Raiders backfield a ‘three-headed monster’

Updated September 20, 2017 - 10:57 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — It was one part comedy, one part horror.

On Sunday evening, the Raiders will face the Washington Redskins in Landover, Maryland. In advance to the matchup, Redskins coach Jay Gruden engaged in his usual weekly preparation, reviewing game footage of his opponent.

Marshawn Lynch’s film was a highlight, he said.

It fit multiple genres.

“He’s fun to watch,” Gruden said in a conference call Wednesday. “You don’t like to say that about other people. It’s actually fun and terrifying to watch him at the same time. You know you’re going to have to go against him.”

Even scarier: The Raiders’ backfield film is a trilogy.

The first two games of the season have shown Lynch to be fresh after a one-year retirement. But Weeks 1 and 2 also demonstrated the Raiders coaching staff’s commitment to keep him that way. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington are very much involved in this backfield picture.

And for good reason.

Their game footage plays, too.

Richard displayed his shiftiness and dynamism Sunday with 109 yards on eight offensive touches. Those chances included a short catch he took for 39 yards after evading a Jets defender in the open field. He also cut left on a pitch right, his speed and teammates’ blocking helping to produce a 52-yard score.

Washington had nine touches Sunday for 35 yards. He and Richard are similar players in regard to their capacity to contribute in a number of roles, be it as a runner, receiver or blocker in pass protection. So far this season, they are rotated into action after Lynch is featured in a game’s first two series.

Both also are improving as second-year players. Washington joined the team as a fifth-round draft pick in 2016. Richard was an undrafted free agent.

“Mentally they can see the run happen before they actually get the ball,” coach Jack Del Rio said of their progression. “They can see how it’s going to play out. The game slows down, the holes open up a little bit slower for them. They can see it beforehand, those kind of things. So, that’s just running the ball.

“Now, protectionwise, they were both pretty good last year mentally, and they’ve taken another step forward this year in that.”

A selfless culture seems to exist in the team’s running back room.

On Sunday, it was Richard who was more productive behind Lynch. This Sunday, Washington knows it could be him.

The main obstacle pertaining to this weekend, though, might be health. Washington was listed as limited on the Raiders’ injury report Wednesday with a hamstring ailment. Such muscle injuries tend to be temperamental, but more clarity will come Thursday.

Tight end Jared Cook (shoulder), wide receiver Amari Cooper (knee) and cornerback Gareon Conley (shin) were the team’s only other limited participants Wednesday.

In two games, Lynch has played 55 offensive snaps. Richard has 31 and Washington 29.

“We’ve grown as runners,” Richard said. “After that first rookie year, we’re accustomed to the league now. We know what to expect. … Along with coaching from Marshawn, we’ve been able to take our games to the next level.”

Said Washington: “We feed off each other’s energy. I love to see them doing good. That gets me going. That hypes me up. … For four quarters, we’re pretty fresh. Nobody is taking too heavy of a load, so I think it really will paid its dividends as the season goes on. It’s a three-headed monster.”

As if Lynch wasn’t scary enough.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Raiders Videos
Vegas Nation: Raiders Beat Cardinals 23-21, Earn Second Win of Season
Raiders Kicker Daniel Carlson hit the game winning field goal as time expires to hand the Raiders their first road win of the Season.
Raiders players talk about the team's win over Cardinals
After the team defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21, the Oakland Raiders players spoke about the victory in the locker room.
Gruden, Carr discuss the Raiders 23-21 win
Head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr speak to media after the Oakland Raiders defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 23-21.
Vegas Nation: Nelson, Bryant out vs. Arizona
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports that the team will be without wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant ahead of their game against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Raiders hold indoor walkthrough due to fires
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from smoky Alameda, Calif. as the Raiders move their practice indoors due to the California wildfires.
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium
Las Vegas Raiders Stadium (Raiders)
Vegas Nation: Ateman prepares for NFL debut vs. Cards
Oakland Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken explains how Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant's injuries could result in seventh round pick Marcell Ateman making his NFL debut this Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Nelson, Bryant injured in loss to Chargers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken examines the injuries to wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Martavis Bryant.
Vegas Nation: Chargers Overpower Raiders 20-6
Ed Graney and Michael Gehlken discuss The Raiders loss to the Chargers following the California wildfires and mass shooting
Vegas Nation Mailbag: November 7, 2018
Elaine Emerson and Gilbert Manzano answer questions from fans on the Raiders before they take on the Los Angeles Chargers.
Vegas Nation: Gruden downplays sideline encounter with Guenther
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from Alameda as Jon Gruden addresses the media for the first time a day after their Thursday Night Football loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Dismantled by 49ers 34-3
The Raiders fall to the 49ers following Nick Mullens' impressive debut for San Francisco.
Vegas Nation: Raiders defense looks to improve against 49ers
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken discusses the Raiders defensive woes thus far prior to their Battle of the Bay game against the 49ers.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Oct. 30, 2018
Elaine Emerson and Gilbert Manzano answer questions from Raider Nation regarding Derek Carr's performance and Jon Gruden.
Vegas Nation: Raiders seek consistent defensive rotation
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken points out a change in the team's defensive rotation from previous games.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Give up 21 Unanswered Points in Loss to Colts
The Oakland Raiders lose to the Colts after being outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter. Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Oakland.
Vegas Nation: Osemele returns to practice ahead of Colts matchup
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken anticipates that All Pro guard Kelechi Osemele may return against the Indinapolis Colts on Sunday.
Vegas Nation: Doug Martin prepares for heavier workload vs. Colts
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken discusses Doug Martin's increased role as a featured back, as well as what the offensive line's health could potentially mean for Martin's performance.
Vegas Nation: Gruden, Smith come to Carr's defense
Raiders beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports from Alameda, Calif. as members of the team deny reports of a fractured locker room.
Vegas Nation Mailbag: Raiders' Bye Week
Elaine Wilson and Gilbert Manzano go over comments from Raider Nation.
Vegas Nation: Draft Picks to Rebuild
Ed Graney discusses the Amari Cooper trade to the Dallas Cowboys and the future first round picks the Raiders will have.
Las Vegas Stadium Livecam
Vegas Nation Mailbag 10-16-2018
Elaine Wilson and Gilbert Manzano discuss The Raiders 27-3 loss to the Seahawks in London as The Raiders enter their bye week.
Vegas Nation: Raiders Fall To Seahawks; Cooper Out With Concussion
Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken, Sports Columnist Ed Graney and sports writer Gilbert Manzano go over the Raiders loss to the Seattle Seahawks in London.
Raiders Adopt Student Resource Room At Robert Taylor Elementary School In Henderson
Former Raiders player Leo Gray and Robert Taylor Elementary School principal Kim Basham talk about the new resource room at the school on Sept. 25, 2018 in Henderson, Nevada. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
More information on design of Raiders' practice facility in Henderson
Officials plan to finish the Raiders' Henderson headquarters by spring 2020. The planned facility would be home to offices, training facilities and 4 1/2 football fields.
Vegas Nation: Raiders fall short in Week 1 to the Rams
Bryan Salmond and Gilbert Manzano are in studio recapping the first game of 2018 for the Oakland Raiders. Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney report from Oakland.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like