Notebook: Bill Musgrave Talks About Stable Of Running Backs

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Running back DeAndré Washington

The Oakland Raiders offense started the season in grand fashion last Sunday at the Superdome, putting up 35 points and 486 total yards – the most the team has tallied since November 3, 2013.

For a majority of the game, quarterback Derek Carr and Co. moved the ball at will, particularly in the fourth quarter, when the team needed to put up points the most.

"Well, Derek has done a super job," said offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. "We think back to the Pittsburgh game throwing that ball to 'Crab' [Michael Crabtree], the Baltimore game, finished strong there in Chicago, taking them down the field after 'Crab' was injured, so he's having a terrific start to his career these first three years. Keep building on it."

As the architect of the Raiders offense, Musgrave deserves a ton of credit for keeping the Saints off balance all afternoon, and Head Coach Jack Del Rio certainly made sure to praise the Raiders play-caller, saying that Sunday's win over the Saints was "the best game [he's] called," but with Week 1 now in the rearview mirror, Musgrave and the rest of staff are fully locked in on their upcoming bout with the Atlanta Falcons.

"It's very difficult," said Musgrave. "They have a veteran coaching staff. They're based a little bit in the Seattle tree of defense, but they're very fast, physical. They play downhill. It's going to be tough this week."

One of the big reasons the Raiders were so successful last week was the potency of the run game. In total, the group of backs racked up 167 yards, and rushed for three touchdowns – the first time the Raiders found the end zone three times on the ground in one game since 2013.

Latavius Murray came out of the gate strong, and then both Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington acted as impressive change-of-pace backs, with fullback Jamize Olawale providing a valuable asset in the red zone.

"Well, I think everyone realizes that there's only one football, but we do have good balance and diversity back there where we have some size, we have some quickness, we have some brute strength in the form of Jamize [Olawale]," Musgrave explained. "It's great to devise different concepts that fit their respective traits."

The Raiders stable of running backs will get its next chance to hit the field in a meaningful game Sunday afternoon in the team's home opener against the Atlanta Falcons at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Kickoff is scheduled for 1:25 p.m.

Injury Report:

T – Austin Howard – Ankle – Full

C – Rodney Hudson – Knee – Limited  

G – Gabe Jackson – Knee – Limited

RB – Taiwan Jones – Concussion – Limited

T—Matt McCants – Knee – Did not participate

T – Menelik Watson – Groin – Did not participate

Notable:

-The good news? Both center Rodney Hudson and guard Gabe Jackson returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's session. However, both Menelik Watson and Matt McCants were unable to go, keeping the situation at right tackle murky leading into Sunday's game.

-In addition to Hudson and Jackson returning, running back Tawain Jones was back on the field in a limited capacity Thursday after missing Wednesday's session with a concussion.

-Linebacker Bruce Irvin has repeatedly credited defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. for being a positive influence on his life, both on and off the field, and during the stretching portion of Thursday's practice, he and Norton spent a few minutes chatting and laughing together.

-The Raiders weren't able to intercept Drew Brees last week, but will look to secure an interception of Matt Ryan Sunday. Thursday, the group got a little extra work in, going through the tip drill during one of the positional portions of practice.

Quotable:

Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. discusses squaring off with his former colleague Dan Quinn:

"Exciting. Dan and I spent a lot of late nights drawing up defenses and learning defenses and learning the scheme together. It'll be a good challenge to go against him."

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