Scott Bair

Lynch won't go alone: Richard, Washington vital to Raiders offense


Lynch won't go alone: Richard, Washington vital to Raiders offense

ALAMEDA – The Raiders announced offensive starters before Sunday’s home opener against the New York Jets.

Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington aren’t in that class. The second-year rushers were headed out to the field with everyone else when Marshawn Lynch halted the advance.

“We were getting ready to go out and he was like ‘hey, I want you all to come out with me’. I was like, ‘they cool with this?’” Richard said. “He said ‘It doesn’t matter what they say. You boys are coming out with me.’”

It seemed off. This was, after all, Marshawn’s homecoming. A sellout Oakland crowd was waiting to cheer their favorite native son.

Marshawn didn’t care. He wanted the running backs to go out as a unit.

“They’re my (boys),” Lynch said.

Marshawn jogged through a deafening roar, flanking by his protégées.

“That just got me pumped from the get-go,” Richard said. “That just lets you know how much he believes in us, the confidence in us. It makes us play harder.”

The kids have played hard, and listened to Lynch’s sage advice. That’s a requirement in this offense, because Lynch can’t do it alone. Not anymore. Not at age 31.

The Raiders plan to use all three backs in rotation, with Lynch as its lead dog. He carried 18 times in a season opening win at Tennessee. He had 12 in a 45-20 victory over the Jets.

Thus far Lynch has started most games and can close games where the Raiders hold a late lead.

Washington and Richard will have moments in the sun. They generally split remaining touches – unless, like Sunday, Cordarrelle Patterson gets in on the action – to bring a change of pace.

They might also pull a star turn.

Richard did so the Jets, even on Marshawn's big day. Richard 109 yards of offense and a touchdown on just eight touches. That included a 52-yard run blocked expertly by tackles Marshall Newhouse and Donald Penn, with Seth Roberts doing dirty work downfield.

“I caught the ball and felt somebody rush up the field,” Richard said. “It made me come inside. The whole week they were telling me to wait rather than get out, so I waited and the Jets overflowed. I put my foot in the ground and creased it. The safety couldn’t see me because I had a blocker, he went this way and I dipped right and then I outran everybody to the end zone and scored. IT was a great blocking play, great game plan play. It was cool.”

Richard also had a 39-yard reception where he took advantage of open space, proving adept finding the right time to turn on the afterburners.

Washington will have his turn making big plays in the backfield, with an efficient track record as a rookie. Lynch has a certain set of skills, able to get tough yards by brute force. The younger guys are game breakers in their own right – Richard proved that Sunday – and will be counted on at times to make the offense go.

“Jalen and DeAndré, they’re both explosive,” quarterback Derek Carr said last week. “We all know that. Really good hands, good route runners, they’re really good in pass protection… I think that with both of those guys in the game, they do similar things, but they give us two options. They give us two fresh bodies so to speak.”

Notes: Numbers suggest newcomer Marshall Newhouse fitting right in with Raiders


Notes: Numbers suggest newcomer Marshall Newhouse fitting right in with Raiders

ALAMEDA – The Raiders like quality and continuity along the offensive line. Big contracts secured four top talents, locking Donald Penn, Kelechi Osemele, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson up until at least 2019 .

Those four horsemen ride from left to right, with one new guy joining the group. Veteran Marshall Newhouse signed a two-year contract this offseason to play right tackle.

The 28-year old has played everywhere but center. He has started at left tackle and on the right. He has played both guard spots, as a starter and reserve.

He was brought in to focus on one spot, but Donald Penn’s contract holdout spoiled that plan. Newhouse spent training camp in Penn’s stead, before switching sides.

A prolonged camp battle with Vadal Alexander was compressed into a few practices and the regular season opener, but the frontrunner Newhouse emerged victorious.

It wasn’t a hard decision. He has been excellent thus far, recently in a 45-20 victory over the New York Jets. Over the course of two games and 62 pass blocking snaps, Newhouse hasn’t allowed a single quarterback pressure this season, per analystic site Pro Football Focus.

The Raiders haven’t run his way much, mostly going away from gaps he can control, but he has been solid when given the chance.

“I think he’s done a solid job with that,” head coach Jack Del Rio said in his Monday press conference. “Little bit unusual that he’s a swing guy, was signed to come in and compete at the right tackle position and then with the holdout, he played left tackle most of the offseason. The way it worked, he and Vadal [Alexander] competed for the right tackle spot last week and we ended up going with Marshall and he’s been very solid. Both of those guys are prepared to help us. Marshall solidified that job, played well yesterday. Glad to see it.”


NOT SWEATING SETBACKS: The Raiders were penalized nine penalized times for 79 yards on Sunday, mostly on 15-yard infractions in the first half. Del Rio didn’t have a need to correct those mistakes. Most of them he either disagreed with or said they came down to judgment calls. The Raiders haven’t had many clear-cut, procedural violations.

“The judgment calls, you’re going to have to leave it at that. When you see something that’s clearly an infraction, we can coach it, teach it and it gets better. The other things like that, you just have to live with them and move on.”

SMITH MIGHT BE BACK: Veteran cornerback Sean Smith missed Sunday’s game with a neck injury, but Del Rio didn’t anticipate it being a long-term injury. He is also hopeful Jamize Olawale and Keith McGill will make season debuts in Week 3 against Washington.

Raiders snap count: Conley wasn't picked on much in debut


Raiders snap count: Conley wasn't picked on much in debut

OAKLAND – Raiders edge rusher Khalil Mack walked through the hallways on Saturday, past a meeting room dedicated to film study. Game tape was on in this one, with a solitary figure staring at the screen.

Mack identified the teammate as first-round cornerback Gareon Conley, conducting a study session before his NFL debut. Mack most certainly smiled to himself, with additional confidence in this young buck.

“That’s when I knew he was going to come out and do what he does best in coverage,” Mack said.

Conley was pretty good in his first professional game, a milestone delayed by a shin injury. It stole an entire preseason, leaving the Ohio State product little time to prep for the regular season.

That was evident over 46 defensive snaps in Sunday’s 45-20 victory over the New Yourk Jets as the Raiders’ No. 3 cornerback. He played outside in the nickel package, with starter TJ Carrie moving into the slot.

Conley was excited heading into this game, not anxious, and confident in his preparation.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Conley said. “Practice prepared me well. The communication with (free safety Reggie Nelson) and all the DBs was good. Reggie really helped me get comfortable playing this week.”

Conley was ready to get picked on. That’s what happens to rookies at this level, even highly touted first-round picks.

“That was my mindset coming in,” Conley said. “I thought they were going to come at me. You have to stay true on every play. You never know which play is a big play. I always think the ball is coming at me.”

Few actually arrived. Conley was targeted just twice in 29 coverage snaps, according to analytics site Pro Football Focus, and allowed one catch for eight yards.

He also had a pass defensed, and it was a beauty.

Conley locked horns with Jermaine Kearse deep downfield when tested for the first time. He smothered the route, timed his jump well and batted the ball. It floated up, so he smacked it again. It floated right for Nelson, who almost made the pick.

It wasn’t intentional.

“I was making sure to hit it down,” Conley said. “I didn’t know where the receiver was. I was making sure he wasn’t going to get it.

“...I should’ve picked it (myself).”

Conley wasn’t the only rookie with an increased Week 2 role. Undrafted linebacker Nicholas Morrow played 25 defensive snaps – he played two last week – primarily in sub packages. He was solid in coverage, per PFF, allowing one catch for minus-3 yards on two targets. He finished with three tackles, including one for a loss, and a pass defensed.

Quarterback – Derek Carr 57
Running back – Marshawn Lynch 23, DeAndre Washington 17, Jalen Richard 13
Wide receiver – Amari Cooper 48, Michael Crabtree 35, Seth Roberts 34, Cordarelle Patterson 27, Johnny Holton 4
Tight end – Jared Cook 44, Lee Smith 26, Clive Walford 12
Offensive line – Gabe Jackson 57, Kelechi Osemele 57, Rodney Hudson 57, Donald Penn 57, Marshall Newhouse 57, Jon Feliciano 1

Defensive line – Khalil Mack 44, Eddie Vanderdoes 31, Denico Autry 26, Mario Edwards 24, Jihad Ward 24, James Cowser 18, Justin Ellis 15, Treyvon Hester 14
Linebacker – Cory James 56, Bruce Irvin 38, Nicholas . 25, Tyrell Adams 21, Marquel Lee 10
Cornerback –David Amerson 56, TJ Carrie 56, Gareon Conley 46
Safety – Karl Jospeh 56, Reggie Nelson 56

Erik Harris 23, Shalom Luani 23, James Cowser 18, Giorgio Tavecchio 15, Antonio Hamilton 15, Xavier Woodson-Luster 14, Johnny Holton 13, Tyrell Adams 13, Lee Smith 12, Jon Feliciano 11, DeAndre Washington 11, Marquette King 10, Jon Condo 10, Clive Walford 9, Marquel Lee 9, Dexter McDonald 8, Karl Joseph 8, Cordarrelle Patterson, Vadal Alexander 7, Marshall Newhouse 7, Kelechi Osemele 7, Gabe Jackson 7, Justin Ellis 7, Denico Autry 6, Jalen Richard 6, TJ Carrie 5, Khalil Mack 5, Bruce Irvin 5, Eddie Vanderdoes 5, Treyvon Hester 5, Gareon Conley 2, Amari Cooper 1, Jared Cook 1, Cory James 1


QB EJ Manuel

Connor Cook, , Keith McGill, Jamize Olawale, Jylan Ware, David Sharpe, Darius Latham, Sean Smith