Although the Oakland Raiders have made some changes to their offense, head coach Jon Gruden has high hopes for the backfield in the 2019 NFL season.
The Raiders parted ways with Marshawn Lynch following expected his retirement this offseason and subsequently signed Isaiah Crowell to a one-year deal. They then picked up Alabama product Josh Jacobs in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately, Crowell’s 2019 NFL season has already been declared over after suffering a torn Achilles during a team workout. As a result, Oakland re-signed Doug Martin to help split the workload with Jacobs and Jalen Richard in the backfield.
According to Eddie Paskal of the team’s official website, Gruden is confident they will be able to get the job done in Crowell’s absence:
“Well, Isaiah came in here on a one-year contract and I was hoping this would be a launching pad for him to really showcase what he can do,” Gruden said. “It’s very unfortunate and we wish him the best. The way he got hurt was amazing, I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. It was a freak injury and fortunately Doug Martin has been very interested in coming back. He led our team in rushing and Doug will be able to, I think, be a great mentor to [Josh] Jacobs. He knows the system, he produced in the system and Doug has had some real highs and some real lows in this league, and he’ll be a great resource to our young back. He also can still play, so we are happy to have Doug back and obviously disappointed for Isaiah.”
Crowell’s injury undoubtedly dealt a crushing blow to Oakland’s backfield and essentially forced them to re-sign Martin. Regardless, There is good reason for them to be optimistic moving forward.
Although Martin started the year as a complementary option, Lynch’s season-ending injury forced him to take on a workhorse role in the offense. As a result, he finished the 2018 campaign with 723 yards and four touchdowns on 172 carries.
Martin’s veteran status should help provide the Raiders with some stability in the backfield moving forward. Regardless, it is safe to say that Jacobs will have every opportunity to etch out a central role this offseason after being taken in the first round.