The Raiders' entire run game is off track: 'We’re not that far away'


The Raiders' entire run game is off track: 'We’re not that far away'

ALAMEDA – Donald Penn and Rodney Hudson had eyes fixed on an iPad Sunday night, analyzing film from a 16-10 loss on the way home from Denver.

This is standard practice on return flights, regardless of result. This time, they were searching for what went wrong.

They had a visitor Sunday night. Running back Marshawn Lynch kept hopping in, asking for insight on particular plays. Lynch had just finished a second straight lackluster performance and wants to avoid a third Sunday versus Baltimore.

He’s diving into work, trying to increase efficiency in a new scheme.

“He’s definitely still learning, still adjusting to what we’re doing,” Penn said Thursday. “We run a totally different scheme than what he did in Seattle. He’s getting better all the time. This week in particular, he’s spending a lot of extra time with (offensive line coach Mike Tice) and working on his own to get stuff flowing.”

Lynch isn’t used to struggles. He was downright dominant most of his career, including his Raiders debut in Tennessee. Things have slowed down in recent weeks, especially this current two-game running streak. Lynch has 30 yards on 15 carries over the last two games. Also, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus, 80 percent of his 151 rushing yards have come after contact.

Lynch isn’t producing steadily, the line isn’t always helpful and play calls have been predictable enough teams can bring extra run defenders.

Those things all signify the entire run game is off track.

“All different factors add up,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I know we have big, powerful guys up front. We’ve got backs that are all very capable. We have a really good staff. We have to put it together to make it work. That’s the bottom line. For two weeks now, we’ve stubbed our toe. Maybe more than just a toe. We’ve struggled. It’s really obvious to everybody that follows us. It’s obvious to me. We’re working hard to get it right.”

There’s no finger pointing here, just a drive to get it fixed. Penn was pretty upset about the loss and the run game in particular, but channeled his anger into analysis on the plane. He has seen game film and the stats. He entered this workweek with contrasting emotions toward the run game.

“We’re close. That’s what makes it so frustrating,” Penn said. “Close doesn’t get you anywhere in the NFL. We’ve been working to get everybody on the same page on one complete play. You can have nine great blocks and one that hurts you. It’s a good thing to know we’re not that far away.”

The Raiders believe they’re close to old form. The Raiders ranked sixth in rushing offense last year, yet are currently mired in 24th with 86.2 yards per game.

Stats were strong after two weeks. Then the Raider averaged 2.46 yards per carry in Week 3 at Washington, and 1.6 against Denver’s top-ranking run defense.

There’s a real chance to get right versus Baltimore’s No. 26 run defense, which gives up 127.2 yards per game.

Offensive coordinator Todd Downing is receiving lots of advice on talk radio and social media, that he should be more creative and less predictable. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington should run more. Marshawn should be more efficient. P.S. he needs a lead blocker.

Downing, for one, strives for offensive balance. He’d like to run better, but hasn’t been able to commit to the effort. The Raiders have been behind and terrible on third down during a two-game losing streak that sends attempts through the floor.

“You’re not able to get to all your run game plans when you get into the game situations that we have,” Downing said. “When you get into the downs and distances that we have. Marshawn is doing well with the things that we’re asking him to do, we just haven’t hit it with the same sense of efficiency that we did the first couple of weeks. We look forward to seeing what Marshawn can do this week and to watch our offensive line be physical.”

Reports: Peters to speak on Marshawn’s behalf during appeal hearing


Reports: Peters to speak on Marshawn’s behalf during appeal hearing

First it was Marshawn Lynch coming to the defense of Marcus Peters. Now, it appears the Oakland native is returning the favor. 

The Chiefs cornerback will be speaking on behalf of Lynch during the Raiders' running back's appeal of his one-game suspension, according to multiple national reports. The appeal will take place on Monday.

Lynch was ejected in the second quarter of the Raiders' 31-30 victory over the Chiefs on Thursday night. After the Chiefs and Raiders saw themselves in a heated exchange from a controversial late hit by Peters on Derek Carr, Lynch ran off the sidelines and came to the defense of his close friend Peters with multiple Raiders going after the young defensive back. 

But in doing so, Lynch put his hands on an official and was immediately ejected from the game. He was then handed his one-game suspension on Friday.

“They can say what they want to say, but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first," Peters said to Logan Murdock of The Mercury News on Thursday.

FOX Sports was first to report the news.

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game


Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch suspended one game

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch watched most of Thursday night’s game versus Kansas City from the stands after getting ejected for making contact with an official.

He’ll also be a spectator next week.

The NFL suspended him one game for unsportsmanlike conduct stemming from an incident where left the sidelines to join an on-field scuffle and ended up pushing an official.

The league announced the suspension Friday afternoon. Lynch has already appealed the suspension, per multiple reports.

He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct and automatically ejected by rule.

Punishment after the fact has gotten expensive.

By rule, Lynch will be fined $30,387 for making contact with an official. He could get hit with other penalties, including entering a fight unnecessarily.

Lynch is also suspended without pay, meaning he’ll forfeit a $79,411 game check and a $31,250 per-game roster bonus.

The Cal alum won’t play a Week 8 contest in Buffalo, against a Bills team that drafted him No. 12 overall in 2007.

Lynch was on the sidelines during a third down draw play where quarterback Derek Carr incurred what officials called a late hit from Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters.

The Raiders offensive line took offense, and came after Peters in a scrum. Lynch and Peters, both Oakland natives, are extremely close. Lynch ran on the field to get between his teammates and his friend, but ended up inadvertently pushing an official. The league has zero tolerance for that, and sent him off the field.

Lynch watched a dramatic 31-30 victory over Kansas City from the stands and screens near the field, and congratulated his teammates after a big win.

Lynch did not explain why he entered the fray, though he seemed to be trying to get Peters out of harm’s way.

“They can say what they want but one thing’s for certain: Family do come first,” Peters told Bay Area News Group’s Logan Murdock.

His Raiders teammates and coaches must carry on without the 31-year old power back. They’ll roll with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and fullback Jamize Olawale against the Bills, as they did against the Chiefs.

Lynch had two carries for nine yards before getting tossed. He has just 266 yards and two touchdowns on 72 carries through seven games.

If the suspension is upheld, Lynch will be eligible to return in Week 9 against Miami.