Notebook: Rookie Running Backs Prepare For Increased Workload Against Kansas City Chiefs

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Running Back DeAndré Washington

It became official following Friday's practice; running back Latavius Murray would once again be unavailable when the Oakland Raiders play host to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

For the past two weeks, the Pro Bowl running back has been battling a toe injury, and after missing all three practices this week, Murray was officially ruled out of the Week 6 clash against the Chiefs.

In his absence, the Raiders offense will once again rely on the rookie tandem of Jalen Richard and DeAndré Washington, combined with fullback Jamize Olawale as well.

Sunday's game will be the second game in which the pair has been tasked with handling a bulk of the rushing duties in 2016, and last week's effort against the Chargers provided a good warmup for Richard and Washington.

"I think, honestly, last week was a good test," said Washington. "We kind of got our feet wet. We had a good week of preparation this week, so we're looking forward to the challenge."

While Murray's availability for Sunday's game wasn't made official until Friday, Washington said that his preparation remained the same throughout the week, even when he wasn't sure how many snaps he would be playing.

"It's a new opponent, so you kind of base your preparation based off the opponent," Washington explained. "As far as for me personally, no, everything's the same. I'm preparing as if I'm going to play 90 snaps or however many snaps I'm going to play, so I'm preparing to play the whole game."

Not only will Richard and Washington be filling in for Murray once again against the Chiefs, they'll likely be doing so in inclement weather. Sunday's forecast calls for rain, but for the former Texas Tech Red Raider, the key to performing well in less-than-ideal conditions is simple; it all comes down to the details.

"I think most importantly the details, the little things," Washington said. "When there's rain, more so than anything, you have to focus on looking at the ball, protecting it, make sure you have it a little bit tighter, just the details, when it's a situation like that."

Wide receiver Andre Holmes agreed with the rookie running back, matter-of-factly stating the need for an increased concentration as far as ball security is concerned.

"The ball is more slick," Holmes said. "The field is going to be more slick, so you have to have more concentration, more attention to detail and looking the ball in, and making sure your footing is under you."

If the weather report does indeed hold true, and Sunday's game turns into a rainy affair, Washington won't be disappointed; in fact, he'll feel quite the opposite.

"As an RB, you're kind of licking your chops, knowing that you're possibly going to be getting a lot of the workload, especially if the conditions are like that," Washington said with a smile. "We definitely have to be on point, and be ready to go."

Injury Report:

G/T – Vadal Alexander – Ankle – Did not participate – Out

S – Nate Allen – Quad – Limited – Questionable

G/C – Jon Feliciano – Calf – Limited – Questionable

RB – Taiwan Jones – Knee – Limited – Questionable

T – Matt McCants – Knee – Limited – Questionable

RB – Latavius Murray – Toe – Did not participate – Out

LB – Malcolm Smith – Quad – Limited – Questionable

TE – Clive Walford – Knee – Limited – Questionable

T – Menelik Watson – Calf – Did not participate – Out

Notable:

-The Fast Friday session was a rainy one; but the weather did provide some good work for the team heading into Sunday's game.

"Great work for us in the weather," Head Coach Del Rio said. "You can get weather from time to time, so it's great to get a little exposure in it. We took full advantage of it and had a real good practice. We're excited about our opportunity Sunday."

-As we mentioned, following Friday's practice, Latavius Murray was ruled "out" of Sunday's game, along with offensive lineman Vadal Alexander and tackle Menelik Watson.

-While Alexander won't be suiting up Sunday, Head Coach Del Rio would not disclose who would be starting at right tackle in his stead.

Quotable:

Holmes talks about whether playing in the rain benefits the offense or defense:

"You could make a Venn diagram, of the pros and cons, and all that kind of stuff, but really, it's everyone playing in the conditions, and you just have to prevail through it, basically."

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