The Oakland Raiders have found a new identity over recent weeks, as after being known as a pass heavy offense the first half of the season, they have transitioned a bit and ran the football more the second half.
Running back Latavius Murray failed to log more than 18 carries in each of his first six games of the season, but in his last five games he has had 19 or more in four of them, rushing for over 100 yards twice.
One of those games was last Thursday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite a loss, Murray had 22 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown.
With quarterback Derek Carr struggling in the freezing temperatures and dealing with a finger injury, perhaps 22 carries was not enough for Murray as he was the Raiders only offense on the night.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio agreed that Murray should have gotten the ball more, saying that in a game like that the Raiders should play more big boy ball, via Scott Bair of CSN Bay Area:
“I felt like I would have like to see us play a little more big boy ball in that game with the weather, the fact that he was having an off night,” Del Rio said. “We have that big (offensive) line, I would have liked to see us hand that ball off a few more times behind that line.”
On a couple different instances in the game, the Raiders had a third or fourth and less than a yard to get, but they didn’t give the ball to Murray, instead throwing it for incompletions. Murray said that he is on board with Del Rio’s ‘big boy ball’ mentality, as he wants the ball in his hands as much as possible:
“I want the ball in my hands as much as I can, whether that’s carrying the ball or catching it,” Murray said. “Any way I can be a threat or get the ball in my hands, I want it. I want to be a part of this great offense we have going right now.”
This weekend the Raiders face another division rival, the San Diego Chargers. The 5-8 Chargers rank seventh against the run and 25th against the pass, so to beat them the Raiders may have to find some success through the air.