New offensive coordinator Greg Olsen must find a way to get the ball in wide receiver Jacoby Ford‘s hands this season. When the Oakland Raiders drafted him in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft, everyone expected Ford to be another track star who could not play a lick of football. Ford was the latest Raider draft pick to run the fastest 40-yard dash (4.28) at the combine. While many Raider fans expected a reincarnation of Johnny Lee Higgins, Ford immediately showed that he was the real deal within a few games of wearing the silver and black.
During Ford’s rookie season he helped revitalize the kick return game by taking three kick returns to the house for touchdowns. He became the most explosive return man in recent memory for the Raiders by consistently giving the offense great field position.
Not only was Ford explosive on special teams but he also showed he was a game breaking wide receiver. During a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Ford made a plethora of spectacular catches and returns. He finished with over 140 yards receiving and 150 return yards.
Former offensive coordinator and head coach Hue Jackson knew exactly how to use Ford on offense. Not only would he line up in the slot to burn by slower defenders but he also got the ball on reverses which he broke for big runs. New quarterback Matt Flynn should study how his mentor, Aaron Rodgers, used receiver Randall Cobb last season in the passing game.
It is of utmost importance that Ford is used in the offense this season. With no proven game breakers on the receiving corps, Ford needs to step up as a leader. He should work well with Flynn’s style of play as a wide receiver by turning short throws into long touchdowns. Ford has all the game breaking ability as Percy Harvin, so the Raiders need to find a way to give him the ball on reverses and even line him up in the backfield.
Hopefully Jacoby Ford stays healthy this year because he will be an important part of the new Oakland Raiders.
Jorge Contreras is an Oakland Raiders writer for RantSports.com. Follow Jorge on Twitter @jraycontreras