It seems like the Oakland Raiders are on a mission to try out every single free agent running back in the NFL. They tried out the like of LeGarrette Blount, C.J. Anderson and many more. To this point, they haven’t made any signings at the position since the start of the season, but they’ve added a couple of other names to the list of running backs who have tried out, according to Howard Blazer.
Rod Smith is the most notable name that they worked out. He spent four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and fits the mold of the running backs the Raiders have been trying out. He’s a big, power back and stands at 6’3. He’s never put up big numbers before and would most likely be used sparingly. He has 364 careers rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Smith has been on four different rosters, most recently with the Tennessee Titans.
Mark Thompson was a running back for the Detroit Lions but has never played in a regular-season game. Similar to Smith, he is also a big running back at 6’1.
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Raiders Seem Fine at Running Back
It seems strange the Raiders keep working out running backs as they have one of the best running offenses in the NFL. They are averaging the ninth-most rushing yards per game in the NFL. The only thing that would make sense is that the team has three running backs with similar skill sets. The players Oakland has been trying out are very different than what they currently have.
The Raiders don’t have a bruiser who can get short yardage on a consistent basis. Fullback Alec Ingold has filled in that role a few times, but it’s clear that Jon Gruden would like an additional piece. As the weather starts to get colder, it’s important to have grinders on the field. Also, Josh Jacobs has been getting banged up this year and he’s the only player the Raiders really run the ball with. Jalen Richard is almost strictly a receiver out of the backfield and DeAndre Washington is very similar to Jacobs. It could be wise to add a big back for the late-season grind.
Josh Jacobs on His Way 1,000 Yards
Josh Jacobs put up his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season, which is a Raiders rookie record. It’s also looking very feasible that he sets another milestone this Sunday versus the New York Jets. He could be the first Raiders rookie to break 1,000 rushing yards in a season. He just needs 77 rushing yards.
However, it won’t be easy for Jacobs as the Jets boast the best rushing defense in the entire NFL. They only allow 79.1 yards per game. That doesn’t necessarily mean Jacobs can’t get to the milestone as he put up big numbers against a stout Chicago Bears defense, it just means that it’s a lot less likely he gets there this week. New York’s pass defense isn’t great, so don’t be surprised if the Raiders go into the game with a pass-heavy gameplan. The Jets may be 3-7, but they aren’t as bad as their record. Oakland should expect a fight in this game.