Oakland Raiders: 7 Things To Watch For In Second Preseason Game

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Aug 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) hands the ball off to running back Latavius Murray (28) against the St. Louis Rams in a preseason NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. Can Latavius Murray Keep It Going?

Murray, who provided a spark – the only spark – in Oakland’s beyond dismal running game last season entered this offseason surrounded by question marks. Was he capable of being Oakland’s every down back? Did he have the mental make up to be the Raiders’ bell cow? Were his performances last season a flash in the pan, or perhaps a peek at how good he can really be?

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  • He has worked hard this offseason to not only answer those questions, but to definitively prove that he can be trusted to lead Oakland’s rushing attack back to prominence. After all, a solid, perhaps even dominant running game, can only serve to enhance the passing attack. Even though Carr, by most measures, had a pretty terrific rookie campaign, he could have been a whole lot better if he’d had a rushing attack that was halfway decent to complement the passing game.

    In the exhibition season opener, Murray looked like he has already solidified his hold on the starting job. In very limited action, he had 35 yards on six carries for an average of 5.8 yards per carry. It showed that perhaps his 5.2 yards per carry average last season – again, on limited carries – was perhaps not a fluke and that perhaps, he’s not a flash in the pan, but a running back ready to be a prime time performer.

    Minnesota had the NFL’s 25th ranked run defense in 2014, giving up a little more than 121 yards per game. They’ve added some nice pieces this offseason, so it will be a good test for Murray to see if he can continue building his own personal momentum and help bring Oakland’s running game back to a decent level.

    Next: 3. The Fight For the Second Spot