Many Oakland Raiders fans, myself included, assume that Marshawn Lynch will be the starting running back once the season begins. That, however, may not be as obvious a result to many who have been watching Raiders practices this offseason.
There has been a lot of buzz surrounding free-agent addition Doug Martin. The former Buccaneer has had a very up and down career but ever since joining the Silver and Black in free agency, his praises have been sung by coaches and reporters alike. He appears both physically and mentally prepared to salvage his career in Oakland.
Of course, similar things were said about Maurice Jones-Drew when he first joined the Raiders. A running back is one of those positions where a guy can look great when you’re practicing without pads and then look like they don’t even belong in the league once the real hitting starts.
For now, at least, it appears that Marshawn Lynch will have to beat Martin out for the starting role. That could very well turn out to be the easiest thing Lynch does this year. Or it could turn out to be much more difficult than anyone expected it would be.
And the excitement at running back doesn’t end with the starters. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington will once again be battling for snaps this season. Either Lynch, Martin or a combination of both veterans will receive a lion’s share of the workload this season. While there will be snaps available to backups, there won’t be a ton and there’s a chance that there won’t be enough to convince the coaching staff that both Richard and Washington should be kept around.
That’s right when it comes to Richard and Washington, they aren’t just battling for playing time, they’re battling for roster spots. There is definitely a chance that Jon Gruden and company decide to keep both around this year, but there’s also definitely a chance one could be departing from the Silver and Black soon.
Despite having some established names in the running back room, this is a position group that should be watched closely during training camp as there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.