Why Jalen Richard has emerged as key player in Raiders’ offense


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ALAMEDA — Jalen Richard is enjoying life as a satellite, although the third-year running back laments the one that got away.

Richard caught a career high nine passes for 55 yards for the Raiders in the Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, although it’s likely the play that gives the Denver Broncos the most concern fell incomplete.

It happened in the third quarter, with the score tied 13-13. Richard’s vision was obscured by Ndamukong Suh, broke too quickly over the middle and Derek Carr’s pass fell incomplete on third-and-10.

“I raked the dude on the route, I saw the ball late,” Richard said Friday. “With my speed, it could have gone the distance.”

Gone are the days of worrying only about swing passes and option routes, serving as a pressure-release for Carr when he’s in trouble.

Richard has to know the various responsibilities of the receivers as if he were Amari Cooper or Jordy Nelson and also be in concert with Carr.

“I’ve got to think like D.C. I have to read coverages like he would read them,” Richard said. “When D.C. drops back, where does he want me? I don’t always have a specific area where I’m supposed to be. There are sit-down areas based on where he is and I need to know what he’s thinking.”

Gruden calls it a “satellite,” a running back who in addition to carrying the ball, has even more of a responsibility in the passing game. In part because of game circumstance, with the Raiders trailing in the second half, Richard wound up playing more than any other back with 37 snaps, followed by 27 for Marshawn Lynch and 10 for Doug Martin.

“A satellite is where they put me everywhere,” Richard said. “I want to be explosive and do everything, whether it’s catching, pass blocking, everybody knows I can run the ball too. Just showcase my abilities. I think I’ve got a good opportunity with Gruden. He sees it, and I’m excited.”

Expect Gruden and Carr to look for opportunities to isolate Richard against Denver linebackers.

“If you want to attack certain coverages, sometimes the best matchup you can find is a back against a linebacker,” Gruden said. “I’ve seen the Patriots do quite well with their backs. He’s emerging in that role, and I think he can be great in that role.”

Jalen Richard has increased responsibilities as a runner/receiver. Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

The key, Gruden said, is to have Richard thinking and reacting as a receiver and not as a running back simply floating into an open space and waiting for a pass if the quarterback is in trouble.

Gruden also referenced the one that got away.

“You have to study it, you have to do it in a game,” Gruden said. “It’s not a finished product, yet, but he sure shows glimpses of being great at that. He had one route where he broke inside. It was incomplete. It might have been a 60-yard gain. He’s really …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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