Make no mistake – running back Latavius Murray knows how important this upcoming season is to his young career, and he spoke to that fact following the Oakland Raiders first full-squad practice of Training Camp 2015.
"I know how important this season is for me," said Murray. "I know the success I've had doesn't matter. What matters now is what I [do going] forward and what I do this upcoming season, this upcoming training camp. Again, do anything I can just to get better and help the team."
And Murray helped the team immensely when finally given the chance at the end of 2014, bursting onto the national scene during the team's Thursday Night Football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, and then proceeding to earn the role of primary running back for the final quarter of the season.
The Raiders retooled the backfield this offseason, cutting ties with Darren McFadden and adding veterans Roy Helu, Jr., and Trent Richardson via free agency, but heading into Training Camp 2015 Murray is expected to emerge as the starter.
The added pressure of big expectations hasn't changed the approach the third-year back has to working on his craft.
"It doesn't change much for me," Murray said. "I know I have a lot of work to do. I know I'm still getting better, but again, I just want to build off of last year and continue to get better every day I come out here [and] improve my game any way I can and just pick up where I left off."
Murray can also take solace that he's not the only player entering 2015 with lofty expectations.
Quarterback Derek Carr comes into training camp as the unquestioned starter, and entering year two under center, Murray already sees growth in the young quarterback.
"He's grown," Murray said. "He's a little bit more mature compared to last year. Him knowing that he's our quarterback, he takes that job very seriously and he's definitely leading us every day out here, and we follow."
The Oakland Raiders now have their first full-squad practice of 2015 under their belt, and while it was a good day on the field, Murray knows there is still a long ways to go.
"It was good," Murray said when asked about the first day of practice. "Obviously we have a long way ahead of us, but it felt good and I'm excited to be back out there."
Other News And Notes:
- When asked about Derek Carr comparing him to great players like Tamba Hali and Von Miller, linebacker Khalil Mack said that he's just focused on being the best Khalil Mack he can be.
"I'm trying to be the best player I can be. My name is Khalil. I want to be the best Khalil, so whatever he says about me, I appreciate it but I still have a long way to go."
- After an impressive rookie campaign, Mack is also not letting the high expectations hinder him from playing good football.
"That's what I am here to do. I am here to play football. I love this game. It's all love. I love doing the linebacker and d line drills because it helps me get better, and that's what I want to do. I want to help this team be better and win games."
- Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was asked if the Raiders offense was built for a player like him, and he responded simply.
"We throw the ball and we run the ball. If you're a football player, then it's built for you."
-Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper is also making an early impression on Crabtree.
"Amari is nice. Amari is a football player himself. The guy is out there working every day. Like I said, we're going to learn from each other."