Oakland Raiders: Five things we learned from Rams win
August 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) hands the football off to running back Latavius Murray (28) against the St. Louis Rams during the first quarter in a preseason NFL football game at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
3. The run game looks better
One of the things the Raiders did poorly last year – historically poorly – was run the ball. The Raiders were one of the worst rushing teams not just in the league last year, but in the history of the league, as veteran backs Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew struggled to make an impact.
Late last year, a young running back named Latavius Murray came in late in the year and brought a spark, and the Raiders run game showed some signs of life. This year, Murray came into camp as the apparent #1 running back. After one preseason game, it looks like it’s his job to lose.
Behind an improved offensive line that features big-ticket free agent signee Rodney Hudson at center, Murray gashed the Rams’ starting defense, which was playing without some of their key players but was still a very solid unit. Murray carried the ball six times before checking out for the day, picking up 35 yards for a 5.8 yard per carry average. He showed great burst, power and speed and the line opened up plenty of space for him to do his thing.
Of course it wasn’t all perfect. Former 3rd overall pick Trent Richardson ignored a gaping hole to go running into the backs of his blockers, much to the delight of the internet. George Atkinson III may not have a future with the Raiders after his poor performance. The team only averaged 3.4 yards per carry, but the team also rushed 30 times, demonstrating that, true to form, Bill Musgrave has brought a renewed commitment to running the football, which in and of itself will improve the game over last year.
Next: What We Learned: Secondary Looks Flawed