Oakland Raiders: Reasons To Be Excited And Concerned After First Game

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Aug 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) stiff arms St. Louis Rams corneramback Tremaine Johnson (22) in a preseason NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Excited – Latavius Murray

Last season, the Raiders posted the league’s worst running game. By far. With running backs Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, “leading” the way, the Raiders racked up a very less than impressive 1,240 yards. That translates out to an average of 3.7 yards per carry, and 21.1 yards per game – both dead last in the league.

If not for the late season emergence of then second year back Latavius Murray – whom interim HC Tony Sparano seemed to turn to out of sheer desperation, the Raiders’ rushing numbers would have been far worse. In very limited action late last year, Murray racked up 424 yards on just 82 carries for a healthy 5.2 yards per carry average.

Questions swirled around Murray this offseason. Nobody knew whether he had the toughness and grit to be Oakland’s bell cow. Nobody knew if Murray could withstand the rigors of a full NFL schedule and still maintain his effectiveness.

After a very solid offseason, and a terrific showing in the game against the Rams, Murray looks to be answering some of those questions. Of course, there is a long way to go yet before all of those fears can be allayed, but in limited action against St. Louis, Murray rushed six times for 35 yards – a 5.8 ypc average.

Murray ran with vision, decisiveness, and authority. He looked every bit the lead back the Raiders are hoping he can be. And if he keeps it up, Oakland will have a very solid, very explosive running game – which will only benefit Derek Carr and the passing game.

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