Oakland Raiders Versus The AFC West: Running Backs

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May 26, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) carries the ball at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Saying that the Oakland Raiders‘ rushing attack in 2014 was horrifically bad is like saying water is wet, fire is hot, and the earth revolves around the sun – in other words, “Duh.”

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Led by veterans Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, the 2014 Raiders’ ground game will go down as one of the worst in team history. With 1,240 rushing yards last season, while not one of the all time worst showings in league history, it’s still pretty stinking awful.

Needles to say, fixing the running game has been a high priority for the team this offseason.

Gone are McFadden – off to Dallas – and Jones-Drew – off to retirement – and in is third year back Latavius Murray, who was the only running back on Oakland’s roster last season who showed any sort of a spark. Also in is former third overall draft pick, castoff, and possible bust, but possible steal of free agency Trent Richardson. The Raiders also signed the versatile Roy Helu to add to their stable of backs.

Though early word coming out of Raiders’ camp is that the team won’t be using at traditional fullback this season – thanks primarily to the emergence of the up-tempo, spread style offensive attack – the Raiders do still also have Marcel Reece, who many (rightly) believe should be getting more touches, and Jamize Olawale, whose role at this point is undefined.

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  • With a revamped offensive line that includes free agent acquisition Rodney Hudson in the middle, Oakland is looking to get its running game back on track – something it desperately needs to do to help second year QB Derek Carr take that next step in his development. After all, without a running game defenses have to account for, they can sit back and pick apart the team’s offensive strategy.

    Which makes it paramount that the Raiders get a lot more production out of their running backs in 2015.

    But now that the Raiders have reshuffled their running attack, and figure to feature it a little more prominently than the previous coaching regime did, the question has to be asked – how does Oakland’s running game stack up against their division rivals?

    Since we’re in a dead period and have the time to kick around the questions – how do the new-look Raiders stack up against their AFC West rivals?

    In this series, we’ll take a look at the positional breakdown and see how the Raiders potentially stack up against their division opponents.

    In a previous article, we explored how Oakland’s receivers stack up against the competition in the AFC West, and in this piece, we’ll take a look at the running back position.

    Next: Number Four