Lynch won't go alone: Richard, Washington vital to Raiders offense


Lynch won't go alone: Richard, Washington vital to Raiders offense

ALAMEDA – The Raiders announced offensive starters before Sunday’s home opener against the New York Jets.

Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington aren’t in that class. The second-year rushers were headed out to the field with everyone else when Marshawn Lynch halted the advance.

“We were getting ready to go out and he was like ‘Hey, I want you all to come out with me’. I was like, ‘They cool with this?’” Richard said. “He said ‘It doesn’t matter what they say. You boys are coming out with me.’”

It seemed off. This was, after all, Marshawn’s homecoming. A sellout Oakland crowd was waiting to cheer their favorite native son.

Marshawn didn’t care. He wanted the running backs to go out as a unit.

“They’re my (boys),” Lynch said.

Marshawn jogged through a deafening roar, flanked by his protégées.

“That just got me pumped from the get-go,” Richard said. “That just lets you know how much he believes in us, the confidence in us. It makes us play harder.”

The kids have played hard, and listened to Lynch’s sage advice. That’s a requirement in this offense, because Lynch can’t do it alone. Not anymore. Not at age 31.

The Raiders plan to use all three backs in rotation, with Lynch as its lead dog. He carried 18 times in a season opening win at Tennessee. He had 12 in a 45-20 victory over the Jets.

Thus far Lynch has started most games and can close games where the Raiders hold a late lead.

Washington and Richard will have moments in the sun. They generally split remaining touches – unless, like Sunday, Cordarrelle Patterson gets in on the action – to bring a change of pace.

They might also pull a star turn.

Richard did so the Jets, even on Marshawn's big day. Richard registered 109 yards of offense and a touchdown on just eight touches. That included a 52-yard run blocked expertly by tackles Marshall Newhouse and Donald Penn, with Seth Roberts doing dirty work downfield.

“I caught the ball and felt somebody rush up the field,” Richard said. “It made me come inside. The whole week they were telling me to wait rather than get out, so I waited and the Jets overflowed. I put my foot in the ground and creased it. The safety couldn’t see me because I had a blocker, he went this way and I dipped right and then I outran everybody to the end zone and scored. IT was a great blocking play, great game plan play. It was cool.”

Richard also had a 39-yard reception where he took advantage of open space, proving adept finding the right time to turn on the afterburners.

Washington will have his turn making big plays in the backfield, with an efficient track record as a rookie. Lynch has a certain set of skills, able to get tough yards by brute force. The younger guys are game breakers in their own right – Richard proved that Sunday – and will be counted on at times to make the offense go.

“Jalen and DeAndré, they’re both explosive,” quarterback Derek Carr said last week. “We all know that. Really good hands, good route runners, they’re really good in pass protection… I think that with both of those guys in the game, they do similar things, but they give us two options. They give us two fresh bodies so to speak.”

Raiders remain on a receiver hunt as their top target signs elsewhere


Raiders remain on a receiver hunt as their top target signs elsewhere

The Raiders missed out on signing Ryan Grant. The former Washington receiver visited the team’s Alameda training complex, but left without a contract and ultimately chose to sign a one-year, $5 million deal with Indianapolis.

They lost that one, but are undeterred in their quest to upgrade the receiver corps.

They already signed Jordy Nelson and let Michael Crabtree walk, hoping for steady production and quality locker room leadership in the exchange.

Cordarrelle Patterson was traded to New England on Sunday, creating a spot in the position group.

The Raiders tried to fill it with Grant. No go, no matter.

They hosted veteran Eric Decker on Tuesday, according to multiple reports. They also declared interest in Allen Hurns, a player the Jaguars released Tuesday morning.

Hurns listed the Raiders among interested teams – he said there were 10 in total – in an interview with KFNZ radio in Charlotte, N.C.

Hurns has a 1,000-yard season to his credit – his biggest year came with now-Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson as Jacksonville's O.C. -- and two relative down years since. Injuries have also played a part in that.

Decker had a stellar four-year run with Denver and the New York Jets, but was less effective during two seasons in Tennessee. The 31-year old has experience in the slot, and could be a productive No. 3 option in Jon Gruden’s offense.

Gruden doesn't mind working with veteran receivers, something clear from his past and willingness to add Nelson as a major contributor. 

Even if the Raiders don't land a veteran receiver, they could also look for a receiver in the NFL draft.

Amari Cooper will remain the No. 1 option. Seth Roberts has $4.45 million guaranteed in 2018. Johnny Holton, Isaac Whitney and Keon Hatcher are also on the roster.

Report: Ndamukong Suh set to meet with Raiders


Report: Ndamukong Suh set to meet with Raiders

After visiting the Titans, Saints and Rams, free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh will make a stop in the East Bay.

Recently released by the Dolphins, Suh will visit with the Raiders on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

The former No. 2 overall pick made it through just three seasons of a six-year, $114 million deal he signed with Miami prior to the 2015 season.

The 31-year-old Portland, Oregon native last made the Pro Bowl in 2016 and was last earned First-Team All Pro honors in 2014.

In 16 games with the Dolphins last season, Suh recorded 4.5 sacks and 48 combined tackles.