East Bay native Taiwan Jones was drafted by his hometown Oakland Raiders to become a change of pace running back. It became obvious to many that Jones would don the silver and black uniform of the Raiders because of Al Davis’ love for lightning speed. The former track star never found his bearings as an NFL running back so Reggie McKenzie decided to switch him to cornerback.
During the preseason, Jones looked like he had the potential to be a future nickel back in this league. However, the real reason he is still on the Raiders roster is his stellar special teams play. Jones’ freakish athletic ability translates well to the special teams unit where Jones is able to get to the returner in a blink of an eye.
Even though Jones is better off as a cornerback/special teams ace, the Raiders should still find a way to use him in offensive packages. The Raiders have given the ball to Jones once this season on a fake punt. On that fake punt play, Jones used his speed to run the ball 19 yards for a first down. Hopefully, offensive coordinator Greg Olson has used the bye week to figure out a way to use Jones in his offense.
It has been frustrating to watch the Raiders try to run the ball behind the awful offensive line. For some reason the Raiders are continuing to call up the middle runs for Darren McFadden. Using Jones in special packages would allow the Raiders to get some outside runs that could gain some decent yardage. During tonight’s Panthers game, Cam Newton faked the read option to Mike Tolbert and tossed it to Deangelo Williams who gained the edge. The Raiders could use a similar strategy with Pryor, McFadden and Jones in the backfield.