Explosive wide receiver Jacoby Ford will finally suit up for the Oakland Raiders on Friday. The oft-injured Ford has had the similar career arc as running back Darren McFadden, great when on the field but injured too much to become dependable. Times have changed since we last saw Ford making game changing plays. Hue Jackson is no longer calling the creative plays that almost led the Raiders to the playoffs and the Raiders have more depth at wide receiver.
New offensive coordinator Greg Olsen needs to study how Hue Jackson used Ford in the Raiders’ offense. Say what you want about Jackson, but he knew how to get the ball in his explosive players’ hands. Not only can Ford burn opposing defenses on long routes but he can also break runs on reverses. It’s unfortunate that Ford has been MIA throughout training camp this year, but he must get up to speed quickly if the Raiders want to use him on week one.[youtube id=”VUIzGhav2vU” width=”600″ height=”350″]
Ford actually fits in well with new quarterback Matt Flynn’s playing style as he can make big plays from short routes. Hopefully, Flynn and Ford can get enough reps together during practice this week so they can get their chemistry right. With the emergence of rookie Brice Butler, the Raiders now have four explosive wide receivers on the team. Opposing defenses will have a hard time matching athleticism with Streater, Moore, Butler and Ford running around the field. Olsen must find a way to use four wide receiver sets even with a shabby offensive line.
Former Cleveland Browns return man Josh Cribbs, looks as slow as molasses so the Raiders should make Ford their return man also. We all witnessed what Ford can do in the open field, so he will be an important in getting the Raiders great field position for the offense. Hopefully, Ford has put the injury bug behind him so he can be the game changer he once was.