Running Back Jalen Richard
Jalen Richard doesn't want to be a fad.
He doesn't want to be another here today, gone tomorrow running back who ends up being nothing more than a blip on the NFL radar.
To put it in musical terms, he doesn't want to be A-ha, he wants to be the Rolling Stones.
"I want to be consistent, I don't want there to be a sophomore slump, or [to be] a one-hit wonder," said Richard. "I want to prove that I'm here to stay, and that I can do this on daily basis, and be impactful."
The undrafted running back enjoyed a strong start to his NFL career last season, finishing second on the team in rushing, as well as handling a majority of the return work for the Silver and Black, but as solid as he was, the memory of going undrafted, then receiving just *one *tryout offer is never far from his mind.
2016 was no doubt a fairytale year for the former Southern Miss Golden Eagle, from making the Raiders final roster, to taking his first career handoff 75 yards to the house in a stadium he grew up playing high school football in; it was an unforgettable 12 months for Richard. After such an emotional stretch, it's easy to see how complacency could set in, and for Richard to think that he finally "arrived," but instead, the Louisiana-native channeled that energy into something far more productive.
"The way to beat complacency, was I needed to really attack the offseason, and that's what I did, Richard explained. "I worked really, really hard in the offseason. I feel like harder than I did last year before making the team, and that was my way of beating that, and that the way to keep my edge on coming on. Hey, I've put in the work in the offseason, again like did last year, now I just have to focus on putting in the work while I'm here, bettering myself every day, and again proving myself that I'm worthy to be on this team, because that's the mentality that I have to keep, is I have to make the team every year. I have to make the team every year."
One key difference from Richard's first year to his second is the addition of Marshawn Lynch in the running backs room, and as much as No. 24 means to the community off the field, he's been a huge help for Richard on it.
So what exactly has Lynch imparted onto Richard in their few months together so far?
"I've learned to trust my gut more, as far as runs," Richard said. "Sometimes I question myself coming back after a play a lot, because I like to be perfect. I'm very high on being perfect, and making sure that if it was a three-yard run, I have to get that three, but then maybe get extra. Sometimes it doesn't always go that way, so I've been able to, with him, trust my gut more, and just let go, not even worry about that.
Richard went on, "He's taught me how to be patient. He's taught me some other tricks that I haven't been able to use yet because we haven't been that live, but different things that I'll do when I feel contact, and those things, so I look forward to putting those to the test."
With Lynch, Richard, DeAndré Washington, and fullback Jamize Olawale, the Raiders likely have one of, if not *the, *most complete group of running backs in the NFL, and as many dynamic receiving options as quarterback Derek Carr has at his disposal, Richard wants to make sure you don't forget about Bernie Parmalee's group.
"There's going to be a lot expected of us, and we understand that, from a protection standpoint, from a running the ball standpoint, and from being leaders," Richard said. "We look in the room, and it's crazy all the talent that we have, and we really can't wait to get out there.
-Still no sighting of rookie cornerback Gareon Conley on the practice field Saturday afternoon.
-The stands at the team's Napa Valley Training Complex were once again packed, and in addition to all the fans in attendance, Delisa "Momma" Lynch was in the house, rocking her custom No. 24 jersey.
-Cornerback Dexter McDonald has put together a pretty solid Training Camp 2017, and he continued that positive momentum Saturday, securing a nice pass breakup during one of the day's seven-on-seven sessions.
-In his first season as a Raider, wide receiver Johnny Holton was more of a factor on special teams than he was in the vertical game, but Saturday he showed that he does indeed have a good pair of hands, hauling in back-to-back passes while the team was going 11-on-11.
-Yes, Marshawn Lynch is looked at as a prototypical "power back" but we saw firsthand on Saturday that he's a lot more than just that. During a team period, quarterback Derek Carr dumped off the ball to Lynch, who after hauling in the pass, proceeded to rumble down the field, seemingly finding a second gear in the process. Yes, No. 24 will be asked to be a monster on the ground, but don't sleep on his receiving ability either.
-The play of the day belonged to wide receiver K.J. Brent, who hauled in a beautifully-thrown ball from Carr, getting behind the cornerback, and taking the pass to the house. The second-year wide receiver has really come on strong the past several days, and I'm excited to see how he performs Friday night in the preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
-Rookie safety Shalom Luani secured an opportunistic interception Saturday, diving to catch a ball tipped by cornerback Antonio Hamilton. Since being drafted by the Silver and Black, Luani has been heralded as a big hitter, so it was nice to see him show off his ball skills as well.
Song Of The Day:
"Bounce Back" – Big Sean
Big Sean raps that he woke up in Beast Mode; that's every day for Marshawn Lynch.
"You have to keep yourself stretching. You get stiffer as you get older as I well know. You have to stretch more. I think he's done a nice job of maintaining his weight. He's a heavy lifter, so he's always keeping himself strong. Every year I think he realizes more and more how important those aspects of his game are. He has really worked hard at the physical part."
-Special Teams Coordinator Brad Seely talks about how kicker Sebastian Janikowski has maintained his level of performance in the latter stages of his career.
Tweet Of The Day: