Marshawn Lynch will certainly carry the bulk of the workload in the Oakland Raiders rushing attack, but he’s far from the lone component.
Despite the unknown with him coming out of retirement, there’s little question what the Oakland Raiders plan for Marshawn Lynch’s role to be. He’ll be the primary option in their running game. What’s more, the man known as Beast Mode will be the battering ram behind the Raiders’ elite offensive line. All told, he seems tailor-made for the role.
What’s more, Lynch projects to be better in that role than Latavius Murray. Murray took 195 carries for 788 yards a season ago, before leaving for the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. While successful, Lynch has the obvious top-end ability that Murray rarely even showed flashes of.
Given the prowess of the Raiders passing offense, adding Lynch on the surface makes it seem like the unit is complete. However, what makes this Oakland offense potentially lethal is that their rushing attack is far from confined to just what Lynch has to offer.
Also contributing out of the backfield will be Jalen Richard and DeAndrea Washington, both second-year players. And if their rookie campaigns are any indication, they’ll be both perfect complements to Lynch in addition to being weapons in their own rights.
A fifth-round pick in 2016, Washington was dynamic in limited work last season. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry as he took 87 totes for 467 yards and two touchdowns. For good measure, he caught 17 balls out of the backfield for 115 receiving yards. The Texas Tech product also got love from Pro Football Focus (via Silver and Black Pride) as he led all rookies in breakaway run percentage.
Richard may not have had the big plays of Washington, but was productive and dynamic in his own right. Undrafted out of Southern Miss, Richard took 83 carries for 491 yards (5.9 yards per carry) and one score, while also hauling in 29 receptions for 194 yards and two more touchdowns. Where he made his money, however, is making people miss. Per Pro Football Focus (via the same Silver and Black Pride write-up), Richard ranked as the most elusive back in the entire NFL a year ago, meaning yards gained without the help of blocking.
It remains to be seen whether or not Washington or Richard could be a featured back in the NFL. That’s a sentiment the Raiders front office echoed in brining in Lynch. However, behind the veteran Beast Mode, they serve as enormous weapons that offer the Oakland offense a ton of versatility.
Opposing defenses would likely have a bear of a time stopping the Raiders regardless. But when you consider the different looks and abilities of their running backs, that becomes even more so. Whatever situation and whatever bit of misdirection they want to pull, they have the personnel in the backfield to do so.
Yes, Lynch is going to be a massive addition. In terms of wearing down a defensive front and making big plays of his own, he should be a welcomed piece of the offense. However, he’s just a part of a host of weapons that the Raiders have at running back. And when you combine them into the entire picture for the rushing attack, it looks exceptionally dangerous.