Oakland Raiders: Five Players Under The Most Pressure To Produce Now

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Dec 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) runs the ball against the Buffalo Bills in the second quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Latavius Murray

As already stated, Oakland had the NFL’s most ridiculously bad running game in 2014. Part of it can be written off to poor production from Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew. But another part of it has to be laid at the feet of the former coaching staff. Former head coaches Dennis Allen and Tony Sparano were all too quick to pull the plug on a running attack and put all the pressure on rookie QB Derek Carr to make the offense go.

The Raiders didn’t just have the fewest yards on the ground last season, they also had by far, the fewest attempts. It’s hard to establish a ground game if you don’t really give it a chance to be established.

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Bruce Irvin's familiarity with Derek Carr served him well in Lions' debut
Bruce Irvin's familiarity with Derek Carr served him well in Lions' debut /

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  • But Latavius Murray stepped in and provided the Raiders’ running game with a huge lift. After running for 43 yards on four attempts against San Diego in week ten, he followed that up with a four carry 112 yard performance against the Chiefs in week eleven – an injury knocked him out of the game following his second touchdown.

    But as was the style of the inconsistent coaching staff, Murray ended the season with 23 carries, 12 carries, 23 carries, and 10 carries in the season finale. A running back can’t find their groove or establish a rhythm when they’re being jerked around as bad Murray did in 2014.

    Murray has proven that he can spark an offense. But now he has to prove to Del Rio and the Raiders’ coaching staff that he is durable enough to be the bellcow for Oakland. He has to have a strong camp to show that his success in 2014 wasn’t just a one time event and that he can be a consistent performer.

    The Raiders running game desperately needs some life and if Murray wants to be the one to give it the juice it needs, he has to step up big time.

    Next: D.J. Hayden