Ground Game Must Show Up
Not having Latavius Murray for the last couple of games has been a big blow to the Raiders offense. His absence has shown that while rookies DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are excellent in a supporting role and as change of pace backs, they are not capable of shouldering the workload all on their own.
Against San Diego, they did just enough in amassing 84 combined yards on the ground, to keep the Chargers off balance and allow Derek Carr to make some plays. Against the Chiefs last week, the duo didn’t have nearly as much success and the 64 combined yards they put up – along with the lack of a running threat – allowed the Chiefs defense to key on the passing game and shut it down.
For the last three weeks, the Raiders ground game has been sub-par. And taken out of context, you might believe it’s a sign of things to come. But in Baltimore, where the team put up a meager 62 yards, they were facing the league’s second best run defense. There just wasn’t a whole lot of room to run against that aggressive, run-stopping unit.
In San Diego – without Murray – the Raiders faced the league’s seventh best run defense. And they were able to make a few plays on the ground when they needed them most.
But last week, they squared off with one of the league’s worst run defenses and couldn’t get anywhere on the ground. Kansas City shut them down at every turn and completely bottled up Richard and Washington. Which, in turn, helped put the clamps on Carr and the passing game.
Against the Jaguars, the Raiders are going to have to do better than that if they hope to find success. Much better. They’ll reportedly have Murray back, but they’re going to be facing a run defense that’s a whole lot better than Kansas City’s was.