Jon Gruden wants running back Doug Martin to stay with Raiders in 2019

Jon Gruden wants running back Doug Martin to stay with Raiders in 2019

ALAMEDA – Doug Martin was among the first free agents Raiders coach Jon Gruden went after. He was on the street already, without NFL tampering rules preventing the veteran running back and the new/old Raiders head coach from meeting at a golf course in the Tampa area.

And, sure enough, Martin signed up with the Raiders shortly after free agency began.

Martin returned to his native Oakland as a backup behind Marshawn Lynch, but assumed a central role after Beast Mode was placed on injured reserve following a Week 6 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Martin ran strong ever since, with 285 yards on 62 carries. That’s a 4.6 yards per carry average since taking over as the featured back.

He had another strong effort in Sunday’s 34-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Martin rushed for 51 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries, and another added another 21 yards as a receiver.

“He’s a good back. I think I’ll say it again and again, he’s a very good player,” Gruden said. “He’s been a great player in this league. He’s running it. He’s catching it. He picked up some blitz that were flushed. We did a lot of good things on the film that I look at. We’re proud of what we did against a very good defense. We thought Doug Martin played extremely well."

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Gruden has lauded Martin’s ability since the spring, and the 29-year old is proving his coach right. The two-time Pro Bowler has something left in the tank.

Maybe, Gruden hopes, for the 2019 season as well.

“Hopefully we can keep him around here,” Gruden said. “He’s a heck of a football player.”

Martin signed a one-year deal worth up to $1.475 million in March and would be set to hit the open market again this spring. It remains uncertain whether Lynch, also an upcoming free agent, will return to the squad.

Jalen Richard is a restricted free agent next year, though the Raiders speak so highly of the third-down back he would clearly be welcomed back.

The Raiders have plenty of draft picks available for a running back, but having Martin back could provide some stability to the position. Gruden historically likes to feature several backs in his offense, though either Lynch or Martin have been the alpha in each game this season.

Derek Carr might not go with Raiders to Las Vegas, Mike Florio says


Derek Carr might not go with Raiders to Las Vegas, Mike Florio says

The Raiders have one final season at the Coliseum before they move to Las Vegas in 2020, but will Derek Carr still be the starting quarterback when they get to Sin City?

After ranking in the bottom third of the league in total offense last year, Oakland has been quite busy this offseason, acquiring players to help bolster its offensive attack.

The Raiders traded for Antonio Brown and signed fellow wide receiver Tyrell Williams in free agency. They also used a first-round draft pick on running back Josh Jacobs, and signed massive offensive tackle Trent Brown, who just won a Super Bowl protecting Tom Brady for the New England Patriots.

Given all of these additions on the offensive side of the ball, ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio believes this will be a make-or-break season for Carr, and doubts he'll still be a member of the team when they move to Vegas if he disappoints.

"Think of it this way," Florio wrote. "If the chemistry experiment/Frankenstein monster that starts and ends with [Antonio Brown] fails, whose fault will it be? Brown’s? Nope. [Jon] Gruden’s? Nope. [Mike] Mayock’s? Nope. If the Raiders fail to get the most out of Antonio Brown, it will be the fault of the guy who will be under immense pressure to deliver the ball with the same underrated precision that Ben Roethlisberger delivered it for nine years in Pittsburgh.

[RELATED: Watch Raiders' Brown do insane agility drill involving brick]

"If Derek Carr can step up," Florio continued, "great for him and the Raiders. If he can’t, he’ll quite possibly be the highest-profile member of the organization to not enjoy the freedom from paying state income tax that goes with moving from California to Nevada."

The fact that Gruden and Mayock inherited Carr -- as opposed to drafting him -- seems relevant here. If he can't take a step forward with a significantly improved offense around him, the Raiders might just be debuting a new stadium and a new quarterback a little more than a year from now.

Watch Raiders' Antonio Brown do insane agility drill involving a brick

Watch Raiders' Antonio Brown do insane agility drill involving a brick

Every professional athlete has their crazy workout that most average humans can't do.

Warriors superstar Steph Curry has this ridiculous dribbling drill that involves tennis balls and strobe glasses.

For new Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, his latest drill involves a brick.

Yes, a brick.

With the assistance of a trainer, Brown snatches the brick out of the air and alternates hands. While he's grabbing the brick, he's reaching behind his back with the other hand and slapping his trainer's hand.

Brown posted the same video to his Instagram account but with a different message: "The product is coming September just wait on it..........."

The Raiders open the 2019 regular season at home on Sept. 9 against the Denver Broncos.

This isn't the first crazy workout video Brown has posted this month. Last week, Brown published video of himself catching footballs while wearing strobe glasses and standing on a balancing ball.

Brown also posted a few workout videos on his Instagram stories.

[RELATED: Brown, Raiders receivers stand out]

The Raiders acquired Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers back in March. It was the first in a series of moves made by Oakland in an attempt to bolster the offense and rebound from a 4-12 campaign in 2018.

Brown looks like he's ready for the start of the season, let alone training camp later this month. September can't get here soon enough.