The Oakland Raiders made the surprising move to waive second-year running back Chris Warren III on Sunday following a rough start to training camp.
Oakland Raiders fans had high expectations for running back Chris Warren III this summer. After tearing through opposing defenses with his bulldozer-style running last preseason, the hope was that a repeat performance could land him a spot on the 53-man roster.
However, it doesn’t appear as though he’s going to get that chance.
The Raiders made the surprising move to waive Warren on Sunday during just the second day of training camp. In a corresponding move, Oakland re-signed running back James Butler who spent time on the team’s practice squad last season.
The release of Warren comes as a bit of a surprise given what we saw from him last preseason. The former Texas star led the NFL in rushing yards last August and looked well on his way to earning a roster spot before a knee injury sidelined him for the year.
Perhaps he was a bit overhyped, but expectations were nonetheless high for Warren this preseason — at least as high as they could be for a second-year undrafted running back who had never played a down in the NFL.
His bruising running style punished defenders and it looked like Warren would be competing with veteran DeAndre Washington for the final running back spot on the roster — assuming the team kept four running backs.
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It was easy to envision a scenario in which Warren served as the team’s goal-line/short-yardage back given his powerful 250-pound frame. Unfortunately, that 250-pound frame reportedly ballooned up to around 270 pounds this offseason, not something that pleased his coaches.
On top of that, head coach Jon Gruden hadn’t exactly been secretive that the coaching staff wanted him to be a more complete player this offseason. That primarily meant that they wanted him to be more effective on passing downs.
However, Warren continued his struggles catching the football on day one of training camp and he looked lost when asked to pass block. The former could simply be a mental thing but the latter ultimately comes down to effort and a player’s football intellect.
If Warren was having trouble picking up the playbook, Gruden likely wasn’t going to have too much patience. And it’s pretty clear that he didn’t in Warren’s case.
Combine that with his inability to improve as a pass-catcher and his release doesn’t seem nearly as surprising.
Raiders fans may be disappointed about Warren’s untimely release, but Gruden has clearly set a precedent in the locker room. And unfortunately, the Raiders weren’t willing to be any more patient with the Texas product.
Here’s to hoping that Warren could find a role elsewhere with another team. But sadly it doesn’t appear as though he’ll do so with the Raiders.