Oakland Raiders: Potential X-Factors In Week Three Tilt With Washington

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Chris Thompson
OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 29: Chris Thompson /
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Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders /

Jalen Richard / DeAndre Washington

Oakland’s two scatbacks, Washington and Richard, have provided a fantastic change of pace from the more physical running styles of first, Latavius Murray, and now Marshawn Lynch. The pair of smaller, shiftier backs offer another set of skills to a backfield and helps create a three-headed beast that defenses have a hard time containing.

Their skillsets may prove very useful against Washington on Sunday. While Lynch is going to handle the bull in a china shop role, smashing and crushing his way to yards, Richard and Washington will offer a counterpoint, flashing terrific speed and the ability to operate in space.

Where their skills may come in particularly handily though, is in the passing game. Both have proven to be adept at taking a short pass and turning it into a long gainer. Both are lightning quick, elusive and shifty, and pose nightmare matchups for opposing linebackers tasked with stopping them.

Their pass catching abilities may come in handy for more than just the yards they’ll chew up though. Not only will some short passes and solid yards after the catch soften up that Washington defensive front, allowing for longer strikes downfield to Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, but it will also help slow down Washington’s pass rush.

If Washington’s linebackers – like say, Ryan Kerrigan – have to worry about Richard or Washington coming out of the backfield to catch a short pass, they won’t be able to put the pressure on Carr they normally might be able to.

Not to mention the fact that Washington’s linebackers, namely Zach Brown and Mason Foster, have had trouble through the first two games of the season, containing pass catching running backs. In week one, Eagles running back Darren Sproles caught five balls for 43 yards. In week two, Todd Gurley caught three balls for 48 yards and a touchdown.

On paper, Oakland’s running backs versus Washington’s linebackers is a matchup that favors the Raiders and could be an X-Factor that helps propel them to a win.