Oakland Raiders Offense Limited by Lack of Running Back Depth

Who knew the absence of a solid No. 2 running back would drop the Oakland Raiders offense from great to good?

The Raiders’ inability to supplement the passing attack with a pair of running backs hurts their chances at challenging top-notch defenses consistently. 

Detractors of this theory will bring up the New York Jets as an outlier, but Latavius Murray rushed for 113 yards on 20 carries, and Taiwan Jones took a reception 59 yards downfield for a score. 

Can you depend on Murray accumulating 100-plus yards on 20 carries week-to-week? How about Jones juking four defenders for a long touchdown every Sunday? Murray has eclipsed 100 rushing yards twice this season. He’s a solid featured back, but he’s not a 20-plus carries workhorse back. 

In some shape or form, the Raiders need a second running back to keep their offense balanced. Midway through the season, Oakland’s coaching staff hasn’t committed to any of its backup candidates.

Murray ranks fifth in rushing yards, but the team sits 20th in total rushing yards as a mediocre rushing offense. That observation indicates the paradigm shift in a typical NFL backfield. Now, two solid talents combine for a stronger ground attack as opposed to one starting back taking 25-plus carries in years past.

Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson, stands as the only player averaging 20 or more rushing attempts per game. He’s a generational talent who performs well above the top rushers in the game. Without an exceptional talent, an offense needs a complementary pair in the backfield.

On Sunday, the Vikings challenged the Raiders with zone defense. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave didn’t have a solution to exploit pockets within the defensive scheme.

Inexplicably, running back Roy Helu Jr. remained a healthy inactive. Marcel Reece recorded one catch for z...

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