to increase their production following the bye.

Most Disappointing

HC Josh McDaniels

There are a few players and even other coaches who came to mind for the most disappointing Raider through five weeks, but McDaniels takes the crown. A team full of this type of talent should not be 1-4.

Let’s start with their game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Raiders were up 20-0 at halftime and choked away the lead to lose in overtime. McDaniels’ playcalling became conservative and ultimately lost them the game.

It appeared that McDaniels didn’t learn his lesson from the loss to the Cardinals as during the Titans game, the offense was non-existent in the first half and came alive too late in the second. The lack of aggressiveness was again the issue, and it showed itself yet again in the team’s loss to the Chiefs as the Raiders were up 17-0 and collapsed in the second half and lost.

The Raiders haven’t been able to play a full, quality game in four out of five weeks. That is ultimately on the head coach. McDaniels has to get this team ready to play all 60 minutes if they are going to make a playoff push after the bye week.

Most Surprising

G Dylan Parham

There haven’t been many surprising players to name up to this point in the season. Hollins has looked good, but that is in large part to the coverage Adams has received. Parham has come in as rookie and been one of the most key pieces to the Raiders offense.

Parham rotated in during Week 1 but didn’t truly start until Week 2. He started at center for two weeks replacing an injured Andre James and has since locked down a starting spot at guard.

As a rookie there are going to be mistakes, but Parham has been stout as a run blocker. He has the highest run block win rate among NFL guards at 83%. Parham being this good this early is what the Raiders offensive line needed when he was selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

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