Over the first two weeks, you can see what Jon Gruden wants to accomplish. He instituted a run heavy approach. With the offseason acquisitions of fullback Keith Smith and tight end Derek Carrier, the Raiders want to pound the ball. While the Rams’ blowout skews the numbers (72 passes to 50 rushes), the attempt appears there. Despite this, the run game started fairly well in 2018. Marshawn Lynch in his first two games of the season has 106 yards, 2 touchdowns. While only averaging 3.7 yards a carry, the Raiders appear more willing to batter opponents. More importantly, Lynch maintains that fire and willingness to initiate contact.
In the offseason, the team also signed Doug Martin. The former Buc appeared to settle into a backup role after a down season. More importantly, Martin gives the Raiders flexibility. In the passing game, Martin can sit down in a soft spot or win versus a linebacker on the perimeter. He will be a good fit as a second option at running back for the Raiders when Marshawn Lynch is out the game.
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If you look down the depth chart, running backs, Jalen Richard occupies a spot. So far, in Gruden’s offense, Richard sees the lion’s share of touches. In two games, the undrafted back collected 16 touches. Inconsistency and fumble problems plagued him in 2017. However, Richard found his way on the field rather frequently in the first two weeks. When right, his elusiveness and shifty feet make him a problem for many linebackers.
DeAndre Washington seems to be a depth need. Considering the injury to preseason breakout to running back Chris Warren that ended his rookie season before Week 1. The Raiders possess the pieces and tools to be a hard nose running football team. With that said, this year, it comes down to execution. In recent years, the Raiders could not craft a power running game. Now, the run feels more about scheme than specific talent. Only time will tell, if Oakland can consistently move the ball.
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