Running Back Jalen Richard
As the Oakland Raiders prepared to take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6 action, we highlighted five questions that we were hoping to have answered Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
The Silver and Black fell to the Chiefs 26-10, so let's take a look back at the five questions we posed, and see if we got any answers.
1. Can the Raiders make Marcus Peters a nonfactor?
For the second time in as many visits back to the Bay Area, the Oakland-native enjoyed a happy homecoming at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Not only did the Kansas City Chiefs fly home with a win in tow, but Peters inserted himself into the action as well, tallying his league-leading fifth interception, along with two tackles, and one pass defensed.
Heading into Sunday's game, the Raiders offense was well aware of the playmaking ability of Peters, but the dynamic cornerback found a way to change the course of the game anyway.
The Chiefs offense was able to take advantage of Peters' first quarter interception, as they turned the takeaway into seven points following a two-yard run by Spencer Ware.
Peters is a top-tier cornerback in the NFL, and Sunday afternoon he showed why.
2. How does the offensive line respond?
After Vadal Alexander was ruled out of Sunday's matchup with an ankle injury, conventional wisdom suggested that Austin Howard would step in and fill the void, and that's precisely what happened, as the veteran lineman earned the start at right tackle.
Howard played all 55 offensive snaps against the Chiefs, and just like the rest of the team, the offensive line struggled to find its way Sunday afternoon. The Silver and Black tallied just 65 yards on the ground, and Carr was sacked twice throughout the game.
It's unfair to pin the offensive shortcomings just on the play of the line, but the group did indeed struggle, which seemed to be the theme of the day for the Silver and Black from top to bottom.
3. Will the rookie tandem of running backs be called on once again?
Starting running back Latavius Murray was once again on the shelf for Sunday's game with the Chiefs, so the rookie tandem of Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington was once again called upon to handle the brunt of the rushing duties.
While the wet, rainy conditions most likely had something to do with the team's struggles running the football, the fact remains that the Silver and Black tallied just 65 yards rushing yards, and were not able to control the line of scrimmage in the Week 6 loss.
"I think they're doing a great job," Carr said of Richard and Washington. "I think they're doing a fantastic job, but it's like anybody. If you lose a starter, it's always going to be hard on you. It's going to be hard because Tay [Latavius Murray] is such a good player, Pro-Bowl running back. He's had over 1,000 yards over this last year, been in some tough games, ran the ball really hard for us. You can never just replace people and just think yes we got it. Then again, that has nothing to do with the running backs. I think they do a great job."
In the two games Murray has missed, the Raiders have not hit the century mark running the ball, so if No. 28 is indeed able to return to the field this week, I'll be interested to see if the run game takes off again.
**4. What will we see from Jamaal Charles?
As far as Charles' production, the All-Pro running back put together a performance about on par with what I was expecting coming into the game.
Charles missed the first three games of the regular season recovering from an ACL injury he suffered last season, and although he claimed to be "110 percent" heading into the Week 6 clash with the Raiders, Charles served as a complementary piece to starting running back Spencer Ware.
In total, Charles played 15 offensive snaps, carrying the ball nine times for 33 yards, and also tallied his first touchdown of the season.
Charles and Ware combined for an impressive day on the ground for the Kansas City offense, as the tandem of backs ran for 164 yards, and a pair of touchdowns, on 33 carries.
The Raiders defense prides itself on being able to stop the run, but unfortunately, Charles and Ware got the best of them Sunday afternoon.
5. How doe Sean Smith respond to facing his old team?
Although the veteran cornerback downplayed the matchup against his former team, No. 21's adrenaline must have been pumping pregame as he walked out for coin toss with the other Raiders captains.
As far as Smith's production once the game did indeed kick off, he finished the Week 6 tussle with three total tackles, in a game where the defense from top to bottom struggled to find its footing.
Alex Smith was judicious in his approach against the Silver and Black, completing 19 of 22 passes for 224 yards, en route to the 26-10 win.