With the NFL and NFLPA still trying to figure out the details of how to officially start camp, jobs remain up for grabs. While that topic will be addressed later this week, this article focuses on one particular job, regarding the Las Vegas Raiders. First and foremost, anyone with a pulse and a brain knows that Josh Jacobs will see the lion’s share of the carries. However, in Jon Gruden’s offense, the backfield needs an electric, change-of-back back. With that said, the battle between Lynn Bowden and Jalen Richard should grab attention as one of the most competitive battles.
In this category, the Raiders didn’t use a diverse route tree, other than checkdowns and dump-offs. As a result, at first glimpse, the nod would lean toward Richard. Yet, Bowden’s experience at wide receiver gives him the ability to make plays away from his body. Adjustment with catching the ball requires eyes.
As mentioned, Bowden’s experience as a wideout should make Jon Gruden salivate. The Raiders could spread him out without being just a distraction. Splitting Bowden ou to the slot, immediately forces either subpackage defensive back or linebacker to alter their coverage. In fact, the option route would automatically catch Derek Carr’s eye. Meanwhile, Richard offers a safe, meat-and-potatoes pattern player.
While this trait cannot use quantifiable numbers, it remains one of the most important. Derek Carr, to both his credit and detraction, won’t trust easily. Over time, Carr builds a chemistry with his teammates. However, as we’ve seen, if Carr doesn’t possess the faith in you, do not look for the ball. Under those circumstances, the veteran Richard stands head and shoulder above most of the offensive players on the Raiders.
Big Play Potential
Granted, Richard flashed gamebreaking ability early. Unfortunately, his first official carry became his lone big play. That 75-yard scamper provided fans with a hopeful glimpse. On the other hand, whether returning punts, taking handoffs or lining up wide, he will threaten defenses with the threat of the home run.
The Las Vegas Raiders constructed a younger offense around Derek Carr. More importantly, the Raiders continue to install big-play talent. Bowden wins the third-down back job with relative ease over Jalen Richard. Now, the only way Richard wins this job is either a mammoth collapse by Lynn Bowden.