Jalen Richard is a weapon that the Oakland Raiders can’t afford to let sit idle. Richard is sure to be an important part of the Oakland rushing attack for years to come, and the Raiders would be wise to treat him as such.
Jalen Richard Needs To Be More Involved
In his second year with the Silver and Black, Richard has established himself as a back who can shoulder the load when called upon. He has distanced himself from fellow second year man, DeAndre Washington, and serves as a more than capable back-up to Marshawn Lynch.
But what does this all mean moving forward? The Raiders are on a three game losing streak, and their ability to run the football has left much to be desired.
It is not far-fetched to say that the “Beast Mode” experiment hasn’t produced the way Raider Nation had hoped. In fact, Lynch himself is embarrassed by his production this season and is making an effort to improve.
The Need For More Carries
So where does that leave a player like Richard? Up to this point in the season Richard has run the ball 24 times for 128 yards and one touchdown. That’s an average of 5.3 yards a carry! The Raiders have 5.3 yards a carry sitting on the sidelines while the team struggles to run the ball.
Lynch has carried the ball 57 times this season for 194 yards and two touchdowns, good for a paltry 3.4 yards-per-carry average. And while Lynch did improve against the Baltimore Ravens in week five, he is clearly not the running back he once was.
The math is clear; Richard has been the more productive runner and has yet to see a noticeable increase in his work load.
Finding The Right Role
Richard will never be a true work horse back like Lynch once was. He stands five foot eight and tips the scales a generous 207 pounds; stout, but not built to handle a full NFL size work load.
Instead, Richard offers the Raiders the ultimate change of pace back, and if used correctly, could last for years in this role.
Richard is elusive, quick and touch to bring down. In 2016, Pro Football Focus ranked Richard as the most elusive running back in the NFL.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 15, 2017
This is exactly what the Raiders need to complement an aging hammer like Lynch. The formula found success in 2016 when former Raider, Latavius Murray saw a drop in carries but doubled his touchdown total.
The Raiders have a talented stable of running backs that up until this point in the season has been misused. The time share between Lynch and Richard needs to be closer to a 60-40 split in favor of Lynch.
Richard has a clear role in the Raiders offense. He is a change of pace back with the ability to break games wide open when given the opportunity.
If Oakland is going to get the most out of Lynch and their rushing attack, Richard needs to be involved.