Jacoby Ford has so much potential. Realizing it has been another matter.
We hear a lot about 2010, when he scored three touchdowns as a kickoff returner and two more a receiver. Those were the good old days, when Raider Nation swooned.
It seems so long ago now, when you're watching a No. 4 receiver clawing to make an impact. Foot injuries robbed most of two seasons, including Dennis Allen’s first as head coach.
Ford has to find sure footing with a new coaching staff and new quarterback Terrelle Pryor in order to demand the reverie bestowed by a fan base living in the past.
The best news has come from eight weeks off the injury report, a time when Ford should’ve a strong impression on a coaching staff that only knows him on film.
Hasn’t happened yet. He has just seven catches for 55 yards. Blah. NFL rules – kickoffs are automatic touchbacks these days – have sapped his effectiveness has a return man. Despite continue health, the Raiders believe he’s only now getting his groove back.
"He hasn’t been healthy," Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "About three weeks ago I just felt like I started to see the explosive Jacoby that maybe some of you had seen in the past, so we’re continuing on trying to keep him involved in certain packages."
Ford is on the Marcel Reece plan, where touches are sought yet incredibly rare.
You can’t blame health anymore.
“I have felt good every since I’ve been back,” Ford said. “Getting over that foot injury was probably the best thing for me. That was the only thing that was really holding me back. So now that I got that problem fixed, I’m able to go out there and perform and help the team as much as possible.”
Ford has to earn trust all over again, and he’s doing over time.
“They saw what I did in the past but now it’s time to go and show what you can do now,” Ford said. “That’s what I try to do whenever I get the ball in my hands, I just try to make a positive play every time, so the ball just keeps finding my hands more and more.”
Ford is often a forgotten man, but declaring fault is difficult. Is it Ford, or a brain trust misusing his talent?
“I think he’s done some things that have caught our eye,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “Obviously, he’s an explosive player, and what we’ve got to do a great job of is finding ways to get the ball in the hands of our playmakers. He’s one of the guys we’ve got out there who, when he gets the ball in his hands, he can make a big play. Yeah, I think he’s one guy we need to find ways to get the ball to.”