Oakland Raiders: Five Bold-ish Predictions For The 2018 Season

Oakland Raiders (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Oakland Raiders (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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Oakland Raiders
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Marshawn Lynch Rushes For 1,000 Yards

Marshawn Lynch played in 15 games last season, racking up 891 rushing yards, and seven touchdowns. As far as the NFL goes, those are pretty ho-hum numbers.

Consider though, Lynch was coming off a year out of the league, and was stuck with an offensive coordinator in Todd Downing, who did not know how to properly use him – or, you know, actually run an offense – and Lynch did okay.

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After barely averaging 10 touches a game over the first part of the season, Downing had some sort of awakening, and started to feed Lynch more often. Over the last half dozen games of the season or so, Lynch was one of the better backs in the game, showing flashes of the old Beast Mode.

Fast forward to this season. Gruden’s passing game is predicated on a strong running game. The run opens up the pass. It was that way in his first go-round with the team when had backs like Tyrone Wheatley powering the run game, and it’s going to be that way again this time.

The difference between this year and last year, as far as Lynch is concerned, is that he now has an offensive coaching staff who know his strengths, and know how to properly deploy him, but Gruden made it a priority to bring in a bruising fullback in Keith Smith, to blow people up and clear the way for him.

Lynch’s best years, prime Beast Mode, as when he had a big fullback in both Michael Robinson, and Derrick Coleman, opening holes for him. Over a four-year span in Seattle (2011-14), Lynch put up 4,357 yards and 48 touchdowns.

Now, with Doug Martin likely helping shoulder the burden in the backfield, Lynch isn’t going to be overworked, but the assist will likely keep him fresher to do his thing.

Running behind what should be an elite offensive line, having a backfield mate to keep him fresh, and a bruising fullback blowing open holes for him, Lynch should be primed for a big year. He’s not going to lead the league in rushing, but she should eclipse 1,000 yards in what may be his swan song, and put an exclamation point on a potentially Hall of Fame-worthy career.