Derek Carr excited the entire Oakland Raiders fan base when he played against the Seattle Seahawks in the last preseason game of 2014. People were already excited about the rookie quarterback before he was able to see extended time, and then he led the Raiders to a 28-7 lead over the defending Super Bowl champions, throwing three touchdown passes while completing 11 of 13 passes for 143 yards.
With a performance like that, it is no wonder that no one has been talking about Latavius Murray, but a large part of why Carr was able to find the success that he did was because Murray was pounding the rock and having an impressive game of his own. On eight touches, Murray picked up 41 yards and a touchdown while averaging over 5 yards per carry. On top of that he also showed his skills as a returner, breaking tackles on his way to an impressive 38 yard return early in the game.
While the Raiders have two good backs in Maurice Jones Drew and Darren McFadden, neither is the long term answer for the Raiders. Both look like they are ready to defy expectations and perform better than the washed up talents many believed they were hearing into this season, they simply do not have a lot of time left in the NFL. The Raiders need to consider who their back of the future is and after his performances all preseason and especially his performance against the Seahawks, Murray looks to be that guy.
He has the size to run up the gut and the speed to break a run outside for a big time gain while still being able to run over guys in the secondary. In fact, Murray looked so good in the preseason, there is legitimate reason to believe that he could very well climb the depth charts in season. He will undoubtedly start the year as the third stringer but he will be a very unique third stringer. Unlike most third string running backs in the league, Murray will see his fair share of touches. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if observers will not be able to tell who is the true second stringer without checking the official depth chart.
If Murray continues to take advantage of the touches he gets during the regular season, do not be surprised if Murray finds himself getting the lion’s share of touches by the end of the 2014 season before entering the 2015 season as the unquestioned starter.