Latavius Murray is not a Feature RB
Again, count me among those who speculated this in the offseason. He runs high, he falls down too easily. He misses holes.
Yes he did last season. But he hasn’t this season. Murray said in the offseason he heard the criticisms and was ready to come out and show people what he can do. Thus far, he has.
He’s currently 15th in the NFL in rushing. However, all of the players above him save Spencer Ware have more carries. Murray has 116 yards on 22 carries, which would be a standard game for a feature back. The emergence of Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington to spell him has taken some carries away, but clearly also kept Murray fresh.
Murray has blocked well on blitzes, helping to keep Carr still clean after two games, and he’s averaging a robust 5.3 ypc, third only to Isaiah Crowell of the Browns and Ware. Staying fresh is agreeing with him — as is running behind Kelechi Osemele, who has been every bit the nasty man advertised.
With Murray leading the way, the Raiders are second in the NFL in rushing at 167 yards per game. Though Richard did have a 75-yard burst, Murray has shown that the running game can gain large chunks consistently, and they should ride him a little more.
Defensive struggles are well documented, and the offense has been lights-out. Sometimes, the offense scores a little too quickly — OH NO! — but that does leave the defense tired and playing a lot of snaps. So giving Murray the ball more when the situation warrants makes sense and it likely will happen when game flow allows.
The Raiders have a few things working against them this week, and they’re under real pressure to come together as a team and win this game against a beatable Titans team. They’ll easily be the worst offense the Raiders have faced — the Titans are ranked 21st in the NFL in offense, whereas the Falcons are #1 and the Saints #8.
Cynics would say that’s because the Titans haven’t played the Raiders defense yet. This team has too much pride and intensity to let this continue. I say they get it on track this weekend. Or else something may change unexpectedly, and nobody wants that this early into a season that was supposed to be good vibes.