Oakland Raiders: 5 players that need a better game vs. Los Angeles Rams

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Jalen Richard
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07: Jalen Richard /
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It wasn’t great for everybody in the Silver and Black in the first preseason game. Here are five Oakland Raiders that need to play better against the Rams.

After getting pushed around for most of the first half on Saturday night, the Oakland Raiders did come out and play better against the Arizona Cardinals in the second, but it wasn’t good enough to secure a meaningless first preseason victory. Most of the starters didn’t play, but this wasn’t the start to the year that Raider Nation wanted out of the Silver and Black.

Oakland struggled mightily in parts of all three phases of the game. On offense, running the football against Arizona’s ferocious defensive front was not happening when EJ Manuel was quarterbacking the team in the first half. Defensively, it was bad play after bad play in the secondary. This isn’t a strength of this team by any means. Even on special teams, there was the occasional miscue.

Fortunately for the Raiders, they will have three more preseason games to hopefully get it right before the Week 1 road game with the Tennessee Titans in Nashville. We should expect most of the 2017 starters to play at least a series or two on Saturday night at home against the Los Angeles Rams.

While it doesn’t matter what star players like quarterback Derek Carr, wide receiver Amari Cooper and outside linebacker Khalil Mack do against the Rams, here are five players that need a better performance than the one they had against the Cardinals this past Saturday.

Jalen Richard. 5. player. 28. . Running Back. Southern Miss Golden Eagles

For as good of a first-year in the NFL it was for former undrafted free agent running back Jalen Richard out of Southern Miss, he didn’t do much of anything against the Cardinals on the ground Saturday night. The second-year pro managed just seven yards on five carries against the stout defensive front of the Cardinals.

It’s not that DeAndre Washington was significantly better on the ground, as he managed 16 yards on his five carries, but the battle for the No. 2 running back job in Oakland seems to be closer than we realize.

Are Richard and Washington both going to make the team and play meaningful snaps this fall? Absolutely, but Oakland can’t lean on Marshawn Lynch to be the Raiders’ bell-cow back after he’s spent a year out of football.

The Rams have a strong defensive front led by All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, so this will be another test for the Raiders ground game. While Lynch will presumably be making his Raiders debut in Oakland, all eyes need to be on Richard to see if he can do better than a pathetic 1.4 yards per carry in his second preseason game for the Silver and Black.