ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Alex Ingold has been almost automatic for the Raiders this season. He’s carried the ball six times and gained a first down each time. Likewise, his only catch of the season resulted in a touchdown.
That’s a perfect seven-for-seven, pretty good numbers by any standard.
But Oakland’s starting fullback is far more impressed by the numbers being put up by the guy behind him. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is fourth in the NFL with 923 yards and heads into Sunday’s game against the New York Jets needing 77 more to become the first rookie in franchise history to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark.
“I’m going to look at my reads and I’m going to look at my blocking and all that stuff but if I can inspire him to run hard and he can inspire me to block hard, that’s how we’re kind of playing off each other right now,” Ingold said Wednesday. “The more that Josh can get the ball and carry the ball and the more we can run, the better we’ll be and accolades will come.”
Ingold hasn’t received many accolades this season even though he’s part of a Raiders rookie class that has accounted for 14 touchdowns.
Ingold has one of his own and has had a hand in most, if not all of Jacobs’ seven rushing scores.
“He’s been everything,” Jacobs said. “Just as important as the offensive line in my opinion. He reminds me on plays in certain things what to do. So I definitely (give) him a lot of credit.”
The fullback position has been phased out of many offenses but has been a constant in Jon Gruden’s offense.
Ingold, with his blocking and short-yardage perfection, is the prototype fullback that Gruden prefers.
“If there’s a better fullback in the league right now, I’d sure like to see him,” the Raiders coach said. “He can run it, he can catch it and he can certainly escort. And he can line up in a couple different positions, so he has some versatility.”
The Raiders’ ability to run the ball has been a big factor in the team’s push into playoff contention. At 6-4, Oakland is a half-game behind Kansas City in the AFC West.
While quarterback Derek Carr deserves a large chunk of credit, Jacobs is a leading contender to be offensive rookie of the year.
Ingold should get a little recognition if that happens. He’s opened holes for Jacobs and hasn’t been stopped shy of the yardage marker the few times he’s been given the ball.
“As a fullback I’m always going to be a blocker first,” Ingold said. “The more yardage Josh can get, the better. But if you’re going to give me the ball, I’m going to do something with it. I’ll never ask for the football but I’m going to run hard when I get it.”
Ingold is also going to block hard, something the became evident early in the season against the Chicago Bears in London when he dove into a pair of defenders to clear the way for Jacobs to dive over the pile into the end zone.
“Just to have Josh show that confidence that I was going to get my job done,” Ingold said. “He had no hesitation when he was going over the top that I was going to get my job done. That just proved a lot, that we trust each other to do our work.”