Oakland Raiders: Notes & Observations From The Week That Was

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Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) scores on a one-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against the Baltimore Ravens as at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Need More From the Running Game

Coming into the season, Oakland was going to emphasize the running game. With Latavius Murray spearheading that effort, the Raiders have looked at a number of different options to beef up the ground attack.

Unfortunately, the Trent Richardson experiment failed miserably. They also opted not to take a chance on Michael Dyer, which frankly, left many fans scratching their heads as he performed well during the exhibition season. Those moves left Oakland with a stable of backs that include Murray, Roy Helu, Taiwan Jones, Marcel Reece, and Jamize Olawale.

It’s a diverse set of backs and each brings something unique and valuable to the table. But it’s not a running backs group that is overly intimidating on paper. And through the first two weeks of the season, it’s clear that there is something missing from Oakland’s ground game.

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  • To be fair, the Oakland rushing attack has done just enough to be a nuisance and a threat to the opposing defense that they can’t just sit on the receivers all game long. Murray is a threat to break a big one every time he touches the ball, and Jones has speed to burn. If either of them get a seam, they have the power and speed to break a long run.

    Defenses have to pay attention to Oakland’s backs – something they didn’t have to do at all last season – which helps the passing game. We saw that on full display on Sunday. Neither Murray nor Jones had a long run, but they did have a couple of good bursts that made a defense minus Terrell Suggs nervous enough to account for them which opened up the passing game for Carr.

    But eventually, that lack of production – and a running game that has produced just 160 total yards in two games is relatively unproductive – is going to catch up to them. Eventually, a running game that is just enough becomes a liability that will allow defenses to clamp down on Oakland’s receivers again.

    We saw that exact same thing happen last season. If Oakland’s offense wants to be as dynamic and explosive as it was against Baltimore, they’re going to need to figure out how to get their backs more touches and more production out of them.

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