In the Raiders first two losses of the season they rushed for a total of 56 yards. Last week against Baltimore, they managed to find their footing in the run game posting 108 yards on 25 carries.
With the Chargers coming to town this week, the Raiders will have a chance to break out a strong rushing attack once again. The Chargers rank 29th in the NFL at stopping the run, as they allow 5.0 yard per carry.
But the question now is: how should the carries be divided in the Raiders backfield?
No, Marshawn Lynch isn’t going to lose his starting spot, but he has been largely ineffective, while Jalen Richard continues to produce on a limited basis.
Lynch is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. That would be the lowest mark of his career. Richard is averaging 5.3 yards per carry,
Over the last four games Lynch has received just 39 carries. The Raiders have struggled to convert third downs and keep the offense on the field. Plus they have been behind on the scoreboard for nearly all of the last three games. All leading to fewer chance to give Lynch the ball.
But with those 39 carries, Lynch has produced just 118 yards (3.02 yards per carry). That’s 29.5 rushing yards per game over a four-game span.
In that same four game stretch, Richard has 19 carries for 106 yards (5.58 yards per carry). With less than half of the carries Lynch has had, Richard has put up almost the same amount of yards (26.5 yards per game).
Richard needs to get the ball. He is easily one of the Raiders top four playmakers with Lynch, Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.
Richard has taken 42 percent of his carries for at least five yards; Lynch has hit five yards or more on just 28 percent of his carries.
It is unacceptable that Richard would see just six total touches (4 carries, 2 receptions) in the two losses to Washington and Denver. He is too good, too explosive to be that limited.
“We see some good stuff,” Derek Carr said of the running game. “But we also see some 5-, 6-, 7-yarders that could be 12-, 15-, 20-yarders. I think that’s what motivates us and pushes us throughout the week.”
Richard is the back to make those 20 yard plays.
There is no need to dispose of Lynch. He is still breaking tackles at a high rate, and the Raiders need a physical runner in short yardage situations.
But this needs to be more of a committee. With running back DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale dealing with injuries, Richard needs more than the 24 percent of carries he’s seen this season.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.