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 Stadium Show: Estimated Cost Remains at $1.9 Billion
Ed Graney, Rick Velotta and Bill Bradley discuss updates around the Las Vegas Raiders stadium, scheduled to be completed by 2020.
Vegas Nation: Las Vegas could host NFL Draft
Bryan Salmond and Michael Gehlken talk about Vegas' chances to host the NFL Draft.
Vegas Nation: Eagles take down Patriots in Super Bowl LII
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney, Michael Gehlken and Sam Gordon talk about the Eagles Super Bowl win over the Patriots.
Vegas Nation: Eagles win Super Bowl LII
Bryan Salmond recaps the Eagles Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
Las Vegas, Raiders aim to host Super Bowl as early as 2023
Las Vegas and its $1.9 billion stadium project won’t be forgotten when nine NFL owners and team presidents, together wielding influence over an adjusted Super Bowl bid-selection process, meet in the coming months. Raiders owner Mark Davis serves on the Super Bowl and Major Events Advisory Committee, positioning him to have an active role in where Super Bowl LVII will be located on Feb. 5, 2023. Las Vegas, upon hosting the game, would be the latest NFL city to which league owners have awarded a Super Bowl following a stadium construction. There is no guarantee the game is coming to Las Vegas then. A combination of recent history and comments from an NFL executive, however, indicate the opportunity should arrive in the next eight years.
Vegas Nation: Minnesota running an efficient Super Bowl
Bryan Salmond and Ed Graney talk about Minnesota running a good Super Bowl and a Raiders rookie making an impact.
NFL Commissioner Goodell gives updates on hot topics with the Raiders
At a press conference ahead of Super Bowl LII, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded to questions about the Raiders hiring process with Jon Gruden and about the team having many home games played abroad.
0130 sb wrap with mention
Bryan Salmond, Michael Gehlken and Ed Graney talk about Tom Brady's Minnesota ties, Jon Gruden's advantage in coaching as well as the Patriots demanding respect.
Vegas Nation: Here's how the RJ will cover Super Bowl LII
Ed Graney, Michael Gehlken and Sam Gordon preview their coverage plan of the Super Bowl in Minnesota.
Vegas Nation: Pro Bowl edition
Bryan Salmond recaps the NFL Pro Bowl, including how Raiders quarterback Derek Carr performed.
Vegas Nation: Jon Gruden Does Not Attend Senior Bowl
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken discuss what the Raiders coaching staff are doing at the Senior Bowl.
Vegas Nation: Raiders announce several coaching hires
Review-Journal Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and reporter Michael Gehlken talk about the Raiders coaching hires as well as a significant omission.
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Construction of stadium on schedule
Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney and reporter Rick Velotta talk about how the Raiders' stadium construction is progressing and the complications that might occur due to pricing.
Raiders hire Paul Guenther as defensive coordinator
Paul Guenther is the new defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. Guenther spent the past four years as the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive coordinator. Guenther, 46, worked with the Bengals from 2005 to 2017. He will call defensive plays in 2018, a role that Ken Norton Jr. handled the first 10 games last season before being fired. Guenther expressed his interest in working with Raiders defensive backs Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu. “I really like both of them,” Guenther said. "(Conley) was probably my favorite corner coming out last year." "We just need to get these guys on the grass, keep them healthy and teach them the system," Guenther said.
McKenzie shares memory of Gruden coaching in Green Bay
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie shared one of his memories of working alongside head coach Jon Gruden back when they were both in Green Bay.
Vegas Nation: Raiders introduce Jon Gruden as head coach
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney and Michael Gehlken discuss the Raiders introduction of Jon Gruden as their new head coach, including the unique atmosphere and how Gruden will work with Derek Carr.
Former Raiders discuss what the team and fans can expect from Jon Gruden
Following a press conference to announce Jon Gruden as the Oakland Raiders head coach, former players discussed what it is that he'll bring to the team and the fans.
Jon Gruden news conference highlights
The Oakland Raiders announced Jon Gruden as their head coach on Tuesday at the team headquarters in Alameda, Calif. Gruden previously coached the team from 1998-2001. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mark Davis says the Raiders' edge will come from leadership and coaching
Following a news conference announcing Jon Gruden's return as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, team owner Mark Davis said the Raiders' edge will come from leadership and coaching.
Vegas Nation: Raiders hire Jon Gruden
Michael Gehlken talks about the Raiders decision to hire Jon Gruden as their new head coach.
Vegas Nation: Gruden to be named Raiders head coach
Bryan Salmond and Ed Graney discuss the Raiders hiring of Jon Gruden as their new head coach.
Vegas Nation Stadium Show: Votes to occur in coming meetings
Ed Graney and Rick Velotta talk about the latest news about the Las Vegas Stadium.
Vegas Nation: What Does The Raiders Future Look Like?
Vegas Nation host Bryan Salmond and Raiders beat writer Michael Gehlken go over the potential hiring of Jon Gruden and the Raiders performance during the 2017 season.
Raiders’ Crabtree frustrated by lack of playing time to end season
Michael Crabtree expressed his frustration Sunday when asked about his future with the Raiders. The Raiders are expected to part ways with the ninth-year veteran wide receiver this offseason. “I’m out here playing ball,” Crabtree said. “Whatever they ask me to do. Like today, if they only want me to play 10 plays, I’ll play 10 plays." Crabtree started the season hot as the team’s top wideout, catching six touchdowns during the first six games. Crabtree received just three targets against the Eagles on Christmas night and two targets versus the Chargers. Crabtree is owed a $7 million salary in 2018, the third season of a four-year, $34 million extension he signed late in 2015. “I did everything they asked of me. These last two games, I’ve probably had three targets, but nobody saying anything about that," Crabtree said.
Raiders might lure Jon Gruden back to coaching
The Raiders are reportedly pursuing ESPN analyst Jon Gruden to fill their vacant head coaching position. Gruden, 54, has not coached since the 2008 NFL season. “I don’t want to sit here and speculate. There is no news to report,” Gruden told ESPN on Saturday. The NFL Network reported that Davis plans to offer Gruden more than $10 million a year to coach the team with an stake in team ownership. Gruden has been connected with openings in recent years, including a lucrative offer from Indianapolis last season. Gruden was the Raiders head coach from 1998-2001, going 38-26 in four seasons. “I know (Gruden),” Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. “I’ve known him for a while. But the (Del Rio firing) is still pretty fresh.”
Raiders fire Jack Del Rio
Following the Raiders loss to the Chargers, head coach Jack Del Rio was fired. Del Rio was hired in January 2015 after spending time as the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator. In 2016, Del Rio led the Raiders to a 12-4 record and their first playoff birth since 2002. After the 2016 season, Del Rio signed a 4-year contract extension. In three seasons as the Raiders head coach, Del Rio amassed a 25-23 record. “I’m very grateful," Del Rio said. "My childhood team. But it’s a results business.”
Vegas Nation: Del Rio fired after Raiders drop season finale
Bryan Salmond, Ed Graney, Michael Gehlken and Gilbert Manzano discuss the aftermath of the Raiders loss, including Jack Del Rio getting fired and what might follow.
Raiders' QB Carr reacts to Del Rio firing
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr addressed the media following the team's loss to the Chargers and discussed his thoughts on head coach Jack Del Rio being fired.
Jack Del Rio announces Oakland Raiders fired him following loss to Chargers
After three years of serving as the head coach for the Oakland Raiders, Jack Del Rio announced he was fired by the organization following the team's loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Nacion Vegas: Raiders pierden 30-10 contra los Chargers
Nacion Vegas: Los Raiders pierden 30-10 contra los Chargers para finalizar la temporada. Nación Vegas tiene los detalles del juego entre los Raiders y los Chargers.
Vegas Nation: Raiders finish the season with a loss to Chargers
Bryan Salmond recaps the Raiders final game of the season.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like