Running Back DeAndré Washington
The Raiders trio of running backs might be just a duo Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
After missing Wednesday's practice with a toe injury, Latavius Murray was once again held out during Thursday's session, making his status for Sunday's game against the Chargers uncertain.
"We'll hope that 'Tay' [Latavius Murray] can get back by Sunday," said offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave Thursday. "I know he's working extremely hard at it. They're working with his shoes and things like that to help him in that regard. We'll just have to wait and see."
The Chargers defense is allowing just a stingy 82.0 yards per game on the ground, and if Murray is indeed forced to sit against the Bolts, the Raiders would look to a pair of rookies to handle the burden of the ground attack. Although Murray's absence would almost certainly mean more touches for he and fellow rookie Jalen Richard, DeAndré Washington is approaching the week of work just like business as usual.
"Just have to approach the game the same way, because you never know what can happen," said Washington. "So just be ready when your number gets called."
Through the first quarter of the regular season, Murray leads the Raiders with 40 carries for 172 carries and three touchdowns, and while there is no doubt the Pro Bowl running back's production will be missed, the tandem of Washington and Richard have 39 carries for 291 yards between them, not to mention that fullback Jamize Olawale has proven to be an effective ball carrier as well.
"Believe me, we're looking at it with a very fine eye each and every day they're in the film room because we want to do things that are right and stick with their strengths," Musgrave said. "I don't think we're setting any limitations or putting them in any corner or any box right now. We're enjoying them being as productive as they are."
As much of an asset as Murray is carrying the ball, Musgrave also applauded the physical back for his work in pass protection, and that's another area where Washington and Richard will be asked to step in and fill the void if need be against the Chargers.
"We have to step up," Washington said. "Plain and simple, we have to step up. We pride ourselves on keeping DC upright, this season I think we've been doing a pretty good job, whether he's able to go or not, we still want to keep him upright, keep him healthy."
Washington described both he and Richard as "playmakers," and much will be expected from the young running backs if Murray is indeed ruled out of the clash against Philip Rivers and Co.
"We both do good things, and have good strengths, so it's fun to watch him [Richard] do his thing, and [it's] kind of just like a tag team deal," Washington said. "I get in, and I do my thing, it's just, be ready when your number gets called. You never know, whether it be special teams last week, like it was for Jalen, or on offense, just be ready."
S – Nate Allen – Quad – Did not participate
T – Austin Howard – Ankle – Limited
RB – Taiwan Jones – Knee – Limited
T – Matt McCants – Knee – Limited
RB – Latavius Murray – Toe – Did not participate
LB – Malcolm Smith – Quad – Did not participate
TE – Clive Walford – Knee – Limited
T – Menelik Watson – Calf – Did not participate
-After missing Wednesday's practice with a knee injury, tight end Clive Walford was back to work in a limited capacity Thursday, allaying any concerns that he would be sidelined for long.
-While Walford was able to return to the practice field Thursday, none of the other players who missed Wednesday's practice (Allen, Murray, and M.Smith) were able to take the field.
-It's Fleet Week in San Francisco, and during Thursday's practice, four Blue Angels took off from the nearby Oakland International Airport, flying in formation over the Raiders practice field while the team was stretching.
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. discusses why the team has been so successful on the road:
"The team is flying away, they're alone. The team understands that there's nobody else, just the team and they come closer together. Everything is much more structured. The guys are walking around going to dinner and things together, so there's a lot of different things that are combined. But, so far it's worked for us this year."
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